Thursday, 10 November 2011

Embracing Imperfection

We are led to believe that perfection is something to strive for, that things - including ourselves often - are not good enough unless they are perfect. I happen to disagree. I've learnt in the last few years that perfection - and the immense pressure it puts us under - is a surefire way to make us feel as though we are underachieving and will, in many cases, prevent us from either enjoying or even completing a task or project.

The high expectations of perfection loom over us in our subconscious mind, whispering doubts of whether our work is good enough to show to someone, exhibit or sell. It holds us back, diminishes our confidence and sabotages our progress. It makes us scared to take the leap of faith required to put ourselves out there in front of the people we want to be seen by. It also removes the fun, the freedom of expression and the joy of the creative process

I recently completed a blanket I had been working on in my spare time whilst watching mindless dvd box-sets - the plan was to use up oddments of yarn left over from various design projects and have something to snuggle under in the long winter months. I took great pleasure in selecting the colours and textures and enjoyed the process of making each and every square. Now, being me, I have a tendency to use haphazard yarn, many were of differing thicknesses and required switching crochet hook sizes in order to obtain the required square dimension. When I came to join the squares up, inevitably some of them needed a little convincing (in a tweaking or stretching kind of way) and in one section I needed to add an entire row of tiny squares to fill a gap. I also noticed that some of the squares had a 3 treble first round while others had a four, which also made it a little tricky to join up 'perfectly'.

At this point I did consider re-doing some of the squares so that they were all with the same amount of stitches and that's when it hit me;  
why would I need to do that? 

Why would I need to make a chore out of this project? Who is going to even notice that some squares have 3 and others have 4 stitches? The Perfection Police are not going to break down my door and arrest me for having made a slightly wonky blanket. I loved the process of making that blanket and I adore the finished result with all its quirks and imperfections. It is unique and it has character. And it is just as gorgeous and toasty warm as it would have been had I concentrated more on it than on watching multiple series' of House! But most of all, I have the sense of achievement that comes hand in hand with completing a project and now I am eager and fired up to begin a new one

Striving for absolute perfection and beating ourselves up when we don't achieve it can seriously put the breaks on our creativity. We loose momentum, motivation and the act of completion. We shelve ideas because we haven't quite got everything we need yet, we hide products from our clients because they are not quite right yet, we push projects to the back of the cupboard never to be finished because we did a few bits wrong and need to un-do or re-do them.

I'm all for doing my best in any given situation on a project and yes, there are times when I will re-do something as it requires greater concentration or accuracy, but gone are the days when I berate myself for not being perfect. I wonder if perfection even really exists?

"imperfect action is better than no action"
Christine Kane

Instead, I celebrate the beauty and uniqueness of imperfection - just like the ancient Japanese wabi sabi masters. I do my genuine best and it is good enough. I enjoy the process of creating and don't mind the odd wonky or uneven stitch... I see it as a charming trait of something handmade by a real person and not a homogeneous, mass produced factory item. I run with the ideas I have and shine my light in the world, rather than waiting until it is 'perfect' before taking action; if a pattern I publish needs tweaking, so be it; if a workshop I organise is not perfect, I make relevant changes to improve it for next time - after all it is much easier to change direction a little once you are in motion, don't you agree?

I intend to investigate the whole wabi sabi concept further - it makes total sense that this theory can influence and release the self sabotage we subject ourselves to in our personal lives too. Imagine the grace and peace that could be achieved when we embrace acceptance and gratitude. I look forward to embarking on that path!

So go ahead, create, express, shine and continue to be imperfectly perfect

Lisa x

{Wonderful Life print by Hairbrained Schemes, blanket photos by Lisa Pocklington for Get Smitten} 

p.s - to explore the potential of your creative business & overcome those imperfection hang-ups that hold you back, sign up for Tara Gentile's Making Motion e-book it's only $8 and worth a whole lot more! (..yes, I am part of her affiliate program but also a huge fan & regular customer!)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Want to comment on this? Go ahead!

Share this post with your friends!

Related Posts with Thumbnails