Following on from last weeks ‘perfect’ retreat here at Les Cerisiers (and I use the word ‘perfect’ advisedly) there has been much reflection and sharing of thoughts between Mark and I and our wonderful new friends across the Atlantic.
Today an interesting blog was forwarded to me penned by Brené Brown http://www.ordinarycourage.com/ on the subject of perfection.
To quote a little of the text:
‘For many years I believed that being my best self meant trying to be perfect. After studying shame, authenticity, and courage for ten years, I realized that I was wrong. Yes, it took that long. I'm hardheaded and I was very invested in being right. Here's what I learned:
Being our best selves is about cultivating the courage to be vulnerable, authentic, and imperfect. Perfectionism, on the other hand, is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame. It's that simple. Perfection is not about healthy striving or being our best, it's how we protect ourselves’.
Brené ends with a rally cry for a protest against perfection: ‘A protest might sound a little dramatic, but in this world, choosing worthiness is an absolute act of resistance! My new battle cry: Authentic and messy is the new perfect!’
As I stirred pumpkin soup in my kitchen, I mulled over the definitions I hold on what perfection is. Perfect- is it something to strive for knowing, as all of us do, that it is something we shall never attain or is ‘perfect’ much simpler than that? Does perfection mean ‘without flaws or faults’ or does it mean (or do we choose it to mean) complete and whole? Perhaps it is more a question of semantics. Without perfection how can we ever be perfectly happy?
I have recently started a series of three minute interviews with tutors and facilitators who come to Les Cerisiers (Karen Ely will be our next star respondent). One of the questions asks for them to describe the elements of a perfect day. No-one has come up with wanting to get out of bed with perfect hair and make up, slip into a size 0 dress then step out onto a perfectly manicured lawn. Ironically, most peoples ‘perfect’ day does not include any element of idealised perfection.
It strikes me that when people (women) talk about wanting to be perfect, they are talking about living up to other people’s ideals and not their own. Learning to be true to yourself, to living an authentic life is, in my humble opinion, what it’s all about. To turn
Brenés first sentence around ‘being perfect means being my best self’ and understanding that we are enough, whole, complete. Perhaps we could have a campaign to proclaim that we’re perfect just as we are?
Here are some perfect friends enjoying the perfect end to the perfect evening in my idea of the perfect venue- just for good measure.