The Problem with Perfect

Would you believe me if I told you that you’re a wildly creative woman? That it doesn’t matter if you’ve never picked up a paintbrush, written a verse or played a song; creativity is a quality inherent to being human. Maybe you’ve caught the whispers of your artistic appetite in less intimidating pursuits like decorating your home, pulling together a look or cooking an elegant meal. The desire to be perfect, however, is literally stalling you in your skin, preventing you from engaging in something that might expose you to others as not being, well, perfect.

Perfection, while a constant on the glossy pages of magazines, is actually an illusion. Nothing in the natural world is perfect. A snowflake isn't perfectly symmetrical, a tree doesn't grow perfectly straight and human beings certainly aren't perfect, either. Perfect is narrow and stagnate. Perfect keeps you playing small. Perfect hijacks your ability to appreciate the present moment as you continually strive to be something you aren't.

For years I had no idea I was trapped in the perfection performance pitfall of life, making my choices based on what others would think of me. I felt apathetic about engaging in creative pursuits, telling myself I didn't have time or I'd get to it later, when in reality all these excuses were direct descents of the fear of not being perfect enough. As I peeled back the layers of my unconsciousness, I came to understand that my fear stemmed from the illusion that only if I was perfect would I be worthy of approval, acceptance and ultimately love. In reality, life is messy and a process. Despite the competitive centric values our society promotes, the roller coaster of life elicits growth that's unique to your journey. And growth is what feels so damn good.

Measuring yourself by the so-called successes and failures of others is essentially challenging competition to a duel, where you'll come up the loser every time. You lose because the belief that you'll be judged within the competitive hierarchy is enough to block the flow of your precious, intrinsic creativity. There is a way to reverse this war you're waging on your creative self, though. It's so very simple you might want to brush it aside with thoughts of jamming on an acoustic guitar around the campfire or writing that story humming through your mind. But if you listen closely and take it to heart, you will unleash a powerful passion to create and, in turn, create space to relish in the ever-elusive present moment.

All you need to do is be the beginner. The beginner isn't expected to know a damn thing, so the beginner never fails. Like many people, I've always loved music, admired musicians and spent the better part of my paycheck following my favorite bands from show to show. But with a perceived absence of natural talent, I relegated myself to the sidelines, convinced I better leave the best part of the musical experience, singing and playing an instrument, to others.

When I awakened to the reality that this was just a lie I told myself because I was fearful of judgment, I gave myself permission to be the beginner and began to learn guitar. I've since written a compilation of original songs and collaborated with other musicians, while dissolving the vague dissatisfaction that once pervaded my life. So, just be the beginner and watch as the passion to create infuses joy and inspiration into your life!

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To read more of Emily's inspirational musings, click here.


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