Perfectionism goes right to the core of our conformed identity and self-worth (our sense of self), which is why it is so hard to overcome.
I’ve been decorating my home with creative recycling for 15 years now. This is how I learned that there’s no such thing as “perfect”; and that settling for “good enough for now” takes some of the pressure off to conform to accepted ways and standards (something I need to keep reminding myself of constantly though).
The old “have to get it perfect first time, with no room for error” is a very deep conditioning that really cripples our creativity. I learnt this several years ago; I had made some shelves and a little alcove for the phone out of a hotchpotch of old recycled materials, but was procrastinating with decorating them. Then an artist friend came over for a visit, and while his wife and I were chatting, Dave secretly mixed up half a bucket of casting plaster with kitchen paper in it (Dave had previously told me about this new plastering technique, and I’d been excited by its possibilities, but I’d never used it before). Dave put the bucket in front of me and said “here you are”; I said “what’s that for?” and he said “to decorate your shelves”. Confronted with a bucket of plaster, I went into a panic; but it was setting fast, so I plastered it onto the shelves with my bare hands just as fast as I could to use it all up.
After I’d finished off the shelves a few days later, I realized that Dave had forced me through that “I’ve got to get it right first time” perfectionist’s fear that was causing my procrastination.
We are all conditioned to fear making mistakes, because in this society mistakes equate with failure, and being “wrong” or “bad” or “stupid”. But of course, mistakes are how we learn to get it right. And getting it right (for our selves) is perfect.
What I learned through all my mistakes, every step of the way, was to keep going with each project until it felt that I’d got it right, according to my own aesthetic sense.
When I get to that feeling, the project IS perfect, in spite of all the imperfections that it took to get it to that point (that no one but me knows are there!).
When we express our unique selves, there can be no comparison, no conforming standard to live up to.
The magical thing that has happened for me as a result of my unique self’s expression through my decor, is that my true self is reflected back to me everywhere I look. In that way, I’ve come to truly know who I am: not perfect; but a unique individual.
I have created my own Standard literally : a seven foot tall mythical standard bearer called the Death Master, carrying a circular banner representing the Unified Field.
I’ve been procrastinating with making a second Standard though, of Kali, the Hindu Goddess, with her necklace of skulls, representing her mentors’ wisdom. I’ve made up a skull necklace out of 12 of my deceased cats’ skulls, glued onto a string of pearls, but I’ve been grappling with how to do her head. I’ve made her shoulders out of wombat thigh bones.
I must get back to it and finish her. She will be about seven foot tall too.
And of course, she’ll be sacred to the memory of my long-gone loved little fur-friends. Hope that’s not too scary for you! ]:]