“The need to be Perfect comes from the belief that one is Imperfect.”
Defining A Perfectionist
The ideas of right and wrong is the game that we all play.
We all carry ideas of right and wrong so we are all perfectionists to a degree.
But the desire to be perfect can bring suffering states of mind when one becomes attached to the ideas of what is right and wrong.
This article is more about addressing such Suffering states of Mind. There is nothing wrong with being a perfectionist about having ideas, opinions, etc. in life, but the Suffering State of Mind must be addressed if one wishes to develop greater happiness in life.
Perfectionist In Depth
It is natural that we all have our own ideas of right and wrong as we are all unique individuals with different personalities and outlooks on life.
However, when we become attached to the Ideas of right and wrong, we can begin to Reject and React negatively to people who are different to us. When we experience these negativities within it can make us fall into an unnatural state of thinking that it is not natural for people to have their own ideas because only certain ideas can be right and wrong.
Not only will this have a negative impact on our relationships with other people but it will also have a negative impact on the relationship we have with ourselves. Because to the deeper mind there is really only One Self. So in criticizing others, we are in fact criticizing ourselves. In setting conditions on how we should love others, it only reflects the way in which we set conditions on when and how we should love ourselves too.
Thus when one is attached to these ideas it becomes difficult to accept one another for having different ideas. It can make it difficult for us to love ourselves and others unconditionally. It is only when the attachment to these ideas are released that then we can build healthier and happier relationships with ourselves and each other.
Importance Of Addressing Being A Perfectionist
Although the desire to be perfect can drive to Self-Improve through self-criticism, when it is done out of attachment, it will only take us on a journey of self-criticism and unhappiness.
Being a Perfectionist can actually limit one's creativity greatly because there will be a fear of not being “perfect” when one is attached to such Ideas. Fears will always impede the flow of creativity.
A perfectionist can also find oneself dwelling in the state of intellectualising whether or not they are living the right way. The Ideas of Perfection thus can exacerbate the state of self-doubt if one lacks Self-Belief.
In terms of relationships, one can also be driven to associate themselves with only people that they find "worthy." And this can also create fears within of being viewed as unworthy by others if one falls out of their "perfect" image. The fears of being judged thus can push onesel to put a lot of effort into one's appearance or talent.
Ideas of Perfection can also over-stimulate the mind through imagining a better "more perfect" reality. This can create a very ungrounded state which can cause a variety of health problems because when one is not down to earth, one can become easily unsettled and become overly-sensitive to other people's words.
As one releases oneself out of the Ideas of perfection one will be able to find more space in the mind to think and express The Self as is rather than constantly being in the thought of thinking what one should be.
Path Of Creator
Perfectionist In Relation To The Path Of Creator
Right and Wrong are just ideas which are ever-changing as its definition will differ from mind to mind.
However, with attachment these these ideas can be taken to the extreme and the Suffering States of Mind can be experienced when other people do not think the same way.
We are all perfectionists to a degree, and when we become attached to the Ideas of Perfection it can drive us to control and impose our ideas of right and wrong on people and things around us.
The journey begins with the understanding that right and wrong are just ideas which are unique to each different mind. On the level of personality there is no such thing as absolute truth as these Truths are distorted and always changing, but this fact can be very unsettling to Perfectionists as would believe that only certain ideas are absolutely right.
However there is an universal truth that all would have to agree, which is that the greater Self-Acceptance we develop within the greater happiness one will experience. So happiness will never be about how much “Perfect Things, Perfect Ideas, Perfect personality / appearance and so forth one has but rather how much one can accept all there is including oneself.
Thus realize that the road of Perfection and the Road to Happiness are two very different roads – the former will take one down on the road of Self-Rejection i.e Rejecting The parts of the Self which is not Perfect thus it is a path full of Suffering and the latter is about Accepting all parts of the Self as Perfect.
The journey thus is about letting go of our ideas of right and wrong, but not in the sense that we eventually lose ourselves, but rather to release the outer shell which is the Personality so that we can find the Deeper Self within. And this is done through the State of Acceptance rather than the state of Rejection.
From the perspective of Self-Improvement, Self-Transformation is about improving ourselves out of the desire to refine who we already are, rather than to improve ourselves out of criticism of who we are. Different intentions will yield different results.
The journey that one takes within to address the issues of Perfection will be challenging; filled with darkness and confusion, of figuring out just which part of ourselves is a true reflection of our soul. To alleviate this confusion, simply focus on walking forwards on the Path and this is done through the practice of Two-Way acceptance, which is the practice of directing acceptance not only at oneself but also at the other selves. Or simply focus on working on one's suffering states of the mind, especially the areas to do with Self-Criticism.
The destination is to reach a state of mind where we can accept others and ourselves for who we are unconditionally, even if we don't appear "Perfect."
At The Idea Level
Let us look at some of the Negative Ideas that can promote the Ideas of Perfection within the consciousness.
A Possible Negative Mental Declaration
"It is not ok to not to be the best"
--->I reject myself and others when I am/they not the best
= There will be fear when I appear not the best because it is not ok.
The following is the positive declaration.
"It is ok to not to be the best"
--->I accept myself and others when I am/they are not the best
= There will be acceptance when I am not the best because it is ok.
For the mind which carries the negative declaration, the person will tend to judge critically at oneself and others when one underperforms or do not deliver an "outstanding" performance of oneself. This can create a lot of negative emotions directed at the self such as judgement, guilt and regret.
The transition towards the positive declaration begins when one encounters enough experiences to realize that such ideas is not worth holding because all it does is bring suffering.
For the mind which carries the positive declaration is a person who has reached a state of internal and external acceptance. Here one no longer tries to be the best out of fear of not being perfect, but rather out of love of themselves no matter if they perform well or not. The state of mind when one tries to improve is no longer one of criticism but one of encouragement. Same actions, but different experience.
The journey can be balanced also through moving also towards the opposite declaration
"It is ok to be the best"
Develop Experienced Knowledge
Every time you find yourself pushing yourself to do better, to improve, to achieve some goals and so forth, question yourself,
“Am I doing this out of Fear that I am not good enough?”
“Am I doing this out of Love of wanting to grow more?”
If you cannot let go of the Ideas of improvement then there will be Negative Ideas which will need to be addressed from within. So to test whether or not there is attachment, one can test if ceasing the activities of improving oneself will create any Sufferings from within. If it does, then there are internal issues to be addressed.
The Creator's Meditation / VipassanaLink here
Every time you find yourself criticising yourself that you are not “meditating” perfectly or when you have done something “Wrong” in the meditation, do your best to simply forgive yourself and move on.
Through the practice you will be able to develop the power to release the suffering attachments towards the Ideas of Right and Wrong in not only the practice but also in everyday life.
Know and Transform The Self!
Try the 10 Day One-Self Catalyst to realize that you are already perfect, and that all you need to do is to release the Negative Beliefs towards yourself within.
In this course you will be taken to uncover your deepest Negative Beliefs so you can transform them into greater happiness at the deepest level of the mind.