The pursuit of perfection is insidious in our culture. I could write volumes on its negative effect on our lives. But in keeping with the spirit of the letting go project, I want to offer you a short meditation on letting go of perfection.
In my therapy practice, letting go presents itself in this way: “This paper won’t be done until I get an A.” “What’s the use of taking this dead-end job!” “This diet won’t give me the perfect body.” Do you see a theme here? The pursuit of perfection makes us freeze or run away, denying us and those in our world the experience of our best self – not our perfect self – our authentic self. And worst of all, the pursuit of perfection steals the joy from our accomplishments.
Here’s today’s practice – It’s based on the ancient Japanese philosophy of wabi sabi. Wabi sabi is hard to translate, but it is often described as ‘humble beauty’ or ‘imperfect beauty.’ Four main ideas of wabi sabi are:
1. Nothing lasts forever
2. Nothing is perfect
3. Nothing is finished
4. Everything is connected
As usual, take a few breaths before you contemplate the following questions. Make sure you download our free one-page, easy-to-tape-to-your-bathroom-mirror instructions on breathing for letting go.
How does the idea of nothing lasting forever make you feel? Allow it to help you appreciate what you have now in all its imperfection.
How does the idea of nothing being finished make you feel? Allow it to help you see yourself as a work-in-progress, moving toward your best self, not your perfect self.
Let your sense of connection to nature, including your imperfect fellow humans, help you feel a sense of belonging.
How do you let go of perfection and enjoy the present moment? Share your ideas with us. Have an imperfect, unfinished day!
We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!
Wabi Sabi books we like: