I made a last-minute change to my planned post theme today. I’ve spent most of the weekend painting the office I use with my daughter (we playfully call it our office though that’s a little grandiose for what is essentially a spare bedroom which houses desks, bookshelves and our musical instruments). It’s needed decorating for a while and now seemed an appropriate time given that we recently had new units installed late last year.
I should have been happy upon completing this but instead I was cheesed off. Really cheesed off in fact. The reason being that the little imperfections I spotted annoyed me. There are a couple of places where I didn’t notice the paint running slightly until it had dried. There are a couple of places where I’ve removed masking tape and there are miniscule gaps between the edge of the paintwork and the shelving. There are a couple of places where the paint work isn’t perfectly smooth.
In a pretty foul mood, and doubting my own ability whilst wondering if I should have got an expert in to decorate the room, I ate some food then took a shower. Whilst doing this (isn’t the shower a great place for sensible thinking?), I thought about my blog post from last week, where I wrote about trying to change my thought processes. I recognised that the perfectionist in me is doing me more harm than good. I walked back into the room and realised that it actually looks pretty good; certainly a huge improvement on how it was previously. I realised that the casual observer walking in there would likely say the same. I realised that the imperfections are actually miniscule and would only really be noticed by someone going in there with prior knowledge of them.
What I realised most of all is that imperfection is all around us. It is the norm. All of us rarely, if ever, achieve perfection. This certainly applies to many aspects of my life, whether they be decorating, playing live music, writing, my job, my quest to shed excess fat, my role as a father and a husband, and many more examples. None of us are perfect and we should recognise that striving for perfection can actually be damaging to our mental health. I instantly felt much better and content when viewing the situation in this way. The room isn’t perfect but it certainly isn’t a disaster and is way better than it was previously. That is certainly enough to please me right now. Thinking about other examples of this, I’ve made mistakes in just about every live music gig I’ve played but no-one watching has ever honed in on that; quite the opposite in fact. Most days on the commute home from work I pick out moments from the day that I could have addressed better, though I try to learn from them rather than beat myself up. We’re only human. Not only are imperfections commonplace, but we should actually embrace them. They remind us that we’re normal. They remind us that none of us are perfect. They remind us that we live in an imperfect world and perhaps we’re not doing as badly at this thing called life as we may sometimes think we are.
Thanks for reading, take care and embrace your imperfections and those of the people you love and care for.
Good topic Mick, i dont view myself as a perfectionist but when im hard on myself, usually over a work topic My mantra quite often is ‘close enough is good enough
Thanks Alison. Couldn’t agree more – that’s a fine mantra.