Many years ago I was given a personality test that analyzed me as a perfectionist and a worrywart. Nothing that I didn’t already know myself. But what I didn’t realize then is that I don’t have to allow myself to be defined by a test or by what someone else says I am.
I too often allow the perfectionist in me to take full reign. Oh, I have improved in some areas. For instance, I used to think every smudge on the windows must quickly be wiped off. Today I stand and admire a perfect little handprint made by a grandchild, and I don’t have the heart to wipe it off for days.
In the creative area, especially in my writing, perfectionism easily tosses inspirations out to the trash file. As Julia Cameron writes in The Artist’s Way, “Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move ahead.” Those ideas spin around in my thoughts, but I don’t act upon them because I think they’re not good enough. Or I think someone else can write about that better than I can.
Often when I’m writing I am constantly worrying about the little details of grammar usage, etc, instead of concentrating on the bigger picture and just letting myself write freely from my heart. Even now, you’ll never guess how many times I’ve hit the backspace button.
So how can I unplug that perfectionist plug? By blocking out the little voices that say it isn’t good enough and concentrating on the passion planted within me. By writing spontaneously, trusting that all the little details will work themselves out. By spilling out my ideas on the written page and telling myself that every idea is a good idea and worth activating.
Above all, I can concentrate on the Creator of creativity Who is perfectly powerful to unleash my potential in a way that produces glory to His Name. If I look within myself, I will never measure up; but if I look to my perfect Savior, I will be more than enough.
Reader, are you letting your perfectionistic nature stifle the creativity within you? How can you work on more freely expressing yourself in your everyday life?