Practicing Growth: Why Perfection Should NOT Be Your Ultimate Goal

What is perfection anyway?

I have been reading about Teresa of Avila, a Carmelite nun in the 1500’s and a great mystic of our time.  She believed that the goal should not be perfection, but practice and self-compassion.  Imagine what our world might look like if we held practice as the goal instead of perfection.  Isn’t it true that we are actually perfect at every moment in time the way we naturally are?  Perfection is not a single ideal.  Perfection means allowing ourselves to be who we are and do what is right for us and others in the service of love and compassion, so it looks unique to each individual.  How strange that in our culture we have adopted a belief that perfection is a specific way of doing and being.

Practice is about becoming, evolving and allowing change and flow.  It is an active tool that cultivates balance, objectivity and discernment. Practice also builds discipline, stamina and commitment.   Just as when we practice a particular art or sport, it takes practice to master certain skills before we can move on to the next technique.  It allows space for reflection so we can develop wisdom.

Here are three questions to consider:

  1. What practice can you adopt that will begin to reveal your authentic self and position you to grow?
  2. What is something you want to learn about but haven’t?
  3. What one small step can you take today to put that in motion?

I invite you to observe how you get caught in the idea of perfection. Then ask yourself what would help you focus on your practice and the journey, instead of reaching an idea of perfection.  Just thinking about it may relax you and allow you greater acceptance of who you are and what you are experiencing in your life.

Be Happy,