Perfectionism Decoded

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Points to Ponder: April 5, 2018

Conventionally perfectionism is defined as refusal to accept any standard short of perfection. The perfectionist applies this to himself as well as to others. It is usually seen that striving for perfectionism involves a lot of self criticism as well as the criticism of others. Criticism focuses on the negative. It focuses on what is lacking. It focuses on what is wrong.It focuses on defects. The rule says “Wherever attention goes, energy flows, and that thing grows.” Hence, the continuous and ever increasing focus on defects has only led to increase in defects or imperfections. To summarise, we could also say that the increasing pursuit of perfection is making us and the world increasingly imperfect.

This is precisely because of imperfect definitions. The self is usually defined as what one has and what one does. For example, people say, I am a man or woman, I am rich, I am a doctor, mother etc. But in reality I am not a man or woman or rich. I have a body that is male or female. I have a house that may be big or small. I have a bank account that may be fat or otherwise. Similarly, I am not a doctor or mother. That is something I do. Actually, I am a soul that thinks, feels, decides and carries impressions of karma. Similarly, the other is not the body that he lives in, the clothes he wears or the work he does. The other is also the soul that thinks, feels, decides and carries impressions of karma. Hence, if I were to aim for perfection, it has to start with perfecting the art of thinking, decision making and creating karma that produces the right impressions. This brings us to the question as to what is the right way of thinking, which decisions are the right decisions and what karma is the right karma? The soul, in its perfect state is pure, peaceful, blissful, loveful and powerful. Hence, the thoughts, decisions and karma that align me with my perfect state are the right ones.

Being a perfectionist is actually about striving for my perfect spiritual state. And that is not possible by focusing on my present spiritual state which is a depleted one. To arrive at my perfect spiritual state I need to focus my attention on my inner peace, purity, bliss, love and power lying hidden in the sub conscious layers so that it grows. Similarly, making the other perfect is also about focusing on their latent peace, purity, bliss, love and power in them and helping it grow. Anything that I do on the external is an offshoot of my inner world. So, if I am perfect inside, perfection outside is just a corollary to it.

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