One of the most liberating ideas I’ve ever come across is this short sentence: “God is perfect, but He is not a perfectionist.”
It was when I first read this that I realized that’s exactly what I was: a perfectionist with a capital P. Picky, fussy, never satisfied. I was firmly convinced that the only way a thing was going to get done properly was if I did it myself, so I never delegated anything and never asked for help. In many ways I’m still like that, but I’m learning to let go, a little bit at a time.
Coming across this article in an old Women’s Day magazine really helped: Making Peace with Imperfection, which advocates a more relaxed attitude towards life, based on wabi sabi, the Japanese appreciation of the beauty to be found in flaws. (Actually, at first glance I thought the article was about wasabi, which was why I started reading it!)
Living the wabi sabi way basically means being content with who you are, how you look, and what you have. It’s about living in the moment and being grateful for the good things you hold in your hands right now.
This is not to say that it’s okay to stop exercising, eating well, doing the best job we can, and working on our relationships. It simply means that we give everything our best shot, while being resolved to be happy with whatever the outcome.
Something else that really helps is having a wabi sabi “coach”: someone in your life who loves you just the way you are, who makes you feel it’s absolutely okay to be just you. Find someone like this, and you’ll discover that, funnily enough, knowing it’s okay to be you actually makes you want to be the best you that you can be. The difference between this and perfectionism is that you want to be the best for all the right reasons.
Maybe for you that person will be a friend, or a family member. Maybe it will be God. Maybe you yourself are that person for someone else in your life. It’s certainly a beautiful blessing to have, and a beautiful blessing to be.