3 Reasons to Break Up with Perfectionism and Make Imperfection Your New Best Friend
Perfectionism can get the best of any of us. As a recovering perfectionist and aspiring imperfectionist, I know that staying in the comfort of perfectionism is enticing. One of my favorite books is The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown, which states that we armor ourselves with perfectionism because we are afraid of vulnerability and connection.
I like to think of passion as a radical connection with ourselves.
Passion is unique to each person and marks endeavors and hobbies that feel authentic to them. With a tool like Passion Planner, the hope is to integrate these authentic connections into our daily lives, whether those are hobbies, relationships, or causes.
In this article, we’re going to deep dive into how perfectionism kills passion, and how to lean into imperfection to bring it back to life.
1. Perfectionism is a fun sucker. Imperfections create pleasure.
Have you ever created a goal at the beginning of the year that sounded something like this:
“I’m going to workout every single day at 5:30 AM before work.”
“This is THE year where I’m finally going to get my writing off the ground.”
But then you wake up at 7 AM and your running shoes are still in the closet. Or you’ve written a few pieces but are experiencing fear around showing them to others. We’ve mentioned this in a recent video, but militant attachment to a goal is more a deterrent to achieving it than actually giving it room to breathe. The attachment makes it into a demand, and you no longer feel passionate about it.
When committing to your passions, use language that allows you to see them like the treat that they are, and not a chore.
Here are some changes to the above goals we adjusted:
“I’m going to engage in movement that I love (yoga, dancing, hiking) 3-5x times a week.”
“This is THE year where I’m going to give my writing the exposure it deserves. I’m going to write at least three pieces and share them with five people whom I trust.”
2. Perfectionism stunts imagination. Imperfections heal your inner child.
There’s been a lot of inner child talk in wellness and therapy circles these days, and there’s a reason.
Our passions are often deeply connected to our childhood, through interests we’ve long forgotten about or even artistic expressions that went unrecognized.
Perfectionism can stop passion dead in its tracks because it needs everything to be right, but when we’re children, we do our passions for the simple reason that we enjoy them.
Perfectionism kills imagination because it uses passion as a bargaining chip for validation.
“Is my art good enough?” “Will people enjoy this?” In reality, our inner child couldn’t care less if the art is good to others, only that it’s good to ourselves. Connection and people resonating with it is just a bonus.
When reconnecting with your passions in a big way, never begin with other people, always begin with yourself.
3. Perfectionism struggles to forgive. Imperfections nourish community.
No community in the history of our world was built on perfection.
In fact, the strongest connections are forged when we are real about our wounds.
The illusion of perfection keeps us armored, and thus unable to connect in a meaningful way. I have always said that Passion Planning is not an individual practice, it’s a community journey.
When we are on this journey, chances are that we don’t know everything, nor do we have everything. We need to ask for help. We need resources. Perfectionism lies and tells us we need to do it all on our own, making it impossible to ever get the help we need because we think it makes us weak.
With perfectionism, we do not have the capacity to forgive ourselves or others because everything must be the “right” way. When we leave room for mistakes and imperfections, we’re leaving room for laughter, support, and community.
Your passion deserves to exist without the dictator of perfectionism breathing over it. Remember, your passions don’t have to be perfect, they just have to start.