On the day after being nominated among the 50 best blogs “on the planet”, these thoughts on striving and becoming which I had written for today seem even more apt…
One reason we practice mindfulness meditation is to strengthen our capacity to “be with” what is here, rather than always nurturing the deep-seated dynamic of “becoming”. And “being with” does not just mean that simplistic idea of mindfulness – being with this beautiful flower or cupcake – but also being with the life or personality we have, rather than always wanting to be better or be like others – “If only I was this….. if only he or she wasn’t like that – then I’d feel satisfied”. Ideals of perfect relationships, perfect holidays and even perfect wellness make it easy to feel that one isn’t good enough. These can be false friends, pushing us to do more and achieve more, rather than finding rest in who and where we are:
Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: “If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.” Perfectionism is defeating and self-destructive simply because there is no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal. Additionally, perfectionism is more about perception – we want to be perceived as perfect. Again, this is unattainable – there is no way to control perception, regardless of how much time and energy we spend trying.
Perfectionism is addictive because when we invariably do experience shame, judgment, and blame, we often believe it’s because we weren’t perfect enough so rather than questioning the faulty logic of perfectionism, we become even more entrenched in our quest to live, look, and do everything just right.
Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection