Welcome to Susan's world!
Each month we will include an article, excerpt or thought that we feel will enrich your life in some way. Enjoy!
ADDICTED TO PERFECTION? YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!
Adapted from the works of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.
In her book, End the Struggle and Dance With Life, Susan called perfectionism an addiction. Always having to be the best, always going above and beyond, always having to prove yourself are just ways of trying to show the world, and yourself, that you are good enough. So much so, that it becomes an addiction to some people. But being a perfectionist, while it might look as if everything is fantastic, takes its toll on our health and our relationships. It can also hold us back from new opportunities.
But Susan also had a "cure" for the addiction to perfection - affirmations. One especially for this particular "disease" -
It's All Happening Perfectly!
Being a perfectionist can be a positive thing - always cross your T's and dot your I's, things get done on time, and there is no such thing as a mistake - but it can also limit our worldview and hinder us from accepting new challenges. When we aim for perfection, we miss the opportunities that come from learning from our mistakes. If we put so much pressure on ourselves to get everything done exactly right, we miss out on the process. By always wanting to do everything just so, we may not accept new challenges because we are worried that we won't be able to do them perfectly the first time through.
Trying to be perfect in everything we do is only a means to feel as if we are good enough. It's a way to shout out to the world that we are deserving people. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be the perfect employee, the perfect friend/parent/lover, or the perfect person that we shut out much of the satisfaction that comes with doing our best no matter what the results.
As Susan so succinctly put it:
Are you perfect yet? Neither am I! Nor will we ever be. We are all human beings doing the very best we can. And human beings weren't born to be perfect. We were born to learn, to grow, to expand, to love, to create, to enjoy, to see the beauty in all things...including ourselves. But we weren't born to be perfect!
Aiming for perfection can be damaging on a personal level. When we peg our self-worth to being perfect, none of us are able to enjoy the journey.
The reason our addiction to perfection can be so devastating is that we believe our self-worth is measured by our performance. But since no one is perfect, it is impossible to attain self-worth through perfection.
Much of what is good in life is the process of moving forward, not the end results. And perfection is very much an end. By only concentrating on the end results, we miss out on so much of life itself, so much of what makes life worth living - working and sharing with others, enjoying our work, appreciating our gifts, enjoying life.
The answer to the addiction to perfection is to let go of the need to be perfect. Instead of having to be perfect, you realize that "It's All Happening Perfectly."
When we let go of our need to be perfect and our need to control the outcome, we can allow ourselves the peaceful thought that "It's all happening perfectly" no matter how things turns out. Because however anything turns out, it is perfect - it can sometimes be happy or sad, but it is perfect! Every day is a gift and living it with gratitude for all the gifts in your life can help you to see that the results mean very little in relation to everyday goodness.
To learn how to see life as perfect try repeating "It's All Happening Perfectly!" to yourself all day. Even better, write in on a post-it and put it where it will catch your eye all day long. Saying the affirmation to ourselves repeatedly, and really coming to believe it, is a positive way to change the way we think and helps us relieve the pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect.
Susan really knew what she was talking about when she wrote:
Understand that the realization that you are good enough and that the results of your efforts are good enough is not an excuse to be sloppy and uncaring. It serves our sense of self to put a loving effort into whatever we do in life, but this loving effort needs to be totally detached from an addiction to perfection.
Feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction do not come from striving to be perfect; but they do come from the process of using our inner power, beauty and love in a creative, expansive, positive and loving way.
If you do your best and enjoy the journey, things can't help but "happen perfectly."
Copyright © 2014 Susan Jeffers, LLC All rights reserved.
Adapted from Susan's writing in End the Struggle and Dance with Life.
(Important: To use all or any part of this article, go to firstname.lastname@example.org for permission.)