How to be more human and less perfect

How to be more human and less perfect

Aus addiction to perfection: “To strive for perfection is to kill love because perfection does not recognise humanity.” – Marion Woodmann

Perfectionism is a soul-crushing, life sucking, joy-flattening -ism.

When someone I date or work for tells me they’re a perfectionist – I run.

I didn’t always. Following its agenda when I was younger, I developed an eating disorder, an exercise addiction, shame for not being the perfect human being, shame for not being beautiful enough, shame, shame and maybe shame.

Perfectionism runs deep and since it has infected so many of us, we don’t question it often enough.

It deprives us of our humanity and denies us the celebration and light-heartedness we seek. It ridicules the colourful mistakes and natural flaws we contain as a human being. When we follow perfectionistic standards, anything other than perfect must be compensated with lying, harder work, better behaviour, better moral standards and still – this is the hell of it – won’t be good enough because “good enough” isn’t perfect.

It isn’t all bad, I suppose.

Perfectionism has brought us the technical evolution we see today but it has also stripped us of natural, compassionate human interaction with others and ourselves. Our focus isn’t the human being, but their mistakes and as a result we treat them coldly, kinda like we treat the internet when it stops working for a minute.

Within perfectionism – our work conversations sound cold and empty because any trace of human character is seen as “unprofessional”. In our relationships we hold each other to ridiculous standards that we cannot fulfil and must eventually disappoint. Our body will never the way it should be, it’ll always need tweaking and changing to finally please us perfectly.

It goes without saying that this monster needs to be caught and put in its place.

For this we need to shift in our priorities: Humanity, joy, feeling and compassion over perfectionism, appearance and control.

We have to change from mind-only- to mind-body connection.

This has to be a choice each of us can make.

Here is a way to practice this shift:

  1. Notice when perfectionism shows up.
  2. Where in your body does it show up? How does it feel when it shows up? (For example: a tightening of the throat, a cramping of the heart etc.)
  3. Sit with it for a moment while accessing curiosity and compassion.
  4. Then take it out of your body and put it in front of you (You can set up a chair in front of you and let it “sit” there).
  5. Then ask it the following questions: What are you protecting me from? What do you think happens if this does not turn out to be perfect? What is the worst case? (Let all answers arise naturally, you can receive the answers) What has to happen in order for it to loosen its grip? When you’re done asking and listening thank it and let it return to where it wants to return to. Maybe the same spot or it wants to take a different shape or place.
  6. Then ask yourself: What would bring me joy in this moment?
  7. Go and do that – full permission!


How come perfectionism has such power? Because its driving force is the most cunning: fear.

The fear to be seen as a flawed human being. The fear to be cancelled, to count as unprofessional, to receive the stamp of “not good enough”, to remain unloved and invisible.

It’s not easy to withdraw from this monster, not easy to break up with its agenda because it promises are sweet. “Once I’m perfect, I’ll be whole” “Once I’m perfect, I’ll be loved/famous/successful/beautiful.” “Once I’m perfect I am … (fill in your own).”

But the standards in all areas of our life are commonly too high. We have set the bar beyond reach and without the enormously loaded benefits that “perfect” claims to fulfil there would be no motivation in anyone to reach them.

Perfectionism is the enemy of bigger dreams and true connection: We don’t start unless it’s guaranteed to be perfect and we don’t finish unless it’s perfect; we can’t love unless they’re perfect, we can’t be loved unless we’re perfect.

It’s a loss. All in all.

So besides shifting priorities, we have to fall in love with the process, with the mistakes and flaws we, our work and other contain.

For this you can ask yourself:

  1. Where do I hold on to the outcome that I can’t enjoy the process?
  2. Where am I holding off because I am afraid it/I won’t be good enough?
  3. Where am I trying to appear perfect instead of revealing what I really think/feel or how I really am?

Since nothing is entirely bad, so does perfectionism have its place. Seen for what it is, consciously directed and framed within healthy boundaries it can provide us with the necessary drive to finish our projects and be proud of them without being burnt out.

That being said, in my opinion, it has no place in relationships, appearance, or body-image or art or dance or processes that involve the soul. This is a mask we should all refuse to wear. From now on.

Here’s the catch: Should we take it off we’ll feel vulnerable, exposed and open. We can see this as the good sign it is. This is the only way we choose the soul of humanity, the health of our body and the pleasure of our joy over approval, hiding and impossible standards.

How does perfectionsim limit your expansion?

With love,

Jenny Felicitas


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