Trying to be perfect is trying to do nothing. There is no way, in any instance, to have more practice than you have or have studied more than you have and no way to control the intensity or clarity of focus you can achieve in any one action. Practice and study can lead to excellence but they can not create perfection and certainly can not make you perfect.
I had my stint with perfectionism when I was around 11 years old. I was going to get perfect grades. After a short while I found that I could not perform at all. It was just too much work to check my answers over and over. Really, I was trying to get my parents attention. Education seemed so important to them. I did not succeed in impressing them and I could not think of any other way to involve my parents in my life. I felt helpless.
I think it was the expression of the feeling of helplessness that bothered me in our perfectionism conversation,
At 11, I was on the brink of adolescence, the threshold of post-biological development. I was ready to learn subtle skills and practice subtle perception. These things were not taught or reinforced at home or at school. So, I tried to create, in the physical world, using the skills to concrete operations – and exercise in ineffective manipulation. I know many people who perfecionistically manipulatied the images of their lives and were considered very successful. They, however, felt phony and inauthentic and it was a very painful success for them.
When I was 30, my favorite art teacher taught me about ‘creative Process’, the subtle structure underlying all achievement. First he taught me to stop trying to control things. Then he taught me some efficient and rather simple skills that fed the ‘creative Process’ and that Process has been the author of every work of art I sign my name to. I was freed from the misery of perfectionism and found great joy in what became ‘my passion’.
At the age of maturity (18-21) we cross a threshold into a new and more powerful state of attention than the physical one we lived in as children. We become full participants in the creative Process but we must use our subtle senses, primarily emotion and intuition, to engage the Process of self-realization. The perfectionist tends to mute his feelings and thinks intuition is for psychics and stage magicians. Perfectionism may make you a master of the past, for a while, but learning to trust yourself opens the door to truly living and loving.
As a Pure Awareness coach, I can teach (and use) the techniques that feed the developmental ‘creative Process’. That Process is the author of all that we truly achieve and produce and connects us to Pure Awareness, the Source of all.
These techniques can vaporize perfectionism and restore us to our true selves. Only the unified ‘Whole’ is perfect and the pieces of that ‘Whole’ perfectly intertwined in relationship. Peace and joy, not stress and pain, are the true experience of ‘Perfection’.