Perfection

an image of two barbies sitting on a bench, facing one another. Two females, a black and white barbie.

Let’s talk about perfection. Try as we might, letting go of the perfect body image, hair color, skin texture and tone, age, house, children, and family sometimes feels impossible. We are bombarded with images and messaging our whole lives that teach us what to strive for, or what we should look and act like. Social media has made these messages even more pervasive and damaging. 

Perfection Seeking

“Perfection suggests a state of flawlessness, without any defects.” – Psychology Today

We can strive for perfection, but setting high goals is different from being perfect in life. 

This is SO hard for me. Coming out of quarantine has made me see it more clearly than ever before.

I love perfection. Not so much on how I look (anymore), but I love when things feel good and just fall into place. I love when everything is tidy and put together. I love when I am in a creative flow that feels fulfilling.  The harm in this has been for me, that it can get in the way of accepting what is, recognizing the value in things being done differently (balance!), that someone else’s choices are just as right as my own. 

I am continuously working to recondition myself away from this idea of perfection. I am learning to find acceptance and value in the chaos. And I can remind myself that breaking old patterns is an ongoing process, it’s not ever going to be perfect.

My favorite message about perfection, that I share with my kids, was shared with me from a dear friend, Maryann Russell;

“You don’t have to try to be something that you already are.” 

How beautiful is that?!

Luckily, we live in a time where we are openly recognizing and bringing attention to perfection and embracing differences. At least now, I personally am more aware of images that reflect the old standards of perfection and try to remind myself that this is an image, not reality.  This gives me great hope. 

This week, notice if you are comparing yourself to others. Recognize if what you strive for is a condition of comparison and wanting more/better of something, or if it is rooted in your values. 

This week’s practice: 

  1. Notice when you want something to be different (about yourself, about something you have or don’t have, about your child’s behavior, about your partner). 
  2. Check-in with yourself; is this a result of perfection-seeking, or is this based on your values.
  3. If it is motivated by perfection-seeking, try to let go of that desire and bring acceptance to what you have. 

In the classroom & at home: 

  1. Notice if your students and/or children strive for perfection. 
  2. Check-in with them when you notice; see if you can get them to look at their work or themselves in a different way. 
  3. Ask them: “what do you see in this that you absolutely love or are proud of?” 
  4. If they can’t find anything, ask their classmates/siblings, or you share with them, what you like about what they have done or who they are. 

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