How did it come about that the majority of human beings under 45 have this perception that they need to be perfect? Now I'm talking about a few specific generations here - and it all seems to have begun with my generation - Generation X...
Even after we stop comparing ourselves to other people, we still have very high expectations of ourselves to be perfect, & to have the perfect life.
Yawn... yep I'm tired of my own nonsense already.
Living the plastic fantastic life.
I believe most of my early development of perfectionism came to me through the connection I felt with a very special role model: Barbie. Now if you're in your mid- thirties like me, Barbie was the woman you dreamt of being - perfect house, perfect pink car, perfect clothing, perfect figure, etc etc. Weekends were spent spreading all of Barbie's pink perfection all over the lounge room in an endless world of imagining perfect husbands, and perfect children. Yes, to live happily ever after was the dream.
Oh man - it was quite the wake up call when I did get married very young! So called Ken turned out to be an abusive workaholic, and within a short amount of time the dream powder puff wedding was a distant memory during expensive divorce proceedings.
Entrer le Critique.
With the overwhelming feeling of not being able to control our surroundings and make them fit the perfect vision, it's easy to turn to ourselves, endlessly being self critical, dieting, hair dyeing, big debt on credit cards fueling the need to be perfect and give ourselves a fleeting moment of being Barbie-esque.
I'm forever grateful however of growing up in a small town where television was limited on a Sunday night to my all time favourite - The Muppet Show - because this puppet world offers an alternative to plastic fantastic, and Miss Piggy quickly becomes the foe to Barbie's perfection.
When my desire to be perfect, when the "I need to lose weight, I must get a higher paying job, I need to buy a new dress, I must dye my hair to remove all signs of grey, I need new shoes, I'm not smart enough, not tall enough, not skinny enough, not pretty, sexy, funny, courageous enough," comes to mind, I now realise that this critical Barbie mindset kills my authentic self.
I know that not achieving perfection is a revolutionary sign that:
I'M HUMAN!! WOOHOO!!
And in being human -
I do not have to live up to the superficiality of a Barbie World.
Are you talking to Moi?
As a role model, Miss Piggy rocks it! She doesn't apologise to anyone for who she is, and she just karate chops anyone who criticises her or stands in her way.
Her self-belief & her self-confidence make her one of the most hilarious & courageous examples around - it is acceptable that a pig loves a frog, that she can have any career she wants, that her eccentricities make her unique and loveable -
so why the bloody hell can't WE be completely crazy, elegantly eccentric & childish, fail repeatedly but pick ourselves up - & in all things, uniquely be ourselves!
Okay, we're not puppets in a Miss Piggy sense, but we are in the way we respond to the images of 'Barbie' that are being presented to us as the perfect life we should aim to have. I mean, get real - a Barbie World is not plausible - but a world of diverse and funny characters, friends wholeheartedly pursuing dreams together, and uniquely gifted individuals enjoying great adventures - is plausible in my opinion!
In fact, it's already happening all around us...
ACTION POINT: Lose the need to be perfect!!!
Holding back while you wait for everything to be perfect before you LIVE is an absolute waste of a potentially amazing life!
Right now I want you to write down one thing that you have been putting off doing because you're waiting for things to be perfect ...do you currently refuse to:
You know what, you're going to let go of the need to have everything perfect & do it now - that's right - NOW!
I want you to risk massive failure, to make a complete fool of yourself, to make a mistake or do the wrong thing -
send that god damn email, start your blog, call the company you want to work for, post your manuscript, ask him out for a date, enter that marathon, tell her you want to marry her, enroll in that class you want to take, buy that beautiful new dress, quit your soul-sucking job - At the very least take the first step in the right direction toward living the life of your dreams!
If you continue to hesitate and wait for something to be perfect, you will continue to postpone life - we cannot always control the things that happen around or to us, but we can go out & grab life by the balls - NOW!
Our perfectly IMperfect lives.
There is not one thing in the whole world that is perfect by the definition that we have given it - yet a quiet perfection exists in the IMperfection of all things.
Nothing that is created in nature is 'perfect', there is always a flaw - this is nature's intention. What we create when authentically ourselves, is the perfectly IMperfect work of life, of humans, of the diverse & amazing beauty of nature.
Why the hell do we want to mess with this by trying to make it all perfect???
Well now, if you thought you could escape without completing the Action Point, I'm sorry to say - no way! There's a worksheet for you to download here, so you can get started on it now. Once you've finished it - I want you all to post your answers on Facebook - head over there now, where you'll find my answers - plus, the worksheet will give you links to other amazing references that I recommend if you really struggle with trying to be perfect.
Inaction due to perfectionism is like Ken's underpants - castrating & completely unnecessary!