Practicing not being perfect.

SURPRISE, I’m not perfect.

Eoin Thomas Sharkey, making silly faces with his glasses. one with the glasses in his mouth, the other with it poking into his eye.

(I know, this may come as a shock. I will provide counseling. We’re going to get through this.)

So Firstly, wtf is “perfectionism?”

Perfectionism : noun :: a refusal to accept any standard short of perfection.

And “perfection?”

Perfection : noun :: the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.

okay. awesome. already #triggered.

If we look a little farther back at the origin of the word, it comes from the latin “perficere,” which means “to complete,” or in the sense “completeness.” One could imagine that back in the 1800’s, perfection simply meant that the job is completed. Today, I know for myself that it has this connotation that it has to have been completed a specific way. 

For me, perfection means: completing highly difficult or skillful tasks with ease, joy and consistency.

I say all of this, because I don’t feel perfect right now. I don’t feel free, joyful, or complete. I just feel as if I’d rather not start working on something if I can’t finish it to this magical expectation that I’ve created for myself. In fact, I’d much rather just imagine myself accomplishing these amazingly fantastical goals. Though, it’s thought patterns like these that can send me into depression spells that make me want to curl up into a ball and pretend my problems don’t exist, or better yet, live in that fantasy world of what I WOULD do, IF. 


I’ve begun to realize that both of these places keep me out of action, and they protect me from having to deal with the somewhat harsh reality of adulthood: That not all work is fun. And that not everything I do is going to be recognized or applauded. 

I repeat:  Not all work is fun.

( I know. I don’t want to believe it either. I want a life where every day is

like another episode of The Truman Show: predictable, joyful, and full of camaraderie.)

The reality?

Sometimes I’m running late and can’t find any matching socks.  Sometimes I’m not “in the mood” to finish an assignment. And sometimes the coffee shop is closing in 30 minutes and I don’t have enough time to finish this (accurate). 

I know for me, this idea of needing perfection is a tool that my brain has used to feel comfortable with not accomplishing my goals. It begins to take the blame off of my own actions, and transfers it into the ether. It becomes the world’s fault, society’s fault, this coffee shop’s fault. When, in reality… it’s my fault. And quite frankly, I’d rather live in rage and frustration than acknowledge that I need to work on this pesky habit of mine. 

And that’s the trouble right? To exercise better life habits, I will have to acknowledge that it’s not going to instantly improve. I might not enjoy each step of the way. I might want to give up and curl up into a ball. And eventually, I’m going to have to be okay with leaving my apartment without matching socks and not spend the entire rest of the day mad at myself because of this minute detail. Instead, I will have an opportunity to practice giving myself credit for getting out the door, and encourage myself to try it again tomorrow. 


So, where is this coming from?

Well, I have had this fantastical idea for a while now that I want to create SOMETHING every day. Naturally, today is the day I want to start … and I feel nowhere near ready or complete. I have all these ideas of what I want it to look like, sound like, and do you know what? I’ve decided that it doesn’t need to be perfect, I just need to take a step in the right direction.

In fact, if I did make this new practice appear “perfect” right from the get go, I am depriving myself of being able to see the growth in what a daily practice might bring. And in all reality, if I start with something that is so planned and beautiful, the chances of me being able to live up to that again and again… is well, unrealistic

So, I’m curious to know YOUR thoughts.

What does perfection & perfectionism mean for you? Is there something you want to practice in your life that you’re afraid to start because it may not look “perfect?”

And what if …  you just started anyway?

The Good News?:

You’re not alone.

So, how about we just take this one day at a time…




<3 - Eoin Thomas