When Things Get So Pretty…They’re Ugly


It’s regarded as a praiseworthy quality, a characteristic that increases our value in performance arenas, from work to school to creative endeavors. But the truth is perfectionism is just “bedazzled fear,” responsible for the murder of creativity, of joy, and of full expression, all of which require a letting go to the risky unknown.

Perfectionism urges us to get things just right before we start that business, have that baby, buy that bathing suit, publish that book, or just invite that friend over for coffee. It keeps our children from speaking up, trying out, or from trying again. It lies to us, and tells us that if we can set things just right we will experience freedom.

But the opposite is true. Perfectionism is never satisfied. There will always be something out of order through its lens, and it will always whisper fear-based nothings into our respective ears if we let it. LET GO, and your experience of life will be gloriously imperfect, yet paradoxically, more PERFECT than it ever has been before.

This week I am challenging myself to identify areas in which I can let go against the insistence of perfectionism that things must be just so, for life to be just right. When my kids pose challenges to my loftiest expectations (as they are beautifully brilliant at doing), I choose love and freedom over the suffocating grip of perfection.

It poses as a badge of honor and points to societal confirmation as proof of its value. But perfectionism is a pretty little thief that will rob us of what we seek most: peace, love, joy, and full self-expression.

Can you identify this lie at play in your own life? In the lives of the kids in your life? Shine the light of love on perfectionism. Remove the embellishments, and let go of the lie that this brand of fear serves our best.

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