“Healthy striving is self-focused: ‘How can I improve?’ Perfectionism is other-focused: ‘What will they think?’”
Brené Brown writes this in her revolutionary book, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.
This quote changed the way I think about human qualities. Once I figured out that perfection was based on outside factors, everything made sense. That’s why it’s so unattainable, that’s why it’s so far away. Perfection is not even an idea created by real people; it has been pushed up and up, higher and higher by a society wanting you to be prettier, richer, and shinier than anyone can even be. It’s fabricated on a fake, well-proportioned weaving. It’s based on the fact that you will never be that, you will never get there, you will forever be ten steps behind. You will forever be not enough.
What an unhealthy way to live your life. To think you are not enough. Always.
On the other hand, self-improvement is based on inside factors. My own factors. Rather than wanting to be like something outside of me, self-improvement focuses on how I can amp up my patient and compassionate qualities while softening my jealousy and selfishness. It forces me to face myself and only myself. In this way, I have already improved, and will improve more. In this way, I am already enough; I just am shifting what enough means.
I’d much rather be already complete than never enough.
What about you?