I have this really obnoxious friend. I’ve known her practically my entire life, and she drives me absolutely crazy. She calls shotgun in my car, constantly tells me that what I’m doing isn’t good enough, and advises me not to take action until everything is just right.
She says she does it all because she wants what best for me. She doesn’t want me to make a mistake, ever. She wants me to succeed, to be the best.
But every time I do something – or think about doing something, she’s right there in my ear, telling me to hold off. Wait. Or if I do it, I better do it right.
In fact, she’s with me right now, hovering over my shoulder. Seething as I write. Royally pissed that I’m outing her..
Oh, Perfectionism. My feelings for you are conflicted. At times, you’re exactly what I need. You motivate me to be the best at what I do. You never let me slack off, and you never allow me to half-ass anything. Anything.
And it’s hard to call you out because I know you mean well. You only want me to be happy. You want me to have the perfect home, the perfect job, the perfect family, the perfect life. Because you think perfection brings happiness.
But here’s the thing, my old friend. I don't want my happiness to be about achieving some illusion of perfection. It's not possible, and it's not real.
Do you know what is real? My happiest moments. The memories of family vacations and deep conversations, late-night escapades and messy children, lazy days and happy accidents that reveal gorgeous surprises. These beautifully imperfect moments are the heart of what make me happy.
So Perfectionism, your time as navigator is done. You don’t get to ride shotgun anymore. Creativity has been in the back seat for too long, and it’s time for you two to switch seats. You can still come along for the ride, and when I need your help, I’ll ask for it.
But for now? I’m good. Not perfect. But good.