Since as long as I can remember, I have found myself beating myself up about projects that are not as good as I’d envisioned or times where I have stalled myself in progress on growth and awareness, or instances where I have questioned my self worth based on other people’s measure of perfection and how I compared myself to this.
I could blame the media; I could blame my upbringing; or maybe my education or many other potential root causes but the other day I learned the real truth.
The real culprit and trickster in this story of deception and misinformation is Webster.
I am pretty certain Webster did not intend to affect the millions who suffer from the curse of perfectionism. It was never his intent to be the root cause of panic attacks and depression. It was not even Webster’s plan to create a frenzy of commercialism in the media based on his concept. In fact I believe the whole thing has been a great mistake rather than a con to help sell products and workshops.
Websters big mistake was a simple error in translation back in the 19th century.
I came across this truth during a lovely visit with a friend the other day. Our conversations quite often lead to light philosophical topics and this time the whole subject of Perfection came up as we both suffer from the dreaded consequences of Perfectionism.
He had made a discovery, through the influences of modern technology, of an article that touched on this topic and happened to bring it up over tea. My interest was peaked and I felt that familiar tingle I get when my creative energy flows without blocks. I listened and in short order took out my notebook and began to jot down a few ideas. Next he passed me his phone, the screen of which now showed the page in the book that Webster influenced and my excitement and release of old beliefs grew as I read deeper into the definition.
Proof was staring me in the face. Facts that had been overlooked in the name of brevity or reduced to sub notes to the acceptance of more the commonly used understanding of the word.
We have always been taught, because of what always came up first in the dictionary on this topic, that perfection is something that we need to aspire to example:
In fact… Perfection is not about making something flawless in one shot, or not having blemishes or anything like this. As I read further down the list in the definition I was offered freedom and liberation and experienced a nearly instant healing of old pattern and beliefs. A great sigh of release escaped me as I read the following additional, and what I believe “truth” of this word:
[C13: from Latin perfectus, from perficere to perform, from per through + facere to do]
So simple! TO DO!
Perfection is not about making it perfect… it is simply doing… it is about the Now and not about what it could be… each moment everything is just as it is supposed to be because nothing can be anything but what it is now. That includes your journey, your body, your thought, your projects… just do… just be and experience the release this idea has brought me. I hope you feel a similar healing.
*Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (G & C. Merriam Co., 1913, edited by Noah Porter) was provided by Patrick Cassidy of MICRA, Inc., Plainfield, NJ, USA, who also provided ARTFL’s version of Roget’s Thesaurus. An earlier version of the complete text of the dictionary is available at Project Gutenberg.