Anna Quindlen said, “The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” And nothing holds us back from becoming ourselves like perfectionism. We can talk ourselves into believing that it is positive, a motivator for reaching our goals, but in reality that’s not true.
Research shows that it actually gets in the way of success and is often a path leading to anxiety, depression and even addiction. The pursuit of perfection limits your ability to be present and literally robs you of your vitality. Fun and joy are lost because you’re more focused on controlling the outcome than on the process itself.
Brene Brown points out that perfection is the mistaken belief that if you look perfect, act perfect and live perfect, you’ll be protected from the pain of blame, judgement and shame. But these experiences are a normal part of life. And the thing you think is keeping you safe is the very thing that will hold you back.
Of course you want to improve yourself and strive to be your best. But a healthy striving is self-focused and asks questions like, “How can I expand and grow?” Perfection on the other hand is outwardly focused and asks questions like, “How do I look? or What will they think?”
So how do you let go of the shield and move on with the work of becoming yourself? Have courage when you want to run away. Stay connected with others when you’re tempted to isolate. Practice self-compassion rather than criticism. Becoming more loving and compassionate with yourself is a true gift and gives you the freedom to embrace your imperfections.
This talk starts with Annie talking about a song that was sung before the talk. This video is the song she is referring to at the beginning of this talk.
Listen to the Spiritual Message
Slides from the talk