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Nature’s lesson on perfectionism

One of the hardest lessons in my life has been around perfectionism and the need to make peace with it.

Even as I write I’m aware that it’s hovering in the background, trying to gain my attention.

Learning to ignore perfectionism

For too many years the perfectionist had me in its grip, preventing me living life to the full because of the paralyzing fear of getting ‘IT’ wrong.

I needed to know the outcome and unless I could be assured of a perfect result, I didn’t move. Eventually this became “I won’t try this job or that relationship until I’m perfect“.

Needless to say I stayed jobless and single.

But the day finally dawned and it was time to move on, regardless.

After asking the universe for help

. . . I found myself in nature with a magnifying glass.

Guided by intuition I was drawn to flowers growing by the side of the path. Using a  magnifying glass to observe them I noticed how pretty they were; a pale blue colour with each petal exact, opening to a dark yellow centre.

One in particular struck me as perfect with not a blemish in sight.

However the next flower, although the same pretty colour, had flaws in abundance.

Without thinking I voiced “You’re not perfect” to the little flower which continued to sway in the breeze, innocent of my pronouncement of it’s imperfections to it’s fellow flowers.

Turning my gaze back to the first flower I thought yes, perfect.

Yet unconsciously, my gaze kept returning to what in my mind was its defective companion.

The longer I stared the more I realised that although it seemed to be second best, it was actually more interesting than its perfect counterpart.

Rather than having perfect formation, this little flower’s petals bent and curled, backwards and forwards free and mindless of the direction in which they traveled.

Lost in thought, I was surprised when a lady approached and asked what I was doing. (Don’t most people spend time in their garden with a magnifying glass.)

I shared my insight on the flowers and she asked if she could have a look. After some intense scrutiny she stood up smiling and announced “Even the blemishes are perfect!”

I’d found the answer

Although the first flower was perfect to my way of thinking, the second flower was the more interesting of the two.

Even it’s blemishes were perfect!

And the lesson I learned . . .

Perfection’s in the eye of the beholder

Although we strive for perfection, as long as we’re moving forward that’s all that matters.

What perfection is, only the individual can decide.

We’re who we are, doing what we’re meant to be doing! That’s all we need to know.

Does perfection really matter?

Perhaps it does if we use it as something to live up to, as a measure of who we are. Indeed, many people spend their lives living in the shadow of their perfectionism, believing it’s the necessary ingredient for success.

However, if you wait until you’re perfect before you begin, you’ll miss the boat. It can take a long time to become perfect and life passes quickly.

Perfectionism is a shallow perception at best so instead of trying to be perfect, choose to be free of it.

Just for today I’m perfectly imperfect like nature’s little flower and that’s as nature intended.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Leslie Clary

    I’ve been enjoying your articles but this one especially resonated with me. Love your examples from nature.

    1. Deb Hill

      Thanks for the lovely comment Leslie. I find that nature’s such a great teacher, gentle in the lessons it provides 🙂

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