“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” Anna Quindlen
I’m a recovering perfectionist. I say, “recovering,” because I still often find myself attached to wanting a creation of mine or my own action to be perfect and have trouble deciding when it is good enough to reveal to others. Editing my own writing can become an endless task. I can always find a better way to phrase a sentence or a more expressive word to use.
The Illness of Perfection
About fifteen years ago, when I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I visited my doctor’s clinic where I interacted with a wide variety of health care professionals. I saw nothing wrong with my perfectionism until, repeatedly, the people there, one by one, told me the same thing: “Don’t be so hard on yourself.” I remember sitting in the therapist office with tears streaming down my face. They were right. I was just too exhausted to continue living this way.
What the people at this clinic gave me was permission to be imperfect, something I had been unable to do for myself. With the fatigue I suffered at that time, I began to understand that it was impossible for me to do everything I thought I needed to do if I wanted to heal. I had to learn to love myself and my imperfection. Accepting my limitations became a spiritual practice, and as a result, I began to let go of other’s expectations of me. It allowed me to become more of who I really was.
Living From the Soul Level
When we can strip away other’s expectations from our lives and clearly look at who we want to be, we begin the authentic spiritual journey. All that we discover about ourselves will show us who we truly are. By discovering at the soul level who we are, it becomes easier to identify our true calling in life, and living with that at the center of our lives, can bring us tremendous joy.
Spiritual teachings tell us that we are perfect just the way we are, but we have all come to this lifetime with certain issues to resolve. We see the repetition of particular themes and judge ourselves as failures instead of seeing how each repetition offers us the opportunity to further solve the problems those themes create. The earth is a school where we are able to grow and learn, and all these “problems” that arise are part of the curriculum. Spirit, our teacher, does not judge us, it only guides us.
Blocks to Going Deeper
Many people live in denial, blaming others for negative experiences. By being unwilling to go deeper and by choosing to feed the ego’s desire to be right, they shut themselves off from that spiritual core through which Spirit guides us. Being unwilling to examine our lives and understand our own motivations creates an extremely limited life.
These patterns are often created in childhood. Because my parents argued, I always tried to be the perfect child so I would not create more dissention. I believed that I would be loved only if I were good enough. And so these patterns continued into adulthood, stunting me in ways I was unable to see until a powerful event pushed it in my face.
Living from Our Spiritual Core
When a powerful event occurs, we face the real test. Are we willing to do the work we need to do in order to grow beyond our childhood neurosis? Only when we are willing to find that spiritual core inside that guides us to a higher path will we be able to let go of these negative patterns that made us feel secure in some way. In touch with our spiritual selves, we can find the security that will allow us to let go and move on. When we truly accept that we are spiritual beings, then we can accept that everything that comes into our lives is in Divine Order.
Accepting what is, without judgment, allows us to accept that all our imperfections are in Divine Order. In fact, the irony is—we are already perfect.
© 2012 Georganne Spruce ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5