Throughout the month of November, I will share with you some close and undeniable truths that I believe will set us free for real. These posts will vary in length and will end with a question for your personal contemplation. Ultimately, the sum of this time will help you better answer the question of “How Free Exactly Do You Want to Be?” for yourself, and find steps you can take to help you get there.
I am allowing myself to be led and used by the Spirit, so I will pour out whatever is poured into me as I write. This is often how the creative spirit works for me: I go to the page only with some idea of what I want to share, and I let Spirit take over after a brief tussle between my intellect and divine providence. It isn’t disorganized as much as it is a matter of surrender.
Today’s post is about perfection and the stronghold it has on us. Perfection is a subject that I’ve written about in greater length in my first book, A Journey Of Life On Purpose, and will be a subject that I will continue to write about as long as we need a reminder! Perfection not only deters us from acting, but derails us right off the track before we can even get started. Perfection, I believe, lies at the core, of why I have started and stopped separate ventures in my life.
Perfection however, is no elusive bogeyman, but the very real result of hyper-judgment, discouragement, and lack of sensitivity. If you’ve heard, time and time again, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” (as if someone asked) or have received thinly veiled criticism, served up as half-assed compliments, or sometimes nothing at all (silence can speak volumes), you too would be a little gun-shy about getting started, and more importantly, finishing. Though this criticism might ultimately motivate you, it goes without saying, that it might sting a bit first. I am not talking about book reviews here; I understand fully well that I put myself and my work on the firing line every time I dare to show up as a writer. I take none of that personally. Folks like what they like, and I respect that.
The good news is that living a fulfilling and meaningful life is not about perfection or getting it right, but about consistently living a life that reflects your core values—what you say is important to you. For me, that means living my life purpose, my health, wealth, wellness, and vitality, and that of my marriage and children. It is not enough for me that we simply exist or cohabit agreeably under one roof, but more important that we each thrive as people and as a unit together. Ensuring this requires that each and every one of us live up to our fullest potential, including me. If these are, in fact, my core values, it matters first that I weed out what does not align with these values and show up, fully committed to operating in my purpose without fear and/or the need for perfection.
One of my business partners said it best, “Lead with your values and everything will fall into place.” Your values should always dictate your priorities; your priorities, in turn, will determine what you will and will not tolerate and where you will spend your time. I no longer have the luxury of figuring out this perfection versus imperfection bullshit, nor do I have the ability or bandwidth to sort through all the damage that comes with being overly judged, overlooked, or criticized. I hardly have the time, and no longer is it my wish. I accept instead, that my story is less than “perfect”—whatever the heck that is anyway—but is damn well good enough a springboard for even greater stories. What matters to me most—my core values—will lead the way instead. Being perfect isn’t only overrated, it is hazardous to my health.
It is freeing to take off the cape, to let it sashay down to the floor, round the backs of my beautiful ankles, and to never pick it up again. Win, lose, or draw, my values will lead and not the voices of perfection or a judgmental past. Win, lose, or draw, I must learn to be compassionate with myself instead, and show that there is no perfect route, no perfect post, no perfect time, no perfect system, and no perfect plan other than the one I create for myself. Win, lose, or draw, I will show up to the communal table with all my bumps and forgiveness, with all my bruises and redemption, with all my scars and grace. The combination of all of it is complete and whole, which by definition is very much perfect.
I ask you, in what places does your struggle with perfectionism keep you bound? I will take the time to consider your response and give a thoughtful reflection as time permits.
In the meantime, “Keep On Movin.”
(Update: articles will be posted as often as Spirit allows, possibly not daily.)
Avril Somerville is the author of A Journey Of Life On Purpose. She is in the stages of bringing her début novel, How Dare You Say Goodbye? to light. To request Avril as a speaker at your next event, please go here.