Perfectionism

Using flower essences to overcome
unrealistic assessment of life and self

perfect

  1. having all the required or desired elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it can possibly be
  2. absolute, complete

Perfectionism is a refusal to accept any standard that is short of perfection. However, who or what determines what is perfect?

Most of us have a deep desire to be our best and to have things around us be optimal with all desirable elements, qualities and characteristics. Yet where do you draw the line between fiddling about with details that don’t really make a big difference and simply accepting what is?

How can you tell the difference between obsessive, unrealistic perfectionism that sabotages your efforts and simply accepting the fact that you are doing your best? I think that the key is recognizing when joy leaves the picture. If you are in the pursuit of perfection and find yourself suffering, you have crossed the line. How can you reclaim the feeling of joyful living in the pursuit of perfection?

What draws you to want perfection? Is it a feeling that there is something within you that is less than perfect? How can you deal with a tendency to demand more from yourself than is realistic? How can you recognize if your expectations of yourself are unrealistic?

I think that the key to harmonizing perfectionistic tendencies is knowing that you are prefect, just as you are.

Following is an exploration of a few flower essences that can help you sort through and overcome issues related to perfectionism.

The Concept of Perfection

The concept of being perfect is a product of your mind, which makes an analysis and decides what is perfect for any moment. Your mind’s job is to constantly assess everything around you. It categorizes, observes and measures everything. Its thoughts are the results of analysis and not of feeling or of the heart. It is only one aspect of all the parts of you that make decisions. Why then are you so quick to always believe what your mind thinks? While analysis offers important insight, it doesn’t give you all the information necessary to make proper decisions.

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When you have been too invested in listening to what your mind thinks, Desert Willow can help you let go and have a little respite. This flower essence helps you when you need to let go of your mind’s assessment of what is perfect and flow with the possibility of something easier and better. It creates a more flexible perspective of things, allowing the abundant creative force of universal energy to pervade any situation. It helps you integrate ease into a situation and open you to possibility.

Black & White Thinking

Most of us have been taught that everything in life is either right or wrong, good or bad, blessed or evil. Yet if we really contemplate any situation, we may find that our own interpretation of a situation is not the only way of perceiving it and that when we see things from the point of view of others, things are not black and white.

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Crown of Thorns is the flower essence to use if you find yourself judging everything as good or bad. When you are invested in this perspective, you probably also judge all your own actions and feelings as good or bad as well.

This flower essence helps you unconditionally accept all aspects of yourself or a situation without needing to engage in this type of judgement about them. Crown of Thorns opens you to the experience of unconditional acceptance, realizing that life and life’s blessings are freely available when you are open to receive them. In this way you become open to seeing perfection in places where it was previously impossible.

Perfect Means it’s Difficult

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Some of us have been taught that if something is perfect or valuable, it is difficult to obtain. Indian Root is the flower essence to use to recover from this stance. It usually is indicated for those who tend to make things very convoluted and complex, even when they can be simple. It is for those with a perspective that you must put a lot of effort and energy into things so that you can feel that you have really attained or accomplished something.

Indian Root helps you if you tend to push and try too hard at getting things done perfectly. It helps you appreciate and value simplicity and know that something is not necessarily more valuable if it is more difficult or if you had to struggle to achieve it. Indian Root helps you see that perfect can mean that you let go and allow things to creatively form rather than be fraught with struggle.

This flower essence is excellent for those who sabotage themselves by attempting to make things perfect, and when they perceive that they can’t, they give up. Indian Root can help you take a step back and see that your best attempt is a great result. What you achieve now might be bettered in the future, but for right now, what you can manage is simply fine.

Perfect Self-image

You may have a concept of yourself that your mind made up, yet somehow your inner reality does not match. You may expect that you should feel a certain way, that you should react to life according to some perfect image.

If you judge everything about yourself and come up short, Foothills Paloverde can be your friend. The essence is especially excellent for those who judge their feelings and then themselves for having them.

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When we do not understand what we are feeling, our emotional expression can be confusing or even frightening to us. This essence is excellent for ‘animus attacks’, when our inner masculine has a hostile attitude toward our inner feminine.

Once we can identify our feelings, we sometimes judge ourselves for having them. It is this type of self-judgment that Foothills Paloverde helps us with. It supports us in being aware of our feelings and accepting them without judging ourselves for having them.

Just as this tree has found a beautiful way to adapt to the harsh desert climate, so too can it help us adapt when we experience the harshness of our own minds.

When you judge the things outside you as less than perfect, you are actually talking about yourself. When you change your attitude towards yourself, everything outside you changes, too. You can begin to see how perfect you really are when you are free from self judgment.

