Saturday, October 22, 2011

Perfection perception

Greetings everyone,

I try and post a blog when I have something that is showing up in my life that may be of value to others. Lately I have caught myself thinking uncharitable thoughts about myself. If I were to make my criticisms to another person I would be considered cruel. Many people follow this pattern. We don't treat ourselves very nicely in our heads. We don't think very highly of ourselves.

After one day in particular when I was very down on myself and just felt awful, I wondered why I was being so self critical. The thought zoomed into my head, "Oh my God I don't think I am a good person." That was it in a nutshell. I thought I was bad. Not evil of course but not a "worthy" person. This of course comes from thinking "what's wrong with me?" Which is a horrible question to ask yourself, because your subconscious will start dredging up every memory it can of times when you fell short of your personal best to answer the question.

So why did I think I wasn't a good person. Well I'd fallen back into comparing my life with other people. Why hadn't I accomplished more? Why didn't I have more: money, friends, property, muscles? This is the internalized keeping up with the Jones' that many of us aren't even conscious of. We all have someone in our lives who is a conscious player of that game. Their neighbor got a new car, and now they must get a newer sportier model, and we think that is silly. However many of us "keep score" in our own heads. You think things like I'm almost ____ years old and I still haven't bought a house, or gone on a cruise, or gotten married. These are just examples and I am not suggesting they apply to you imaginary readers out there in cyberspace, but what I may advise you do is to start becoming aware of when you are comparing your life's accomplishments, relationships, or possessions to someone else's.

Besides comparing ourselves to other people which is a minefield to our serenity there is also the idea of perfection that gives us grief. I am not perfect. I don't always do the right/sensible/honorable... thing. There is nothing wrong with striving to be a good person and to be a positive force in life. The problem is we often have an ideal template of what we are "supposed" to be. It is our perfect life. You know what I'm talking about it's the if only I could lose those last five pounds, or if only I was more confident. This also goes in tandem with comparing ourselves to others. When we don't match our idea of perfection we often make ourselves feel like we are just not good enough.

Having been involved in arts and crafts for about a decade I can say with absolute certainty. Perfection is the death of growth. None of my pieces are ever perfect. When I get hung up on perfection, my work gets worse not better. My best work is done when I am as present and focused as possible.

So what does all this rambling mean? It means I really need to examine the underlying belief patterns I have about self worth and life. It means that I need to not use a measuring stick when looking at myself. It means I need to cut myself a little slack and enjoy me as I am not as I think I should be. It means I need to give up the idea of perfection, and look at my life as I look at my artwork. Some of the best work arose from a flaw or mistake that I made in the process. So my dear imaginary readers, cut yourself a little slack, don't judge your accomplishments against anyone else's, and stop waiting for yourself to be perfect to value who you are.

Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle