The art of letting go of perfection


Trying to achieve or maintain a state of perfection can feel like being locked in a cage – one of your own making.

When you are never enough, or can never give enough, no matter how much you give of yourself, you may be aiming for a widely sought after, popular state of being, known as perfection. Letting go of perfection can be tough, and it's possible to learn how to do it.

A bird in a cage may look perfectly content and beautiful, but while in the cage can never access its greatest ability: flight. Are you the bird who has locked yourself away, thereby preventing yourself from being able to access your own ability to fly?

When you do this, you deny the rest of us the privilege of seeing you do so, which in turn may inspire still others to try it themselves.

Your flight may help me realize I can fly as well.

In order to fly well, you have to try, and run the risk of not doing it perfectly. You have to risk publicly failing, and having to hear from the others (who’ve not yet flown their own craft) tell you in well-meaning-but-relieved-that-you-failed voices, “I told you so. Stay close to the ground where you’ll be safe!”.

The thing they may have forgotten about the alleged wisdom of staying close to the safe ground is that a) it’s not really safe – there are predators there too, and b) a bird is safer in flight, more powerful, faster, and able to find dinner more easily. Also c) it’s fun to fly, really beautiful to see birds in flight.

If you fail, they have a better excuse to not even try. If you fail publicly, they will never let you forget it if you let them get away with it. If you succeed, the lie that it can’t be done is seen, and everyone who is too afraid to even try will be feeling the pain of your success, and reaching for another round of excuses about why they cannot even begin to try.

Another problem about all of this flying about is that if you (and the bird) take off into the air, it’s more difficult to pin either of you down, control you, or keep you in plain, controllable, view. Obviously, this isn’t a problem for you, (or the bird), just for the control freaks in your life, and anyone else who can’t see themselves flying yet so don’t you dare even try.

Birds were designed to fly. You were designed to become who you are.

But you get to decide what that is and do the work involved that it takes to get there. If you never fly, never become who you truly are, you’ll never know what you might have seen while in flight.

If you can get your nerve up to take off, even in the face of resistance, invalidation, fear, and a lack of control over the outcome, if you can trust that you’ll do well in your quest to find what you are seeking – it won’t matter if you fly better than anyone else, or if you even do it with finesse.

Just by trying, you succeed. The trick is to get up and try again tomorrow, to step forward, to take off, to keep yourself moving.

©Kris Cahill
'Birds On a Musical Wire' ©Karen Arnold on