19 Feb let go perfectionism and unblock your creativityReading Time: 5 minutes
I’ve been thinking about perfection lately and how it is actually just a concept with no basis in our ever-changing reality.
sometimes it seems the world is quite disordered, with a constant falling in and falling in and out of place. striving for perfection is like trying to keep it all in order, and this habit becomes very dangerous when you become emotionally invested in controlling your reality.
when you let go of your need to do things perfectly you free yourself to be more creative and productive in every aspect of your life.
write first, edit after
it’s impossible to do anything while you are judging yourself at the same time. your mind gets so caught up in the judgment that there is no room for the action. so separate the two steps. when you’re creating something enjoy the process as much as possible. the editing comes after. both parts are necessary but they can’t happen at the same time.
set your own standards
we have this dangerous habit of always wanting to be better. whatever we do isn’t good enough because it could always be more, but then again it could always be less. instead of focusing on your faults set yourself standards. standards elimaniate the need to always be more and they give you something that’s doable. instead of comparing yourself and focusing on your feelings of insufficiency focus on the positive aspect of what you want to achieve. create a standard that is attainable and realistic and plan action steps to get there. then take the steps one at a time. you can’t blame yourself when you do your best and you can always try again but you know that you’ve met your standard.
give yourself time
always remember that things take time. so often we want instant validation for our actions and when we don’t get it we start to feel like we are doing something wrong. life is a lot of learning and learning takes time. I remember when I was learning spanish there were many times I felt that I would never be good enough to communicate and that everything I was doing was a waste of effort, but when I gave myself time and let go my perfectionism I improved and improved and without even thinking about began to communicate fluently.
enjoy the process
the beauty of giving yourself time to achieve your goals is that you don’t have to worry about them anymore. all that worrying was just a waste of energy that is better dedicated to the process. trust yourself to get wherever you want to be, plan well, and then take the steps, one at a time. you don’t have to do everything at once and when you can wrap your head around this, what you’re actually doing will become so much more enjoyable.
grow comfortable in the chaos
sometimes I think life is far too chaotic. maybe this is because being a perfectionist I have this habit of trying to keep in control of my reality. so if you’re anything like me you need to grow comfortable in the disorder. when you accept that things will never be “perfect” (as in exactly how you imagined they should in your head) you free yourself from the idea. you can choose to accept reality at any time and when you do you allow yourself to be happier, more productive and more creative.
nothing is really wrong
take a minute to think about a time you felt something was wrong. here’s mine. when I turned 18 I traveled to europe on my own and a lot of things went wrong. my phone got stolen, the phone my friend tried to ship me got stolen and I almost cut my finger off trying to make hummus.
I remember this one time I called my dad crying because I missed my ferry and was stranded on a small croatian island and I felt like all these mess ups were entirely my fault. but I calmed down, I booked a new hostel, booked a new ferry and started over, and like every other mistake in my life it was ok. the beautiful part of the moment was walking to my new hostel in the purple dusk. it was a perfect mediterranean may twilight, the air smelled like lilac and there was a peacefulness that seemed to settle over everything. when I look back at the memory none of these chaotic events were really negative, only opportunities to learn and become a part of the natural flow of life.
see the big picture
say you want to workout every day, and one day you don’t find the time for it and the perfectionist in you starts to feel like a failure. instead of agreeing with the negative emotion come back to your inicial intention, and if an overall healthy lifestyle was your original goal, in the grand scheme of things really doesn’t matter. remind yourself why you decided to start exercising or taking whatever positive action it is your focusing on. use this as your motivation and remember that you can always come back to it. each time you stray from your intention it is an opportunity to learn and when you look at your life from further away all those little choices didn’t ever matter. the important things were the ones you came back to, so trust yourself and in the long run, you will always do what you’re are supposed to.
you’re not alone
one of the best ways to let go perfectionism is to relate to other people. when you take some time to get a fresh opinion you’ll immediately realize that everyone has a different opinion! there is no right answer, just a thousand points of view. we’re all in the same boat here and having the support of the people around you is one of the best ways to put everything in perspective.
connect versus compete
when you try to be perfect you’re looking at life as a competition and this is a game you will never win. instead of competing, try to connect. grow comfortable with the constant changing standards and situations. and if you can act out of authenticity and you appreciate what you are doing, that’s enough.
connection with yourself and other people is far more rewarding than striving for perfection anyways.
I finished up this post a few sundays ago in a little cafe on the plaza down the road from my flat in barcelona. I kept finding myself getting distracted and a change of environment, morning sunlight and oat milk café con leche was exactly the inspiration I was looking for.
I’m learning that projects often come together in their own natural timing. I first had the concept for this post in july when I first began to let go my own perfectionism. I was ready to change and excited to share my new philosophy, and I got as far as the first journal entry and that was it. life kept going, I moved to barcelona and I let go my need to get anything digitally published by a deadline or keep a timetable level of control of my ideas in general.
my hope is that you find the post insightful and that these simple steps help you to live a little more imperfectly.