Are you a Perfectionist

PERFECTIONISM!  Are you a perfectionist and therefore a bit of a control freak? I know I can be and with a strong Virgo trait going through me Perfectionism has at times been my undoing.

I use to think it was a really good trait having ego driven thoughts like “oh wow, look at me I’m so perfect at this or that, I bet everyone will be impressed by that”, but I have learnt since turning 40 (eek 44 this year), that it has at times been by TOTAL undoing, and of course no one cares anyway.

I believe, it isn’t a good or clever way to be at all. Yes it is lovely to actually get something right and it look good, but no one else cares if it is actually PERFECT. What we see as faults in our work, others will see the opposite, or in fact have no thoughts towards it at all. They do not see what we see, they see and feel their own things, have their own insecurities to deal with, and most people don’t have time to think about anyone else’s inner issues. We need to stop worrying about what other people think, they really aren’t thinking about you at all! We need to get over ourselves and stop trying to be perfect, there is no such thing anyway. In fact as I get older I realise that actually no one is worrying about what I think in the slightest, they are all too worried about their own lives, so why do we even worry in the first place?

Perfectionism, is after all just FEAR, a fear of being judged, a fear of people thinking less of us. .Have you ever noticed how happier you are when you simply let go of this fear.
This personality trait can be crippling and can stop you really living a calm, mindful and relaxing life. It can stop you moving forward and accepting change.

I know in the world of art so many people think they can’t do it! Time and time again and at nearly every art class and art workshop offered at the studio in South Tweed, I hear kids and adults saying. ‘Oh look at what I’ve done, its rubbish! Or look at yours, it’s so much better than mine”. Seriously, I hear it every time. The frustration that it doesn’t look as good as the person sitting next to them. Oh the comparison to others is shocking. They judge, judge, and judge themselves. I have had kids getting so upset by comparing themselves to others and hearing them berate themselves, it is so sad to hear. My heart gets tighter every time I hear it. That self-judgement is their own undoing, no one else thinks its rubbish at all, they are all too busy judging their own work and criticising themselves. Sad isn’t it how we do this to ourselves, but we ALL do, do it.

What we need to understand is that it’s not actually us having these thoughts, they are being put there by our ego brain, our left hand brain, if we really stop and listen to what we are saying, we won’t actually believe it. Many times when I have had an attack like this, I have found the best way to deal with it is to stop what I am doing, acknowledge the thoughts, and say to myself “OK, thanks so much for that very unhelpful criticism you have just put in my head, but I actually do not accept or believe those thoughts, so push off, (or words to that effect lol)” without fail every time I have done that, the negative thoughts somehow just disappear. I then take a deep breath and replace those negative thoughts with kind words of love. I try then to find the positives in the work I have just done. I have had to learn this technique over the years and practise and practise it until it became a habit. (However I must add here that it is still a work in progress and I have in no way PERFECTED this technique).

When we have these attacks at ourselves it is our strong left brain, our logical side trying to keep us safe, trying to keep us in our box. Trying to keep us small, it’s all part of our flight or fight system which is so important but sometimes we need to override it and push through and turn it off.

When I hear kids, and adults say their work is rubbish and not perfect (in their own eyes) or that they can’t do it, or, it’s not as good as such and such etc. (we have all at some point said self-berating, unhelpful negative things about ourselves) it gives us all an opening to discuss, why we think these things, and talk it all through with each other. It is so important to ask ourselves questions, to self-reflect and to self-analyse. At the end of each discussion it is my hope that we can all see what’s happening in our inner world, and see that we need to stop trying to be perfect. I use art as therapy a lot in the art classes as a tool to self heal, it is an opportunity to help ourselves in other areas of our lives, and by using art as a vehicle to heal, it can make it so much easier.

I love having beginners in the art classes at south tweed, I love to see them leave feeling relaxed and unwound, I love to see them leaving with their art work under their arm with grins of self-achievement.

It is my strongest desire to help as many people as possible release this need to be perfect and in turn their inner fears. I also have  people who come to the studio that have been painting all their life but are stuck in a creative block and need to let go, they do this by just having fun and messing about with art. They are taught to follow their intuition and approach art in a childlike manner.  It is very empowering.

When we can drop the need to be PERFECT, our lives will flow, It’s in the letting go that our lives move forward in the direction it is meant to go.