Perfectionism (n): a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable. (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
I never really liked my handwriting. I always viewed it as messy, illegible, and ugly. Part of that outlook was due to the perception of it by others, but the other part was because I knew in my heart that I would never have the "perfect" handwriting. So I just continued to write in chicken scratch. I had the same thought process when it came to coloring as a young adult. As a child, you are expected to draw out the the lines. However, as a young adult, it was less so. So I didn't color as often (even if I enjoyed it) because I knew I couldn't achieve the "in-the-lines" coloring it took to make it look "good". It wasn't until I learned about distortions behind thoughts like this that I realized that my thought process could be changed. How, you ask? Find the evidence against these distorted thoughts. For one, I had to realize that no one can achieve perfection and that believing that I could was unrealistic. This is easier said (or heard) than done. Have you been told this many times but seem to fall into the same thought process anyway? You are not alone. The most important advice that I can give you is to persevere. It will not come easy, but, if you continue to practice remembering that achieving perfection is impossible and TRULY BELIEVING IT, it will get easier every single time you address these types of thoughts.
A good way to practice this, ironically enough, is through coloring.
Small sidebar: All of the artwork that I draw is actually done in reverse of how you might think. I actually draw and color with marker (These are Hobby Colour dual tip markers from TJMAXX-see my TJMAXX haul video here) before tracing with black pen (I like Sharpie pens for this).
It's true what they say about adult coloring books: there seems to be a calming effect associated with coloring. I was never drawn to the adult coloring books for one reason or another, but I did like kid's coloring books with characters such as Hello Kitty in high school. But, I have found that doodling like I do has a similar effect. There's something about the movement of the pen, the concentration required to color inside the lines, and having the ability to choose the color combinations you want for your artwork that allows you to kind of space out and release your brain from the problems of now. There's almost a freedom that comes with it. And with that freedom CAN COME IM-perfectionism. Keep your thoughts away from those distortions that play into your ego that create those perfectionistic thoughts. Keep them in that mindset of calm, zen, and mindfulness.
Here are a few ways to look at those "mistakes" or "outside of the lines" if you are struggling with getting past them:
1) See them as part of your artwork or a part of reaching the goal you are trying to achieve.
2) Look at the big picture. In this case, it is a literal big picture. When you see it from afar, it's harder to focus on the little mistakes and easier to see how beautiful your work or goal really is. Look at how far you've come since you started achieving your goal, and look to the future to realize that you can move forward from this point in this process.
3) Work on viewing these not as mistakes, but as learning experiences. Take this particular experience as a learning experience and remember that each time you work at this, you will improve.
4) Progress not perfection. This goes along with #3. I learned this thought from the famous Instagram yogi @beachyogagirl. Improving upon and working toward goals are what matters, not trying to achieve the unrealistic expectation of perfection.
5) And last but definitely not least, work towards self-love. For me, this means being gentle with myself, doing yoga, and working on being okay with my choices, looks, and emotions even if others aren't. For you, it may look different.
How do you work on self-love and realizing IM-perfection?