Obsessing over imperfection – what are we getting out of it?
Written by Brendan Mooney Psychologist
Do you find yourself focusing on the imperfections in your life? Are you always trying to find ways to improve your life/career/ relationships but feel like it’s never enough? Do you stop to smell the roses along the way or are you too focused on how they need pruning? We can easily get fixated on the imperfections in our lives. After all, none of us are perfect and so there is always something to work on. But it is not healthy when imperfections become the focus, as life becomes dull and it can feel like you are trudging through mud, with common symptoms including being overly negative or critical on yourself and others and in severe cases a person can develop depression. Given the negative effects of focusing on imperfections, why do we do it? What could we be possibly getting out of focusing on imperfections? At first glance it seems nothing, but perhaps we need to look a little deeper… Is it possible that our seeming ‘issue’ with focusing on imperfections is actually more to do with our lack of appreciating and accepting the blessings in our life?
What if the focus instead became about appreciating our lives more?
Do you appreciate yourself and the qualities you bring to every person in your life?
Could you list your qualities on a piece of paper or would that make you feel uncomfortable?
Trust, warmth, a care for others and the community, what is it that you bring naturally? Have you confirmed it to yourself? Or do you wait for other people to tell you what it is they like about you? If yes, why?
Have you also appreciated, with no judgment, the things you are not so good at? When we do this without criticism it opens us up to being able to realise what others bring that can support us and we stop feeling as though we have to be everything to everyone. After all the idea of being the 24/7 Super Mum, or the ultimate provider and Bullet Proof Dad is a recipe for exhaustion and burn out.
Have you recognised how deeply sensitive you are? And do you celebrate this or try hard to ignore it, numb it or deny it?
Do you appreciate all the people in your life and the personal qualities they each bring, which offer opportunities to grow and develop? When was the last time you called someone on the phone for no other reason than to tell them how much you love them?
Perhaps if we started to appreciate our lives more we would accept all aspects and this would open us up to the next level within our relationships and at work etc
If there is any resistance to being more expressive about our appreciation of ourselves and others, if we feel like we would rather avoid it, then is it possible that we have started to get to the bottom of the reason why we don’t do this more often? Do we feel like being more loving and expressive is a risk? Is it more comfortable to focus on what is wrong rather than to celebrate all that is worth cherishing?
What if focusing on imperfection is just a distraction to delay us from accepting the next level of expression and expansion in our lives?
More will be written in an upcoming series of articles on this topic. If you would like to read more be sure to subscribe to receive email updates.
BIOGRAPHY Psychologist Brendan Mooney works with adults, adolescents and children. With a genuine interest in people's well-being, Brendan brings a warmth, practicality and an equality that supports clients to truly address underlying issues and blockages that are preventing them from moving forward.