“The forest would be sad if only the birds that sang best, sang.” - Unknown

To feel imperfect: to feel deficient or faulty in some way

There are many, many reasons why people don’t move forward with their lives and, for the most part it, comes down to fear of something.
The fear of not being perfect and not meeting others’ expectations of you actually has more to do with ‘you’ than ‘them’. One big fear when speaking in front of others is that this might be a completely new experience , something untried and untested, which leaves the door open to the possibility of error – something unthinkable for the person who fears imperfection.
If the fear of imperfection resides within you, the best way of dealing with it is to step outside yourself and try to pretend that you are “the others” looking at your the efforts and actions . Take a few moments to reflect on the idea that if you saw a friend doing what you are so afraid of doing, would feel it appropriate to criticise or ridicule him or her? Do you think you might see them as flawed in some way if something went a little bit wrong? I’m fairly confident that you wouldn’t. In fact, you’d probably feel a greater empathy for them because you know the pressure they are under. When you focus too much on a perfect end result, you tend to get tunnel vision and see only the potential catastrophe, which is the thing that ignites the fear of imperfection and then its friends – the nausea, spinning head, the trembling legs - are all there to fan the flames. What you don’t see are all the great efforts you have made along the way, and the successes you have had. If you stay centered at all times, enjoying the process, the end result you want will seem much more viable.
It is one thing to like to do things well; it is quite another to become obsessed with this idea to the point where the slightest hint of imperfection triggers physical symptoms which make life intolerable. If you recognise any of this inside yourself, use every method you have at your disposal to fight against it. If you stop judging yourself, you’ll soon discover that any negative opinions from others won’t trouble you.
Take the example of Peter who is dreading making a speech at his daughter’s wedding. Peter is fifty-seven and a father of three daughters. He is attractive, highly intelligent and a very talented individual. However, he sets high standards of perfection for himself and very often for others. This level of perfection is impossible to reach.

Peter’s eldest daughter will shortly be getting married and as the wedding date draws closer Peter is becoming extremely agitated at the thought of making a speech at the reception. As he has three daughters, this is unlikely to be a one-off event. Every time he thinks about standing up in front of the two hundred guests, his stomach turns somersaults and his palms go all sweaty. “If I’m like this now, what on earth will I be like on the day?” he is constantly saying to himself. The fear of failing or disappointing others is disrupting his ability to function in this and other areas of his life. It has become all-consuming for him. As a result he is sleeping badly.
Peter is a perfectionist in everything that he does. He is driven and is highly competitive in business and at sport, so much so that he is the butt of family jokes with regard to his need to have everything neatly ordered or everything arranged and organised well ahead of time. That said, he just can’t bring himself to sit down and write the speech. He loves his daughter and is desperate not to let her down on her special day by making a less than perfect speech. It isn’t the content that worries him, as much as the fear of standing up and, with all faces turned towards him, stumbling over his well chosen words, all the world seeing his trembling hands as he holds his papers in front of him or, worse still, collapsing onto the table. He is constantly running through these scenarios night and day. Of course, the more he visualises these “disasters”, the more real they are becoming.

Perhaps you’ve identified yourself as holding a fear of being less than perfect. Choose now to be “good enough” and use these activities from my techniques toolbox to help you overcome your fear of imperfection and see events from a difference perspective.

Gratitude has long been thought to be essential to our spiritual well being. When you are grateful, your energy is positive and harmonious. This then attracts more good, positive things into your life. The opposite is resistance and this occurs when your focus is on what you consider should not be happening to you. If you can start to operate out of gratitude you begin to focus less on things that you had previously perceived as negative. For example, if you get a fortnight’s rain while on holiday, you may see it as negative at the outset but them you start to see it as an opportunity to read some of the books you have had piling up. A person who operates out of resistance listens to negative self talk and reacts accordingly. This person may perceive the rainy two weeks as something highly personal, as if he had been specifically targeted. Feeling gratitude is out of the question for this individual.

To remind you to be grateful try to discipline yourself to do one or more of the following on a regular basis:

Each day make a mental list of all the things that you are grateful for. You might be driving to work and all the traffic lights are in your favour – be grateful. Someone gives you their place in the supermarket queue because you have only two items and they have a whole cartful – be grateful. You see your child’s smile – be grateful. You can incorporate these into your meditation time if you are a meditator.

Keep a gratitude diary. This follows on from the above but here you write down all the things you are grateful for.

Another nice thing to do is to collect small objects, each of which represents something for which you are grateful. Place these where you can see them and re-visit the feeling of gratitude each time you look at one or all of them.

It is our perception that gives each life experience the good or bad label, the happy or sad label, the positive or negative label. Our perceptions can mislead us in that they colour our experiences. The only reality we experience is the one in our heads.

Author's Bio: 

Vivien McKnight is a life and creativity coach living on the Mediterranean coast of Spain and dividing her time between UK and Spain. When once asked “What would you most like to know about yourself?” she replied “I would like to know what I am capable of doing, what I can really achieve.” She uses that same question to get others to search inside themselves for answers. Vivien works with groups and individuals in UK and in Spain. You can contact her at vivienmcknight@gmail.com or visit her website www.vivienmcknight.com