Sunday, January 17, 2010

Make Peace with Imperfection

cherry flowers

Make Peace with Imperfection
from "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" by Richard Carlson, PhD

I've yet to meet an absolute perfectionist whose life was filled with inner space. The need for perfection and the desire for inner tranquility conflict with each other. Whenever we are attached to have something in certain way, better than it already is, we are, almost by definition, enganged in a losing battle. Rather than being content and grateful for what we have, we are focused on what's wrong with something and our need to fix it. When we are zeroed in on what's wrong, it implies that we are dissastified, discontent.

Whether it's related to ourselves -- a disorganized closet, a scratch on the cat, an imperfect accomplishment, a few pounds we would like to lose -- or someone else's "imperfections" -- the way someone looks, behave, or lives their life -- the very act of focusing imperfection pulls us away from our goal of being kind and gentle. This strategy has nothing to do with ceasing to do your very best but being overly attached and focused on what's wrong with life. It's about realizing that while there's always a better way to do something, this doesn't mean that you can't enjoy and appreciate the way things already are.

The solution here is to catch yourself when you fall into your habit of insisting that things should be other than they are. Gently remind yourself that life is okay he way it is, right now. In the absence of your judgement, everything would be fine. As you begin to eliminate your need for perfection in all areas of your life, you'll begin to discover the perfection of life itself.

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