The Perfectionism Demon – Part 3
I’ve been writing about the perfectionism demon this week, and how counterproductive he (or she) is for most of us. I imagine many folks who imbibe in the creative process are haunted by this demon, and I suspect they only succeed when they find ways to trick, evade, or outrun the nasty fellow. Destroying him would be true joy, but I’m just not sure that’s possible once he’s dug his claws deeply into the way we live our life.
The demon plagues some folks with the inability to even start a project, for fear they won’t do well enough. I have a writing colleague like that, who struggles to move ideas from his mind to the keyboard for fear they won’t be good enough.
In my case, I’ve got enough dominance over the demon to start the creative process, but deeming a finished product “worthy” to be released to the world is a chain I’ve yet to wrap consistently around the beast. I can sit down to the keyboard and write, but I rarely think I’ve written something that’s “good enough”.
Which is where this blog comes in as a saving grace for me. I can write a little piece and put it out here on these pages that float across the ether. I hear from folks occasionally when they like a particular piece – usually in an email – but mostly it’s me just singing my heart out to the wide-open universe.
And lo-and-behold, I’ve discovered that the universe doesn’t miss a beat when I put something out here that’s full of typos and bad punctuation. Neither does it speed up even the tiniest bit when I drop something here that’s particularly brilliant. (Just go with me on this one, and pretend that occasionally something really good appears here…)
In fact, I’ve often been amazed to find that stuff I think is barely mediocre has more impact on readers than stuff I think is really brilliant.
Which makes an important point to me – one that the dark demon whispering in my ear does his best to block from my view at all turns. We’ve each got gifts within us of one sort or another. We’re often the poorest judge of these gifts, and we are generally blind to the light they can bring into the world. We’re too close to them, we take them for granted.
Don’t let some demon of doubt make you feel like you’re the judge and jury when it comes to sharing whatever gifts you’ve got. He’s not the boss of you. The gifts are in you as a window to let light and wonder and beauty shine into the world, and all the demon does is block the window.
Nothing we do will be perfect, we’ve just got to find a place that’s good enough, and open the window. Sometimes what shines through will be silly, sometimes it’ll come off differently than you meant it. But every now and then, at times when you least expect it and often can’t even see yourself, there’ll be some light and wonder and beauty that will shine through in a way someone else needed to see.
God gives us each a song.
~ Ute Proverb