Monday, June 09, 2014

Imperfectly Lovable - HIRD

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird 

My doctoral advisor, Dr. Paddy Ducklow, recently alerted me to a remarkable woman Dr. Brene Brown.  Her TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability went viral with over fifteen million people who have watched it so far.  As a fellow Social Worker, I deeply appreciated Brene’s fascinating research on vulnerability, shame, and perfectionism. Many people miss the connection between shame and perfectionism.   Brene says that where there is perfectionism, there is always shame, because perfectionism gives birth to shame.  Perfectionism keeps us from being our best self.  It keeps us from showing up and being present.  It keeps us from being loved and giving love to others.

Brene said that “perfectionism is a thought process that if I look perfect, live perfect, work perfect and do it all perfectly, I can avoid or minimize shame, blame, judgement and criticism.” Brene called perfectionism her favorite twenty-ton shield that she carried for many years.  It doesn’t work though in protecting us.  Perfectionism shuts down joy, love, and connection.  It is rooted in our desire for external validity, rather than being true to ourselves. 

Perfectionism is radically contagious and seductive.  Brene, who describes herself as a recovering perfectionist, says that it is the greatest enemy of transformative leadership.  We try to cure our perfectionist hangovers with yet more perfectionism.  Many people are trying to painfully earn the love of other people through the futile search for perfectionism.  Many of us think that we need to be perfect to be lovable. 

Voltaire said that perfect is the enemy of good.  That is why Brene said “If you want to avoid blame, shame, judgment and criticism, do nothing.  It is part of the human experience.”  Perfectionism tempts us to bury our gifts rather than make a lasting contribution. Wayne Gretzky notably commented that you miss 100% of the shots you don't take. 
Perfectionism keeps us stuck in procrastination.  Brene said that “very few perfectionists ever publish books.”  When writing my second book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, I often felt tempted to give up.  Why bother?  It’s too much of a hassle.  There are too many roadblocks to having it published.  Every time I write a book, I have to push through my perfectionism.  My coach Dr. Terry Walling has been a big encouragement to me in my book writing, saying: “My sense is that God is wanting you to hear his voice. It’s time for you to contribute.  It’s time for you to write.  It’s time for you to share your thinking and whether people agree with you or not, is not as important as you being able to trust him enough that he will take the things that you say to help advance his kingdom.”

God keeps sending people to me like Dr Terry Walling and Dr Brene Brown who remind me that I don’t need to be perfect.  Jesus is the only one who is perfect, and he perfectly loves each one of us, even to the point of the cross.   My prayer is that you know in the depth of your being that God is not waiting to love you.  He is just waiting for you to accept how much he perfectly loves you.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector
-an article for the July 2014 Deep Cove Crier

p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘ED HIRD’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD. This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide : Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


Peter Black said...

Ed, thanks for this interesting post and the choice truths it contains. (Hmm, I'll have to get back to Brene Brown's TED talk, later. Looking forward to it, though.)~~+~~

Tracy Krauss said...

This was very powerful. I am a secondary school teacher and at our last parent teacher meetings, I mentioned to one dad that his daughter had trouble completing assignments because she is a bit of a perfectionist. (Actually A LOT, but I didn't want to be too harsh!) he seemed pleased by this and said, "If its not worth doing right its not worth doing." while I understand this sentiment, I felt frustrated because all he did was validate his daughter's inability to complete anything... Now i understand part of why this is so...

Kathie Chiu said...

Thanks for this, Ed. I saw her TED Talk and I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned something. I too tend to be an over achiever and this is a problem for leaders. I totally understand when you say it interferes in our ability to be a transformational leader.

Carolyn R. Wilker said...

I certainly connected with your post, Ed, for I too have had to let go of perfectionism to do certain things, like writing and, ironically, editing too.
Must locate that TED Talk. Thanks for your post.

Ed Hird+ said...

Thanks for your kind comments. I am glad that you found the article helpful.


Ed Hird+

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