PERFECTION2Happiness and perfection definitely are at a crossroads. It’s difficult, if not impossible, for the two to go together.

Most people who are seeking perfection are not happy. They may create artificial happiness by claiming that they only seek what is best for everyone (the perfect answer) but their life revolves around the quest, not the attainment.

If you repeatedly start over or change something because it’s not perfect, it can be for many reasons. If you are interested and think of yourself as a perfectionist, you might want to examine why you seek that perfection. Your superficial answer may differ greatly from the answer you’ll get if you delve deeper inside of you.

Many people use perfectionism as a form of procrastination (not intentionally of course). But if you don’t keep going or even start on something (especially because things are “not ready because they aren’t yet perfect”), then you don’t have to worry about the result because you’ll never get there. And when you don’t have to worry about the result then you don’t have to worry about the criticism or comments or reactions you’ll get when you do finish what you’re working on. It’s easier to not start or not get very far.

This might be considered the same as “distraction”. People use perfectionism to continually be distracted – so they don’t have to be present, they don’t have to pay attention to what’s going on inside them. If they are repeatedly distracted trying to get something “perfect”, then they don’t have “time” to pay attention to what’s inside them or even what’s around them. Are you trying to escape from the present?

Others use perfectionism to keep from finishing. I guess this could be considered a form of procrastination too. But if you don’t finish then you don’t have to deal with success (or failure) and the attendant issues associated with that. Once you succeed, then people have other expectations of you and you then may feel you have to live up to those expectations. That can be frought with issues – especially the imagined ones. Usually the actual issues are never as bad as the ones we anticipate or worry about. But those anticipated ones are very real in our minds if we don’t stay in the present. Never finishing a project because it’s not “perfect” is a great way to not have to deal with those issues, anticipated or real.

These folks want happiness but can’t ever attain it because they are always seeking something better. But who defines what’s “perfect”? Do we even know what “perfect” is? I don’t think so. You may have your idea of what’s “perfect” but I don’t know that there is a universal committee mperfectionism2aking those determinations. You just drive yourself nuts trying to reach that arbitrary level called “it’s now good enough – it’s perfect”.

Are you a perfectionist? Why? When did it start? Was this something you were taught? Do you consider yourself happy? Can you start AND complete projects without having multiple restarts? Can you then move on to another project once that one is done? How do you feel when you’re working on a project? Does this work create anxiety in you? What are your feelings when you’re about to start a new project?

Answer some of these questions and then more importantly ask yourself if you can “just go with it” whatever “it” is. What is “good enough” for you? Can you get to a point where you can just keep going and accept that it will be very good even if it’s not perfect?

Think about your life this week. What has to be perfect, if anything? Are you happy when you deal with those things? Are there only a few areas of your life that you practice perfectionism? Or are there many? If it’s not in all, what is the difference in how you approach different things? How do you feel about those you need to have perfect and how do you feel about those you don’t get obsessed about?


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