After All You Are Human

When we judge things outside as being less than perfect, we are actually judging ourselves that way. We are human beings having an experience on the earth. What does it mean to be human? In some ways, it means being “imperfect”, at least according to some sort of internalized standard.

I remember coming home from school one day as a young girl and describing to my Mother my disappointment with myself for something I had done. I had made a decision, then taken action, and I was upset at the resulting outcome. I don’t remember exactly what the action was, but I do remember being very upset that I hadn’t made a better decision.

My mother said something that had a profound effect on me. I can recall perfectly today the moment of deep realization that occurred within. She said to me, “When you made that decision, did you do it to the very best of your ability in that moment, with what you knew in that moment?”

This made me stop and carefully consider. “Yes, I guess I did.” I answered her after a few moments.

“Then,” she said, “It was the perfect decision for that moment. The consequences that you experienced have taught you something, haven’t they?”
“Yes,” I answered, “they have.”

The realization that I had in that tender moment was that no matter what I thought about myself and how I “should” be, I was already perfect in each moment. I saw that unless I was deliberately trying to hurt others or make them suffer in some way, my natural and innocent state of being was enough in any moment. I felt an actual physical relaxation when I had this realization. My shoulders dropped, the tenseness in the pit of my stomach released, and I felt an underlying joyfulness that fed me.

This is the type of experience that Embracing Humanness Formula can bring. It helps you remember that you are human. You are here to make “mistakes”, be less than “perfect”, and have experiences. This is the essence that helps you see that there are no real mistakes, just opportunities to learn. It can help you realize that your actions are founded in your honest desires and that any decisions you make are perfect according to the consciousness you have at any given moment.

This is the flower essence to use to help discover when your expectations of yourself are unrealistic.

Perhaps ultimately the desire for perfection is a longing for the Divine. When you catch yourself in perfectionistic thoughts or behavior, ask yourself what you are truly longing for. As an incarnation of Divine energy, your humanness is perfect, just as it is.

Holding On So Things Remain Perfect

One tendency most of us have is to resisting change or chaotic situations when they blow through our lives. If you find that you are generally comfortable in life, things seem perfect and you probably want them to stay that way. The universe works in its own way, and perfection often wears the clothing of change.

If you find that change and chaos have blown in to your life, the Wind & Storm Formula can help you be flexible and flow with it. This flower essence was originally meant to help us deal with the intense winds that often occur in the spring and autumn here in the desert and the resulting mental and emotional disorientation that accompanies them. We quickly found that it had an even greater gift.

The Wind and Storm Formula can help us embrace situations that bring changes. Chaos often accompanies change and allows us to create a new order. The word ‘chaos’ comes from Greek and means the infinity of space or formless matter supposed to have preceded the existence of the ordered universe. It is a state of utter confusion and a total lack of order or organization, or so it seems at the time.

I think of chaos as the place from which I draw the raw material for manifestation. If I want something new in my life, it usually comes from entering into the realm of pure possibility, the place of chaos.

When the universe brings these opportunities, you may not see them as such. The Wind & Storm Formula can help you flow with what blows through your life and take advantage of the opportunities with grace and ease.

Selecting the Most Appropriate Flower Essences

Not every flower essence mentioned above will be appropriate for every person’s specific needs. Different people have different issues around perfectionism. The process itself of exploring and contemplating your perfectionism issues is important. It is the foundation for successfully selecting the most beneficial flower essences. Usually, careful self-examination can clearly show you which of the above flower essences are most appropriate for your particular needs.

Though you can use more than one flower essence together, you probably will not need to use all of the ones mentioned here. After contemplating your relationship to this issue, select the flower essences that apply for you, or use an intuitive method to select among them. (For more information on how to do this, see The Art & Technique of Using Flower Essences.) A general guideline is to use four drops at a time, four times a day, in water. However, it is fine to follow your intuition and use them as often as you like. Most people find that they tend to use them more often in the beginning and less often towards the end of the cycle. Unless otherwise indicated, a cycle is usually two to four weeks. [more]

For information on how to clearly evaluate the effects of the essences you have used, see The Art & Technique of Using Flower Essences.

Recommended Flower Essences

Crown of Thorns
belief that all things in life are either black or white, negative or positive
Desert Willow
too invested in the mind’s concept of perfect
Embracing Humanness Formula
unable to accept your human mistakes or natural impulses
Foothills Paloverde
critical of yourself or others; self-judgment
Indian Root
tendency to make something complex and convoluted; self-sabotage
Wind & Storm Formula
allowing changes or chaos to flow through you without resisting or becoming rigid