M'friend, how are you this week? How did last week’s challenge go? Did you feel inspired, challenged, or maybe stuck? If you have questions or feel stuck in your effort to let go of perfectionism feel free to reach out to me. Together we can make things happen! #holla :)
This week’s #perfectionistproblems blog post builds on last week’s theme of not letting go. Today I want to talk about not letting things be.
THAT'S FOR YOU TO PIN, YO!
This past Tuesday I got to go to another mandala drawing class. It’s a monthly class and I always look forward to it. Usually we use a pair of compasses to draw overlapping circles until a mandala figure emerges and then we start coloring. Easy, right? The last two lessons were different, though.
Last month our assignment was to draw a circle and to use our creativity to fill up that circle. It had to be a free flowing mandala and it’s theme was ‘Letting Go’... (ha, the Universe trying to tell me something?!?)
But boy, did I have a hard time with it.
I got stuck into thinking I wasn’t creative enough and that my drawing wasn’t good enough.
I had a hard time letting go of my feeling that the end result wasn’t going to look good. And yes… the final mandala wasn’t perfect.
Then something interesting happened this Tuesday. This week’s assignment was to draw a circle and divide it in half. Then we had to team up with someone we didn’t know that well and, going back and forth, we got to unleash our creativity on our half of the mandala.
This time I had no trouble letting go of the end result and my need for it to be perfect. It got me thinking:
“Why is that I’m so hard on myself, but when I get to work with someone else and share my creativity I find it so much easier to just let things be?”
What I’ve come up with is this: when working with someone else I have no control over the other person’s work. For me, it’s easier to surrender and let things be when I’m sharing my creativity. However, when I work alone, when I’m in perceived control and responsible for the outcome, I can’t let go and the voice of perfectionism kicks in.
This is something I want to work on.
I want to enjoy the creative process and let it be, instead of hanging on to the idea of a perfect outcome.
But how can I go about that?
As a perfectionist - if you’re anything like me - you have a hard time letting things be as they are. All right, all right, I hear ya thinking: “If I see a typo in a colleague’s important memo - or worse yet, in MY memo - I need to let it be?!” *gasp*
Well, as shocking as it sounds, sometimes it’s for the best to let things be.
Let’s take a minute to think through the alternative. Usually, when you’re not letting it be and instead try to “fix” something, it means having to deal with a whole lotta stress, frustration, negative self-talk, and lost energy. Not to mention, it’s time-consuming to re-do your work (or re-do someone else’s work on top of your own work!).
Just to be clear I’m NOT talking about dropping your standards or saying you should stop focusing on important details.
However, I AM talking about perspective.
How important is one typo in a 10,000 word essay? How devastating is it if there’s one crooked cross-stitch in your hand-sewn hat? I mean, really?
You feel like you can’t HELP but change, tweak, fix, or rework a project. You think that’ll make it better. But here’s the thing … you feeling this way isn’t really about the typo or about the crooked cross-stitch. It’s about how you think others will perceive that typo or crooked cross-stitch.
That little mistake makes YOU feel uncomfortable, because you’re afraid that other people will like you less or think less of your work.
This week I want you to let it be (*cue music and start The Beatles sing-a-long*), whenever that uncomfortable feeling of wanting to perfect comes along.
Instead of giving in, work through it. What are you really uncomfortable about?
Keep this in mind…
A little flaw or mistake adds character. There’s so much beauty in imperfection. Imperfection is what makes life interesting, what makes you human and what makes your work authentic.
Psst, don't forget to download a FREE copy of this perfectionism-busting workbook!
Hi there! I’m Wendy, founder of The Gratefulist and host of the #perfectionistproblems community for recovering perfectionists. I’m insanely passionate about helping you let go of your perfectionism. Let’s chat about the hard stuff - like dealing with comparison, people pleasing, your inner critic & starting a perfectionist detox - so that you can stop caring so much about what other people think and finally take on those dream projects that you've been putting off for so long.