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I'd say that for a fair number of people I see in my practice, perfectionism is at the heart of what ails them. The immediate symptom may present as physical illness, insomnia, anxiety, depression, inability to form a healthy relationship, chronic pain… you name it. But perfectionism is a primary cause—if note THE primary cause—of the problem.
Constantly striving for unreachable standards cripples our life force—chokes it off. Instead of channeling energy into the forward motion of life, the flow of life energy stalls out in an endless circling back around that tries to suppress every thing, no matter how small, that's viewed as less than perfect. Thus perfectionism kills ease and spontaneity—the effortless, joyful being plugged in to Source Energy, being in the flow.
Energetically, the perfectionist is walled off from others by fear. Perfection itself is the wall. No one can get inside, making real intimacy very difficult. Perfectionism is based on an inner sense of unworthiness and a fear of rejection. Because the perfectionist tries so hard to control everything that emanates from them, their true essence is suppressed. Their authentic self never gets out, for fear it will not be good enough. Instead, what gets out is a sanitized, cookie-cutter version of the self, one that has the social stamp of approval.
All that suffering is especially ironic because perfection isn't possible for us humans. Nor really, is it desired. An illusion is all we can really attain, and creating the illusion closes you off—from others, from your own creativity, from achieving your heart's desires, from the life force itself.
And in nature, mistakes in the DNA are crucial to the process of evolution. No mistakes, no evolution.
As the poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen said, "Forget your perfect offering./There is a crack in everything./That's how the light gets in."
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