Perfection is a Myth, Mama

Perfection is fake.

We spend far too much of our precious energy striving for perfection rather than leaning into life as it truly is. Perfect isn’t attainable. Perfect isn’t realistic. Perfect does not exist. 

Our pursuit of perfection leads us into procrastination – putting things off for fear of not doing them perfectly – when we would find more peace in simply beginning imperfectly and owning the imperfection. 

Imperfection is truth. It’s who we are. It’s what we do. It’s our whole lives. We are imperfect creatures and we live imperfect lives and to hide the imperfection is to lie about who you are. 

If we are really going to own who we are, if we’re going to be our true selves, we have to admit to the imperfections. We have to lean into the imperfect. We have to begin anyway. 

Perfection is unnatural. 

I can’t tell you how much anxiety I faced when trying to plant my vegetable garden in the past. I spent far too long planning my spacing, the exact time of the year to plant everything, and researching companion planting, all to end up quitting before I even put a trowel to the soil. 

Then I took a walk in the forest with open eyes. I saw how the trees grow too close together. I saw how ferns grow on top of rocks. I saw how berries grow without pruning. I saw that there were no perfect lines. My eyes were opened. Perfection doesn’t exist in nature. A seed simply begins to grow and if it keeps growing, it reaches its full potential. The seeds in nature don’t wait for a gardener to create the perfect environment for them. They just start. They just grow. 

This year I planted my vegetable garden with confidence. I put seeds in the ground with just the knowledge I remembered from all that research. My spacing is off. My lines are crooked. There’s overcrowding and there’s barren spaces. It’s not perfect, but it’s growing and it’s thriving. It’s not perfect, but there will be a bountiful harvest anyway. 

There is harmony in the imperfections. 

Have you ever been snipe hunting? For those who were never subjected to this cruel family tradition, snipes are a make believe creature that cousins and uncles like to send the younger generation in search of. The notorious “snipe hunt” is featured in Disney’s Up as well. 

Perfection is a snipe. Our society and self-shame send us on this cruel hunt for a make believe creature. Don’t fall for the trick. 

Peace is possible but not when you are searching for perfection. The pursuit of perfection will have you burning out before you know it. When we spend our efforts searching for something that doesn’t exist, we are wasting precious, valuable time that we could have spent on things we truly care about. When we embrace our imperfections, we find harmony, we find peace, we find ourselves. 

It’s the pursuit of peace or of perfection, it’s your choice.

The idea of perfection is holding you back; let it go and watch your life propel forward.

My dad and brothers were bow hunters and we used to practice archery as kids. Before an arrow can be sent flying through the air, it first has to be pulled back. I like to think of all the setbacks I have in life as “set ups.”

You are the arrow. Perfection is a set up. The pursuit of perfection holds you back. Give up the pursuit of perfection, let it go, and watch how you are propelled forward. The same energy that you are putting into holding back, could be used to push you forward instead. 

The same force that’s holding you back, is going to push you forward. Go forth. Begin imperfect. Be imperfect. Be you. Embrace exactly who you are, as you are. There is beauty in nature. There is beauty in imperfection. There is beauty in you. Embrace it.  

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