Working with many people, I've seen the concept of perfection as one very important obstacle in the pursuit of empowerment and self-expression.
In the 1700s, the French philosopher Voltaire coined the phrase:
"The perfect is the enemy of the good".
In other words, perfection is the enemy of creativity and freedom.
And to take that one step further, we could say that the birthing ground of creative expression and freedom is imperfection.
Lingering in imperfection can be incredibly uncomfortable, though, especially if our own imperfections were shamed growing up.
Many of us learned/created a story at an early age that in order to be loved we must fit in the mold, follow the rules, and stay as close as possible to the structure of perfection established by family, religion, culture, society, etc.
Whenever I catch myself being stuck in these perceived molds of perfection, I go back to the concept of wabi-sabi.
Wabi-sabi is the Japanese philosophy of seeing beauty in the imperfect quality of an object.
Think of pottery. A perfect bowl with perfect edges and uniform glaze can be the same as the one right next to it and... well, boring.
Versus a bowl with uneven edges, uneven glaze, and perhaps even a small crack on the side, can be beautiful, fascinating, one of a kind, and hold so much potential despite its imperfection.
Where could you allow more imperfection in your life? Can you sit with the discomfort of being in that space?
When I do, I notice the emotions and the feeling of discomfort bubbling up to the surface, and I use self-regulation tools such as breathing and tapping to sit with these emotions and let them wash over me and dissipate. Then... repeat.
The freedom on the other side is priceless and well worth the work to leave the prison of perfection.