‘Rolling in The Deep’ by Adele was playing in the background while I was fixing my laptop. Calm and serene breeze filled the room. Aaliyah was busy the entire day in the kitchen and when I tried calling her there came in the reply, “Bob I am trying to cook something new, don’t distract, I will forget the steps of the recipe.” I heard the doorbell ring; it was Megan who was back from a long trip.
“Finally, I get to see you guys after three long weeks and I have so much to tell you both,” said Megan. Aaliyah served some Asparagus Nuggets and Sangria. “There’s something more,” she added with excitement and got us some ‘Walnut Mochi’ filled with sweet red bean paste. “Mind you Megan, the Mochis had kept her busy all day,” I said. “Bob! Will you stop teasing me now?” replied Aaliyah.
We kept talking and everything seemed like a perfect Saturday evening till we had a bite of the Mochis. Megan and I gave each other a look of mutual understanding and continued having the Mochis. “How’s it?” asked Aaliyah. “It’s good, I like it,” I replied. Aaliyah could read the look on my face which was contradicting to what I was saying.
Aaliyah took a bite and realized that the concoction of the ingredients had turned out to be quite a mess. She gobbled it somehow and after sipping her Sangria went to the kitchen. “Hey! It’s okay. This was the very first time you made it.” I said. I could see that she was trying her level best to control her tears. I hugged her, “But Bob I had put in so much effort, I wanted you guys to have the best Mochis but it turned out to be a disaster. I can’t perfect the art of cooking ever it seems.” she whined.
Aaliyah has this obsession with perfection that at times gets too much on her. “Calm down Aaliyah. Relax! You don’t have a boss here breathing down your neck if things go wrong. It’s all about enjoying cooking and not about becoming a perfect chef and go live on some cooking reality show you see!” I said. I could see her getting her calm back and after a minute she replied saying, “You know Bob, you’re right. I am always seeking to deliver everything flawlessly and lose my nerve when things go wrong. I will stop taking perfectionism so seriously at every step.” I felt happy that finally she had realized it and we got back again enjoying our ‘imperfect’ Saturday evening.
Perfectionism often brings the need of accomplishment. This causes anxiety and fear of things not being ‘up to the mark’ and then creeps in the feeling of shame and inadequacy. Delivering a perfect presentation or project at work is important but seeking perfection in every sphere of life ought to make things mechanical. The joy lies in having fun in the small activities of personal life. Chasing perfection in everything around is like walking on a never ending road of external achievements. If you can carry out everything perfectly then it’s superb but if you can’t then there is nothing to feel bad about. Even if the end result turns out to be a mess, it is okay to let it go sometimes with a good laugh at the end.