In a world where it’s almost impossible to separate who we are from what we do, perfectionism becomes an unwritten law of the land. More to the point, if I could just do everything perfectly, then you would have no other choice than to love and praise who I am. Cue in the rat race and the countless products that make us feel less than until we buy them.
I am not venting though. I believe that all change must start with the individual and what actually bothers me about perfectionism most is that it unconsciously caused me to mistreat others.
While I could come up with countless examples and as first world of a problem as it may appear, I’d like to share a quick story about my car.
I bought my car brand new and so in my mind it had to be perfect. However, it only took few days for my perfectionism to pick up an annoying sound that my car made at low speeds. Outrageous I thought! But as much I tried, I couldn’t get the dealer to fix it. What is wrong with this world I thought? That little sound borderline ruined my new car experience.
Then just about few months ago, we had an intense rain pour. Where I live, storm water has never been an issue before, so without much thought I drove to my crossifit box for the 5AM work out as I do every Monday. On the way there the water felt a bit high, so as a safety minded person, I used a different route home. I was so proud of my critical thinking! Then, about half way on my way home, I felt water pouring in down my left leg. It came out of nowhere. I was stunned! I didn’t know what to do so I just kept doing what I was already doing … driving!
When I got home the rescue operation began. I spent next few days on my knees blow drying the flooring out to make sure mold didn’t get in. As I was doing my penance, finding what seemed to be countless puddles and wet spots, I couldn’t help but appreciate just how lucky I was to not get stuck in the water like “that myriad of idiots” I saw time and again on TV before. I felt so blessed that my car powered through the water like an amphibious assault vehicle.
These days my car actually makes even weirder noises. But you know what, whenever I notice them, it puts a big smile on my face, because it reminds me how my “imperfect” car pulled me through in spite of my dumb ass decisions. We are definitely a team now. Practically brothers … with a bit of a scarring sound to show for it:)
Perfect car? That sounds so boring. After all, it’s the combination of our imperfections that made our pairing one of a kind and myself a very proud owner.
So for all of the recovering perfectionists out there, is there an opportunity to build pride in your imperfections?