Let Go of Perfection

CONFESSION: I am a perfectionist. It drives me freaking mad. I need to let go of it. But then, my fear is that I wouldn’t be perfect.

Oh, hang on. That’s right. I’m NOT perfect. Not even close.

It’s amazing the lessons life gives you if you’re interested in listening…

Yesterday I sat Isla down outside with the plan to make a roll of handmade potato stamped Christmas wrapping paper. Bowls of paint at the ready, carefully carved potato stamps in different festive shapes, a roll of kraft paper ready for decoration. We were good to go. I was excited. Isla was giddy.

So we began…

Turns out that hand-stamping Christmas paper is beyond the reaches of the average two-year-old’s concentration span. Huh. Who knew??

(Um, everyone, Brooke. Seriously.)

My immediate urge was to take over, show her how it’s done (ie do it all so it didn’t look like crap). Instead, I let her go.

She started slapping paint all over the place, with the reckless abandon of someone young and carefree and ignorant of the looming clean-up.

It looked like fun.

We went through maybe 10 tubes of paint, just slapping and flinging and dripping and flicking. And every movement, every splat, every joyful squeal brought me closer to a realisation – that this freedom, this joy, this expression of colour and fun and life and spirit and creativity was perfect.

It was perfectly imperfect.

Now, instead of a perfectly executed project to show people on Christmas Day, we have something that is truly handmade made by both of us. As much influenced by my daughter as by me.

But more than that, I realised that perfection is over-rated. Signficantly.

It’s desirable to be organised, to know where you’re heading, to have your shit together. But if you keep it too tightly locked down, if you hold too firmly on to the notion of how it “should” be, then you run the risk of missing the unplanned moments. The moments of joy and life and light.

Those are the moments of perfect imperfection and I will treasure them endlessly.

5 Responses to Let Go of Perfection

  1. Hi Brooke :) Wow, what a great post! I’ve just started reading your blog and it’s definitely going on my regular blog list! I too am a perfectionist and unfortunately it has made me less forgiving of people’s mistakes as well as my own. But it’s something I’m slowly getting better with. I’ve been keeping this quote next to my computer: “Being happy doesn’t mean everything’s perfect, it means you’ve decided to see beyond the imperfections.”

    • Thanks Belinda! I can completely relate – and it’s an awesome feeling to let go of those expectations isn’t it??

      Great quote too – I think I might stick that on my pinboard! x

  2. I frequently refer to myself as a recovering perfectionist. Kinda like an addict in recovery, I don’t know that we can ever consider ourselves cured, but we must regularly hear the stories of others and remind ourselves of the way perfectionism can rob us of the things we treasure. Thanks for the story this morning!

    • I couldn’t agree more, Rita! It’s definitely an on-going thing for me too. It’s always great to be reminded that there are other ways of operating in the world, isn’t it?