The Happiness Connection  

You're perfect!

I used to tell my students I was like Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way.

They would groan and laugh, but I wonder how many of them wished they really were practically perfect.

The idea of being perfect conjures images of sunshine, and rainbows. A perfect person, living a perfect life means nothing ever goes wrong, and you never make mistakes. 

I have a couple of comments about this vision.

First, being perfect isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Friends and family may wonder how I know that, as I am far from perfect. You don’t have to jump off the Empire State Building to know it isn’t a good idea.

Perfectionists pile pressure onto their shoulders. Nothing is ever good enough. It is hard to be happy when you are constantly criticizing your endeavours.

Second, life is designed to have ups and downs, good and bad times, so looking for a perfect life is unrealistic. The pressure you put on yourself to achieve this unattainable level, is more likely to limit your happiness than add to it.

Third, perfectionists often care more about appearing perfect than actually being perfect. It is a great example of the power of smoke and mirrors. You may tell me everything is perfect, I may look at you and imagine that everything is perfect, but that doesn’t mean it really is perfect.

In our culture, an emphasis is placed on achieving goals rather than learning, and growing. How many parents are more concerned with the grades their children bring home, than the skills and lessons they have learned? 

I am here to take back the mirrors, and unplug the smoke machine. If you want to be happier in your life, be proud of your mistakes, and own your less-than-perfect decisions.

You will learn far more from your mistakes than you will from the things you do right the first time. When you do something that needs to be corrected, or learned from, it interrupts your flow through life. 

Interrupters do just that: they grab your attention away from the thought pattern you are engaged in. Our minds are designed to pay more attention to these interruptions.

Working hard to achieve something you're proud of is vastly different than being driven to appear perfect. If you have done your best, and learned from the experience, you will have a surge of happiness. 

If you need to be seen as perfect, you are more likely to stick with activities you know you can do perfectly, rather than pushing yourself to try something more difficult.

It is only in challenging yourself that you will grow. Trying to be perfect means you are less likely to grow and learn new skills than your non-perfectionist counterpart.

Strive for progress rather than perfection. Recognize that by trying new, harder tasks, you will learn more, even if it means making mistakes. 

Learn that good enough has a place in the world. There are times when aiming for perfection is appropriate, but there are also occasions when your time and energy is better spent on another activity. 

No one is perfect, and those who strive to be are inviting unnecessary pressure and disappointment into their lives.

Instead, enjoy being perfectly imperfect.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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