Society has a volatile relationship with perfection. At times it is highly sought-after; it’s the only option. In other moments we reject perfection, and it becomes a crippling cloak of conformity. I welcome perfection and have found a way to embrace it without guilt or self-doubt. I believe perfection is possible when we define it for ourselves.
Ignoring the “enoughs”
Creating my own definition of perfection has allowed me to leap over the traditional hurdles that can keep me from moving forward. Once, the little voices of self-doubt kept me from accomplishing tasks, reaching goals, or completing projects. The “enoughs” stopped me in my tracks: “Not good enough,” “not prepared enough”, “just plain not enough.” I believed that without absolute perfection, there was no point.
Collect daily satisfaction
But there were days where although I didn’t do everything I wanted to, I still felt okay. In fact, I felt great. Taking steps, doing some of the work, getting almost there, made me feel just as accomplished. I began to realize that if I removed absolution from my idea of perfection and defined it by my steps rather than my goal I could feel satisfaction every day. It is that daily satisfaction that motivates me to keep going and allows me to have sustained feelings of accomplishment. By redefining perfection I was able to achieve it.
Ask yourself, “what does perfection look like?” Then break that down into pieces. Perfection doesn’t have to be “completing an essay,” it could be just collecting sources and writing the outline. Allow yourself to feel good about visible progress.
Pile on the perfection
For me, perfection isn’t just completing tasks for work and school. I define it by the regular things I do as well. There are things I do almost every day without fail: Make my bed, turn on the Christmas lights, feed my cat Atticus. I add these to my list of perfection, which allows me to get that daily satisfaction even on particularly tough days.
No longer does perfection have to be something unattainable or negative. We can make it normal if we define it for ourselves and blend it into who we already are. A perfect day can be waking up early, working out, going to class and work, studying for 3 hours before eating a healthy well-rounded meal and getting 8 hours of sleep. A perfect day can also be staying in bed until two, binge-watching The West Wing on Netflix, and only leaving the house to check the mail. Your life is perfect if you say it is!