Does this sound familiar? You know you’re hard on yourself; you frequently belittle and second-guess yourself. You didn’t do this right. You forgot to say that. You review prior conversations and practice future ones in your head. You see every gaffe, misstep, and wrong word as an unbearable breach. You sometimes embarrass yourself with an outburst or, even worse, a silence. You hold yourself to exceedingly high standards. You never measure up to your expectations. You expect perfection; you get humanness. And this is a source of great unhappiness for you.
Let’s consider this:
By definition, being human means that we are fallible and capable of making mistakes. We are not impervious to slings and shots. We are not made of steel and concrete; we are magnificently flesh and bone, muscle and tissue. We are sensate beings; we can see, taste, hear, and touch the experiences of life. We can feel. Our humanness is our connective tissue; it’s what connects you with me. It’s why we like comics…they make us laugh at our humanness.
However, being perfect leaves no room for error. Being perfect implies we can’t make a mistake and learn from it. We can’t earn wisdom from our experiences. Perfection does away with the smudges and shadows. There is no room for context, nuance, or compassion. There is no coloring outside the lines with perfection. Perfection calls for a definitive response; you are either perfect or you’re not; there is no in-between. Perfection is linear, very black-and-white, all-or-none. There is no wiggle room in perfect. There is no possibility in perfect.
Mastery, however, offers a whole spectrum of possibilities. It breaks out of the confines of right or wrong, perfect or not perfect, black or white. Mastery invites us to try many different ways. We can build on miscalculations, missteps, and mistakes. Each learning step increases our wisdom and experience. We take ourselves further because we are stretching our thinking and our sphere of possibilities. Mastery breaks us out of the two-dimensional box of perfection; mastery removes the limits. We can raise the roof on all sorts of new creative options and explorations. Mastery invites our perfectly human self to come in and play with all the colors. Creative magic is afoot. And that, my friends, takes us out of the binary and into the multidimensional.