I have been thinking about perfectionism a bit these last few days. Most of us have a desire to do things well, or at least with excellence. Yet not any of us do all things with perfection.
Perfectionism stakes its claim on us by making us feel we are not enough. It makes sure we know we never will be either. The word, “perfectionism”, sounds like it should have a positive connotation but if we dig deeper, we find the hidden ugliness it truly masks:
- Perfectionism has nothing to do with doing the best you can. It actually keeps us from doing our best. In order to avoid failure, we don’t do at all.
- Perfectionism does not help us to improve ourselves either. Perfectionism does not look to help improve but rather is looking at what others will be thinking about us.
Perfectionism >>> “perfection
Did you notice it is a “personal” standard? We do it to ourselves. But it does not stay isolated to ourselves as Brene Brown explains:
Perfectionism never happens in a vacuum. It touches everyone around us. We pass it down to our children, we infect our workplace with impossible expectations, and it’s suffocating for our friends and families. Thankfully compassion also spreads quickly. When we’re kind to ourselves, we create a reservoir of compassion that we can extend to others. Our children learn how to be self-compassionate by watching us, and the people around us feel free to be authentic and connected.
(The Gifts of Imperfection, page 61)
We must come to the place where we realize we will never be perfect. We all are flawed. All in need of grace. Paul explains it this way:
“We have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 4:7, NLT)
We’re all fragile. We’re all cracked. And that’s OK for it is the very means by which His Light shines through our lives.
Those cracks show the world that in spite of our imperfections, He loves us.
Those cracks remind us that although we ourselves are imperfect,
the Perfect One resides inside of us.