Perfectionism plagues us all.
It is omnipresent, even if only in meager amounts.
Think back on your week. Have you made statements such as “I am not good enough,” or “I need to be better?”
How can we not feel depleted when we allow ourselves to think this way?
I recently decided to begin taking sitar lessons. Without a musical background or knowing what to expect, I dove in.
It was difficult. I knew it would be. What I didn’t expect was the perfectionist in me, who is so often tame, to make a bold appearance.
Even recognizing my lack of dexterity in music, I quickly became frustrated. I was taking too long to learn simple songs, and my fingers were throbbing after only twenty minutes of practice.
Over breakfast one morning a friend asked me how my lessons were going. In a flat tone I answered, “They’re going well, I guess. I’m still not very good.”
Between bites of porridge and papaya he lightheartedly said, “Well, you don’t have to be Ravi Shankar. Just enjoy it, make some nice sounds.” Then he smiled and went on eating.
I was taken aback by the simplicity of his words. He didn’t tell me that I would get better with practice—a common encouragement.
Just make some nice sounds. That’s all there is to it.
Now, drive and ambition do have their place in the world. They are valuable—crucial even. But sometimes we need to give ourselves a break from the perfectionist that dwells within.
Give it some rest.
Stop trying to be the best you can be for a moment.
Make some nice sounds.
Who knows, you might find some contentment along the way.
Author: Jenna Meyer
Volunteer Editor: Kim Haas / Editor: Toby Israel
Photo: Jasleen Kaur / Flickr