Do you often tell yourself you’ve done something wrong or not good enough?
I hear this from clients. “I didn’t get quiet enough for my meditation.” “I’m not sure if what I heard from the animal was accurate.” “I wish I had done this differently.” I didn’t ….you fill in the blank.
I get it.
I used to be a perfectionist. My goal was to be as good and perfect at whatever I did as anyone could possibly be. I must be the best. If I didn’t accomplish my goal as planned I would be disappointed in myself.
It was exhausting and deflating.
After all we are not perfect. None of us. Ever.
One day I decided to view my life as one big experiment.
A scientific experiment is set up to measure what happens when certain variables are in place. A good scientific experiment is not dependent on the outcome but the information that is gleaned from the process. A good scientist is not attached to the outcome.
So each time I try something no matter the results, they are okay…they are the results of my experiment. What I take away from the process is what I have learned, not what I have accomplished.
This takes a lot of pressure off me to attain a certain level of achievement or some other specific outcome.
I don’t fail.
I don’t get it wrong.
I just experiment and play with the outcomes often creating something I might never have thought of in my otherwise rigid mindset. That’s the beauty of this system…you begin to see all the alternate possibilities rather than be tied to one specific outcome.
I sat down to meditation as I thought about this and a little field mouse showed up. She had beautiful brown eyes and a very wiggly nose. I know some people are a bit freaked out by mice but I have always thought they were cute…except when they begin to scavenge through the contents of my cupboards. Then they are not so cute.
This little mouse showed me all the many things she can use to construct a nest. She tries them all, insulation, wood, paper, cloth, hay, fur, styrofoam, etc. She experiments until she gets it just how she likes it. Finding a warm spot is also on her mind these days. When the leaves start to fall and the days get shorter she knows it is time to find an indoor place (that’s her preference, not an absolute need) to live. She shared with me that she looks for hidden spots away from predators and with this process she experiments too. She keeps looking for places where she can work her way into a house or barn that is kept warm. She doesn’t have a specific outcome in mind. She doesn’t get disappointed in herself. She just keeps looking until she finds what works.
Hmmm, her life is an experiment too.
What I have noticed since I began this view of life as an experiment is that life is more fun. It’s not as scary because I’m not looking at success or failure as my only options. There is just what happens…and what I can learn from it.
Now I get more ideas for my work because I am trying more options. My creativity is increasing because I have taken the pressure off.
Is my perfectionism gone? No, it still creeps back in. And then I remember life is an experiment; I am a scientist trying many hypothesis and every day I am learning.
From a spiritual perspective, I think that we are here to experience what life has to offer and to be open to all the possibilities. We don’t need to be on a fast track to perfection. Perfection doesn’t exist in the human form as we define it so if we are still in human form…we are still imperfect. And that’s just perfect.