Perfection never yet built up an empire.” ~ Charles de Gaulle
If you read my blog you have probably glimpsed my admitted perfectionism issues. In The Art of Imperfection Veronique Vienne says perfectionism is about control, about hiding your true self. It’s in my artwork much like the Algebra homework of my youth where this behavior rears its head. Now instead of overworking a math problem by continuously applying formulas well past the actual answer I invariably keep drawing until I overwork a piece.
Of course Art unlike my math homework is subjective. I’m not being graded. There is no “right” answer. And I am utterly aware that to someone else’s eye it may be just right. Wanting my artwork to reflect who I am I have begun to change this trait. When drawing I walk away and come back to a piece after a little while. And no matter where I stop I accept the drawing as is.
So I decided to compile some tips on how to obtain Imperfection Artfully.
1. Make Mistakes ~ These flaws as you may judge them are some of your best qualities. It is our grace and humility, our ability to make mistakes that makes us ultimately more resilient, more efficient. You have heard the Phrase “to err is human”.
In Islamic Art artists are encouraged to make mistakes on purpose as a reminder to the observer that God alone is perfect. James Joyce referred to mistakes at “portals of Discovery”. So make mistakes.
2. Be Yourself ~ Don’t try to mimic others. Be real. Embrace your unevenness, asymmetries, gawkiness in life and your art. Your home and wardrobe should be nothing more than an extension of expressing who you are. Use everything you own or get rid of it. In other words serve your tomato soup in your Grandmother’s silver tureen. Don’t be afraid of big hats, scarfs or costume jewelry if that is your thing. True beauty is allowing your real self to shine through.
3. Don’t insist on being right ~ Being you is cause enough for celebration. It won’t grow by telling others. So be humble. If you let your ego claim the prize you lose. As Gandhi put it “the enemy is within as much as without. You must seek reconciliation between the two. “Ask for help when you need it. Don’t fight for the last word.
4. Don’t live for others ~ This means you stop trying to make your parents, 3rd grade teacher, ex-husband proud. Stop living in the past thinking if only ___ could see me know. Stand on your own. You don’t need anyone’s approval so don’t chain yourself to it.
5. Allow for Disorganization ~ When traveling the Persians make the first leg of the caravan short. This allows the members to return home for anything they have forgotten before heading into the desert. They allow for and assume disorganization.
Pay attention when you slow down or your organization lapses. Embrace your resistances. Listen to what they are trying to communicate. Let go of your internal control freak and be patient with yourself. Take a break if you need it.You may find yourself even more productive afterwards. Sometimes when you stop midstream you stumble upon an important revelation.
6. Embrace the Unknown ~ It is okay if you don’t always know what to do. There is no map to life, secret directions or magic compass. They say that humans are the slowest to learn. No doubt because we refuse to learn from our elders insisting on making our own mistakes. Take nothing for granted. Go even when you don’t know where. Seek answers even when you haven’t the foggiest why and always always ask lots of questions.
It is our imperfections that shape our character. In our mistakes we learn, we adapt and ultimately survive during the most difficult and unexpected times. So don’t shy away from your contradictions. It is our very idiosyncrasies that other people find the most endearing. As Vienne put it, you may be a great cook but it will be the day you set the kitchen on fire that makes you boyfriend love you. My ex-husband assured me it would be the silly things I missed once he was gone. Unfortunately true. There is a gold mine to be found in your imperfections.
So until next week…
Weekend Reading List:
- Why Not Live Alone For Awhile? ~ Simply Luxurious Life
- When You’re Married & Divorced On May 8th ~ Thought Catalog
- 101 Timeless Lessons Life Teaches ~ Marc&Angela Hack life
- How to Live Alone ~ Huffington post
- How to Stop Dreaming and Start Living ~ Jeff Goins
- A Home For Sketchbooks of The World ~ New York Times