just some words about cultural tourism
Everything must be perfect; everything should go well, everything MUST – MUST – MUST go Well with the Big W. After 25.5 years of life I have just recently came to the conclusion that this is not true (at least not for me). Besides everything that the Netherlands has taught me, a year outside of this country showed me what it is all about: Everything does NOT have to be perfect. Finally I can get satisfaction from the non-perfect, and I think this is even more enjoyable than the perfect.
Striving for perfection is like a smooth wall climbing: it doesn’t matter how high you try to get; you will never succeed. In addition, you’ll always have the horrible feeling that you are doing something wrong. The peak (or rather low point?) of perfectionism: you’re not doing anything anymore because you know it will never be as perfect as you want it to be.
Perhaps you’ll say “what on Earth is she writing about”. But I know better. Since childhood and I have been obsessed with perfection. Food on my plate and written letters, decorating my house and activities during free time and holidays. Everything had to be perfect. Many people warned me, but I would not listen. I would became insanely angry when they would tell me that I was taking control again. That was definitely not true! Later, when on job interviews and being asked to negative characteristics, my perfectionism was always the downside – although it also has positive aspects. On weak and emotional moments it always turned into something negative, at times in such a way that I’d better didn’t do anything anymore.
But then the moment arrives when you live somewhere else. Not just for a moment: somewhere else became your new home. Let me tell you that I never ever want to go back to the way I lived before I arrived abroad. Finally I understand the indescribable feeling I’ve always have had when seeing Dutch ground from out of the air, everything is perfect! From the infrastructure to the pre-packed bread you buy at the local bakery. Here, perfectionism is seen as something positive because it brings structure in your life. However, this fantastic characteristic has a downside: it opens up a space for obsession, exactly because of this structure. In situations where it would have been way better to know how to let go, it feels so good to hold on to something solid: perfection. Which eventually turns out to be a fairy tale, as achieving perfection as outlined in ‘the West’ does not exist. On the contrary, perfection is there to put a limit to the perfect, and to be happy with what you have and with what you achieve. This doesn’t mean you cannot do your best. No, it’s about being satisfied with what you did your best for. It may begin with something so small: that drop of paint that runs along the table style because it was your first time painting a table. You learn and you grow. Accepting this small drop means you’ll probably get better at it next time.
Of course I didn’t let go of everything. There is nothing wrong having a healthy dose of perfection. In fact, this will probably help you out in numerous situations, may turn you into that good fellow, and makes you feel more comfortable with yourself. But taking control over me – no, never again. Especially since I’ve got to know the liberating feeling NOT to be and to act perfect. Sufficient with the Big S, Smiling at the results, no matter how it turns out – that is what it’s about.
© 2014 by Debbie Vorachen – Floating Flowers. All rights reserved.