We have all had those moments when we feel like our world could collapse at any given moment. We battle with certain experiences, and sometimes, our own selves and the ideals we constantly try to reach and maintain. The perfectionists among us understand this a great deal. They are the ones that suffer the most when life comes tumbling down, because, hey we did everything we could to be everything we should be. So why were our cards dealt this way?
The perfectionists among us also know that surrender is probably the most difficult of things. We need that sense of control. We need to be perfect. We wear smiles for a living, and hustle through life like it’s a game that we must ultimately win. But what happens when we lose?
A fascinating saying I came across recently goes a little something like this “I never realized perfectionism was nothing but a mere attempt to avoid all rejection, all criticism and all failure”. It described the people with a constant need to prove something to others, those who are maddened when faced even with silence, rather than approval. It described an unrealistic quest, very much like life itself, a long wait for an absolution that would never come.
Surrender, I have learnt, is the answer. Learning to let go (within certain limits) can help us truly embrace the messy and imperfect creations that we are. Accepting the truly comforting reality that we will always be “work in progress” is not only important, but absolutely fundamental. Excellence is defined as the active pursuit of “pushing ourselves to act, think, relate and create from the highest parts of ourselves”. Perfectionism on the other hand is rooted in fear, defined as “the need to control the outcome in order to receive love and acceptance”. The distinction is clear, and one clearly triumphs over the other.
Let us then, not take life or ourselves too seriously. Let us remember that the free spirited are self-content, and that Romeo died for a reason. Let us learn to forgive ourselves more, to wear our setbacks, mistakes and failures like precious garments in the making. If we wear them with pride, they can be never be used against us.