At first glance, it may seem that a perfectionist always has everything in order, a life that runs smoothly, and is someone who knows some secret about functioning well. That could be true. They could really be quite happy and have it all together. But appearances can often be deceiving. It is human nature to look at someone’s life and think we know whether it’s good or bad, happy or sad. The person you always see arriving on time, impeccably dressed and carrying the right gift for the occasion may be impossible to live with. They may always be trying to impose their own standards on someone else. Of they may feel stressed beyond belief by always trying to keep up some standards that have been determined by others. Perhaps there is some area of their life that is so out of control, that they are controlling what they can.
Perfectionists don’t even have to have lives that appear in control. Perfectionism is an internal attitude that can effect different people in different ways. I once knew a girl whose life and house were always in disarray. After I had known her for a while, I realized she was a perfectionist. Her problem was that if she couldn’t do it perfectly, she couldn’t see the point in even trying at all.
Please remember that it is you and you alone, who decides what does, and what does not, meet standards that humans have set. You are the definer of the word ‘perfect’ down here on earth.
There is a song I play periodically when I need this kind of reminder, and some of the lyrics are these: ‘You do the best you can – you do the best you can – and the best you can is good enough’.
In reality, ‘the best you can’ – in any given circumstance – is more than enough.
I think I have some human perfectionist tendencies. I love to have a place for everything and everything in its place. I adore the serenity and peace of mind that an orderly life and orderly surroundings provide. I like days that run smoothly and easily. But I also know that absolute perfectionism is an unrealistic, unattainable and unhealthy goal as a way of life. It means constant striving for something that really doesn’t exist. Attaining your own standards of perfection might fix some problems, but could just as easily create others. It can also take away your spontaneity and the joy of discovery. This is, after all, planet Earth. It was designed to be a living library and a place for experimentation and growth. You never learn through getting everything right the first time. You learn through your mistakes. You grow by your willingness to try something new and different, if the old way didn’t work out the way you wanted it to.
One of the keys to a successful life is balance, and knowing your own comfort level. If you sit with yourself, and get really honest, you will know if you are setting yourself up with unrealistic expectations, if you are trying to appear to be something you are not, or if you are just trying to find what feels right for you. It’s not ‘right’ to make the bed everyday the minute you get up. It’s also not ‘wrong’. Does it make you happy? Then by all means do it. Do you have more important things to get to today? Then go do that.
As much as I love to have everything in its place, at the moment I am finding that impossible. We are in the middle of moving from one home to another, and nothing is in its old place, and very few things have found their new place. Sometimes I don’t know what I am doing from one moment to the next. Does that mean that my life is imperfect in some way? Of course not. It just means that I am in transition, and this is what transition looks like and feels like. I can still have ‘perfect’ moments when I stop what I am doing and look out the window and appreciate the gifts life has given me. For me those moments can feel perfect – like everything is just as it is supposed to be. Perfect moments can come to us all, if we are open to them. They have nothing to do with living a ‘perfect’ life, whatever that means anyway.
Societies, and individuals within those societies, often attempt to put human physical qualifiers on spiritual attributes. As hard as we may try, it can’t be done. The only real perfection is the Divine and what comes forth from the Divine. Then the Divine aspect that has taken on a physical body tries to re-create his or her innate essence into their physical surroundings. It will never be possible. Perfection in the physical is an unattainable goal. You can strive for excellence. That’s fine if that is what you came to experience. But again, you are the only person who can define what excellence means to you. Some souls came to see what it would feel like to behave differently and look differently than those around them, and bring that experience back to God. That’s their perfection – their excellence.
And in case you didn’t know it, in God’s eyes you are perfect. Always have been, and always will be. It has nothing to do with what you do or don’t do. You are perfect by birthright and so is everyone else.
If you are trying your best and acknowledging your blessings, then you can have many days which feel perfect – for you. You are a perfect spiritual being and you are the only one who defines what perfect means down here in this imperfect world. For me, a perfect day is one where I can love and feel loved – where I have put forth my best efforts and am pleased with the results – and where I have sent something positive out into the world. What would your perfect day look like?