As I write this, I’m writing a plea to myself. I’m asking myself to rise up and overcome the very thing that has overcome me lately – the need for perfection.
The need for perfection paralyzes me most days and whispers words in my ear that I take as truth and turn into labels for my life.
Because I’m paralyzed by the need to be perfect, to do all the things, to accomplish the very tall dreams and goals I set for myself… because I’m paralyzed, I do very little. And perfection looks down and calls me things like “unmotivated,” “lazy,” “unqualified,” “not up for it.”
It asks me who do I even think I am? Did I really think those dreams were attainable? I mean, have I ever met myself?
And I listen. I feel like I’ll never rise up.
As women, as humans, don’t we all constantly fight this ambiguous need to be perfect? If pressed, could any of us even define it?
Where does it begin? At what point in our lives does this “perfection” see us, notice us, say “you’re not getting away,” and pounce?
It doesn’t begin within ourselves. It comes from outside – from expectations, from responsibilities, from the desire to become what others think we should be. The problem, there, isn’t in those expectations or responsibilities themselves, it’s in the way so many of us internalize it.
Many of us are driven by the need to make others happy. So much so, we often never learn what it means or what it feels like to be driven by our own desires, goals and needs. So we take those external expectations as rules for living, and the happiness of others as an indicator of performance.
“I must be doing something right,” we say when we see a smile. And we forget to take note of what we feel inside.
Or worse, we learn to ignore it altogether.
The most important step in overcoming this need for perfection is to first believe wholeheartedly in the purpose, beauty and glory that is in our own personal calling. We are not on this earth to make others happy or to live up to any standard but the one defined in our heart and soul, the one given to us when we were crafted and formed.
No one can see our purpose but our own hearts. No one can tell us why we’re here but our own soul and the One who created it.
Fighting perfection means fighting the noise – the suggestions, the opinions, the expectations. It means tuning into our own beating hearts, and maybe listening to it for the first time.
What is it saying? What is it aching for, longing for? Whatever it says, we must commit to believing it 100%, no questions asked.
You were born with a very unique purpose. And no one can reveal that to you but the One who made you, and He’s already whispered it into your heart. You just have to listen.
Seek that purpose deeply – hear, believe, and run with passion.
When we allow ourselves to feel passionate about our own calling, we can truly begin dreaming and setting goals we actually desire to achieve. However, it’s so important (I’m learning) to map out very small, achievable steps to accomplish along the way.
We must create small and attainable “wins” out of the steps to reaching our goals, and celebrate those wins when we tackle them.
It’s so important to show ourselves our accomplishments, to hang them on our own fridge and allow ourselves to feel the pride in following our own passions.
Passion is a beautiful thing to cultivate in our hearts, to allow it to run wild. Where passion flourishes, perfection hides. Where passion grows, the need for perfection fades away.
Perfection just can’t match passion.
Passion leads where perfection pulls and strains. Where perfection judges and measures and find us lacking, passion only dreams, runs, plays and sees opportunity.
Perfection, most importantly of all, follows. Passion leads. And our world needs leaders now more than ever.
As we shed perfection and chase after our passions wholeheartedly, we must devote ourselves to raising up new leaders as well.
What is the point of finding freedom from perfection and embracing the liberty passion brings if we are the only ones feeling it?
Our job in our newfound passion is to recognize, seek and speak life into the passions of others – even when they don’t see it themselves yet.
As we walk in this online and world, as we interact with others in our day-to-day life, as we navigate the social sphere, we must be intentional in showing our passion, spreading light, and speaking life into everyone we touch.
We have to constantly live in our passions while remembering where we once were so we can serve others with the passion we now have in the place that they’re at.
Cultivate compassion, pair it with passion, and lead others to do the same.
The definition of perfection looks different for all of us. We can define it any way we’d like, but at its core there is no substance. Perfection is nothing, and that is why we can never attain it, meet it or exceed it.
Passion, however, shows us opportunities that align with our purpose – opportunities that only grow and evolve with each passing year, not stagnant expectations we must achieve.
As we grow in passion, in compassion, in leadership and in life-giving purpose, let’s allow ourselves to dream without restrictions or constraints. Perfection is the culprit of restrictions, and we are free to create, lead and grow without borders.
Perfection sets the bar we try to live up to. Passion opens the door and says, “this life is your life. Now where do you want to go next?”
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