As a child I lived in colonial style Rhodesia and was tutored in a convent by German Dominican nuns on how to be perfect in mind and body. So if there was ever a person working the dark art of perfectionism and self-criticism it’s me.
So it’s 3am – I’ve been tweaking my website for hours while climbing a steep 90 degree learning curve. I’d taken 2 weeks off work to complete the site and am feverishly trying to get it out into the world. Pausing for thought, I wonder if it’ll ever get to the point when it’s happily completed.
Problem is, it’s not perfectly perfect and I’m going round in mental circles with a kind of niggling impatience that becomes really exhausting and unproductive after a while?
Perfection will absolutely strangle self expression and keep me, and you too, from EXPRESSING our unique gifts which are waiting inside us to be excavated and released into the world.
Although I’m trying hard to get my unique message out to people who may want my services my Inner Critic is having field day. Her soft patronising, overly smug voice in my head is pointing out how useless I am. It seems impossible to appease her. Words like “not good enough, you’ll never get it right!! You could have done better more quickly!!” or “Don’t get complacent and arrogant now, you’ll just mess it up if you do.”
I realise this is insanity, me helplessly listening to an insatiable inner voice of perfection like a slave to a master.
Do find yourself avoiding tasks due to fear of failure?
As a result of the ICs persistent voice on perfection, nine times out of ten the demand to do something perfectly is so strong that I begin to avoid the task at hand because I am fearful of failure and the consequences. Going round in circles is avoidance from moving forward for fear of getting it wrong. However, truth is I can never fulfil the IC’s unattainable, unrealistic demands.
So, I decide to take a risk by asking myself if I could do things differently this time, even though the attempt may feel too simple and ineffective in the face of the looming Critic in my head.
How can you make a start to ditch those incessant whispers that prevent you from feeling an authentic and honest satisfaction with your creative expression and achievements?
ACCEPT THAT YOUR INNER CRITIC IS INCAPABLE OF APPEASEMENT
Regardless of how amazing, talented and successful you may be, your Inner Critic is hard wired to find fault with you. And so, he/she has this uncanny knack of always raising the bar just when you thought you’d nailed it. Stop trying so hard. When we try too hard we induce a state of contraction which stifles the creative juices.
The process of creativity requires an inspiring environment with which to immerse and relax yourself. Making you receptive to receiving inspiration.
DEVELOP THE REVOLUTIONARY IN YOU
Take Perfectionism by the scruff of the neck and make a stand for yourself in spite of the harsh voice of your Inner Critic. This is the time when the revolutionary in you is useful for the sake of self preservation and to build self confidence. You could try a little experiment by breaking out of the constraints of this inner voice by “get mud on your boots” to prove a point that you’re in charge after all.
Don’t forget to look around and notice that nothing much has changed in the world after you did your dirty deed. Show your IC that you make the choices here. We want to use hard love with zero tolerance toward the IC. Then lo-and-behold, without even trying, self-respect will enter into the mix.
SELF-RESPECT AND INNER-CONVICTION ARE BUDDIES
Yes it’s true it may take a while to connect firmly to your self-respect and build upon it. Once you get a taste of how it feels to take care of yourself, instead of relying on others for approval, you’ll feel a sense of empowerment and self-reliance rise up inside as you craft a pathway to free ourself from the constraints of the IC.
Remember, self-respect is a form of loving. Not in a narccistic way which stems from vanity and arrogance, but with a humble approach combined with gratitude that you have a right and responsibility to express your gifts to the world.
ADOPTING THE PATH OF PERFECT EVOLUTION
Meaning of evolution – EV.OL.U.TION
Dic. meaning: the gradual development of something, esp. from a simple to a more complex form.
One approach could be to mimic nature. You could allow each conscious little contribution toward your creative projects be like an unfolding and an accumulation that will grow into something bigger and better, just like the process of evolution in nature – slow and easy.”
Embracing perfect evolution will allow you to feel an kind of internal space to think clearly, feel passionately and relax physically. Let go of the demand of trying to be, say or do something impossible and focus on nature’s precious lesson – one step at a time.
By relaxing with rhythmic slow paced breathing you’ll foster expansion in your being. Focus on the moment until an inspired answer comes flying into your heart on the wings of truth and feelings of relief.
THINK, “IT’S GOOD ENOUGH AS IT IS”, SO LONG AS YOU DO THE BEST YOU POSSIBLY CAN GIVEN WHAT YOU HAD AT THE TIME.
Doing your best is much much better than trying to be perfect. Why is this? Because doing your best is attainable, while being perfect is not. Of course the idea of perfection will try to nibble away at your achievments, but stay with the light.
Bear in mind that when we talk about doing your best, I’m not referring to a state of inertia, where you give up caring by adopting a coasting approach. This is a form of opt out. Remember this is a building bit-by-bit approach which will herald in a lot more progress in a shorter space of time.
A process of getting out of the ego’s way, being patience and letting your creativity have a life of its own to unravel exactly as it needs to. This requires a certain level of trust combine this with making up your mind to feel content with what you’ve already achieved will help a lot. At the same time, be aware of the voice of the Inner Critic without taking it on board.