So in part 1, I wrote about combatting Comparison with GRATITUDE. Today I want to talk about the the most pernicious creativity thief: Perfectionism. Let's get one thing straight from the get-go. Perfectionism is NOT about doing something well. Perfectionism is not really even about doing something perfectly, though that is the standard definition. No, at the core, Perfectionism is really the FEAR of not doing something perfectly. And it is that fear that kills creativity. Someone who is truly a perfectionist eventually comes to the conclusion that perfect isn't possible and really ceases to function. I know this from personal experience. Perfectionism threatened to stop me in my tracks as an artist, as a wife, as a mom, as an academic, as a person. I spent years in counseling trying to overcome it. I now refer to myself as a Recovering Perfectionist.
Eight years ago, I started a blog as a way to face the fears that drove my perfectionism. It's since morphed and changed into what you know today as Violets & Sunshine. But my first post was an explanation about the difference between Excellence and Perfectionism. You see Excellence motivates our creativity. It keeps us learning and growing. And at the heart of Excellence is GRACE. Here's an excerpt from my very first post:
The difference between excellence and perfectionism is grace. In excellence there is the grace of knowing you have done something to the best of your abilities, the grace to be content in a job done well done (regardless of mistakes made in the process), and the grace to constantly improve, but never fully master. In excellence there is understanding of limitations and permission to try again.
In perfectionism there is no grace. Everything must be done perfectly with no room for improvement and no chance to try again. Where excellence finds joy in the task, perfectionism finds only the cruel, exacting taskmaster. Perfectionism leads to paralysis. If something cannot be done perfectly, it cannot be done at all--and so nothing is done. The painting remains unpainted, the book remains unwritten. The perfectionist remains neutralized by the bonds of guilt for being imperfect and the fear of never attaining perfection all. Every mistake that the person of excellence accepts through grace is a leech that sucks life from the perfectionist's soul.
Perfectionism is deadly to the human heart, soul, and mind.
So there it is. The antidote to Perfectionism is GRACE. Pursue Excellence in your creativity. Keep learning. Keep trying. But give yourself GRACE. Don't compare your talents with other people's, and don't think you have to be perfect. Try new things that push you out of your comfort zone. Nothing cultivates GRACE quite like doing something that you can fail at. And as Rachel said in our chat together, no matter how bad it is, it's only the first layer. That's GRACE!
Until next time, have a fabulously GRACE-filled day full of Creativity!