This is a good question to chew on, observe, test out, for a True Empath.
The fate of humanity, and your personal well-being, evolution, raising your vibration, depends on your relationship to perfection.
How? Perfection is imposed. Perfection comes from your relationship with something outside of yourself. It's a comparison, and you live in a constant fear of "falling from grace", falling short of perfection. The rules are set by others with an agenda. The agenda isn't overt: in fact, it is a manipulative agenda. The goal is to keep you out of balance, keep you failing, keep you suppressed, keep you small and dependent. 1
Integrity is an inside job. It is between you and you. No one, outside of you, can judge your integrity. Of course, the way the word is used in everyday language makes it, for you, while you are unconscious, part of the perfection racket, but the "real" meaning of integrity is that you act consistent with YOUR interest, with YOUR values, with YOUR Self.
Integrity is an empowering concept, while perfection is disempowering. Integrity has no front office and back office, not shenanigans in the background, it is the same through and through.
While perfection is a Trojan horse. Once it is sneaked into you, you are a puppet on a string, at the mercy of the hidden agenda: you are an effect, never able to succeed in the impossible task of being "sinless". No one is. Your so-called saints are fakes and pretenders.
And it is NOT only Christianity that is intent on keeping you in mental slavery, it is also all the religions that talk about Karma, that consider imperfect action, mistakes, etc. something that a deity punishes.
OK, a look from a different angle:
Our intentions are layered, all the way down to the seed or core intention, and the question really is: is the desire for perfection a seed desire?
Now, how would we know if it is even a desire? Of course! If it's a desire, then I would see you in action, continuous action to do better, be better, perform better.
But is that what you see around? Is that what you see if you look at your behavior? No. You see non-action.
You want to be the way you are, and you want to stay that way, without giving a chance to anyone, including yourself, pointing out that you fall short of perfection.
I think this, perfection, was a manufactured "thing", I don't have a better name, yet. In Christianity, "the manufactured religion," the Church fathers sat down and contemplated what would make their constituency continuously miserable, and they came up with a brilliant idea: if we tell them how they should be, behave, think, act, and it is unattainable, then we have it made! We'll be grandfathered in till the end of days. It will keep the constituency unhappy, forever and ever and ever.
The idea of sin, falling short of perfection, missing the mark of perfection, is the key. It is impossible to be perfect, because perfection is unattainable. People want to be happy, people want to live fulfilling lives, do fulfilling work, have fulfilling relationships, but perfection is none of that.
So the churches are full, the people are paying, the church is thriving. Nobody asks the church-staff if they are perfect... even though, in Christianity, somewhere in the Bible, it says: Let it be that who has no sin who throws the first stone. I paraphrased it, but that is the gist of it.
Imperfect people throwing stones at you, and you are saying nothing: after all The Book said you should be perfect. Bah Humbug. It is a conspiracy and you've fallen for it.
A much better distinction, if you need one, to guide you is integrity.
Integrity is a very interesting distinction. It's not static. It is not something that you get better and better at. You are never in or at integrity, per se. Unless you are dead, of course.
The moment you take action to restore integrity, you are in integrity.
There are three levels of integrity.
This is the only level people even know about, and not even all of it.
I'll use Landmark's definition, because it is so detailed:
Integrity is: nothing hidden, being truthful and honest, doing complete work, working from an empowering context, and doing very well what you do, doing it as it was meant to be done or better, and without cutting corners.
In other words, honoring one's word. 2
Doing what you know to do, doing what you said you would do and on time, doing what others could expect you to do even if you haven't said that you would do it, and saying when you are not doing this as soon as you realize you won't be doing it or won't be doing it on time.
Honoring your ideals, standards and principles. Of course, if you delved into this, if you looked at what impossible ideals, standards and principles you have for yourself, you would be mortified and would cut them down to size.
On this level, with your ideals and standards, you mirror the Christian Church in setting impossible standards.
Your ideals and standards, notice, have the word "always" or "never" in them. That gives it away: "always" and "never," maybe even "forever" are the clues that these are impossible to attain perfections. Impossible.
So, a smart person will reword their ideals, standards and principles to be malleable and flexible. Word them as the horizon, as the context, as the sky behind the clouds... unchanging, but only a sky, not the cloud.
This is the trickiest, because to be able to have integrity on this level, to take actions towards integrity on this third level, you need to know yourself. And for that you need to be aware, you need to be conscious, and you need to have no judgment: judgment will want you to look away.
So for level three you must be able to stand and look at yourself from the Observer or Witness position, where there is no judgment. Where you can see the whole past and the whole future at once, and therefore you can see that there is nothing wrong, that nothing really means anything, and there is nothing to judge, nothing to fix, nothing to change.
Strangely enough, if you asked me where to start, I would suggest that you start on level three... practicing awareness, practicing no past, no future, no meaning: standing in the Observer's position.
Why not start with the first level? Because the first level is very close to morality: you will feel bad about yourself, which indicates judgment.
And as we saw in the first part of the article, the "Christian conspiracy" part, that will keep you squarely in misery, and slavery to "perfection."
Now let's say what type of, what kind of actions take you away of "out of integrity", i.e. no integrity, to integrity...
- On the first level, every time you admit to what you did, every time you correct your own mistakes, every time you notice your attitude and correct it, you move back to integrity.Nothing that you do "well" matters, only correcting what you don't.To restore integrity, you need to look at, with kind eyes, at the stuff where you stumble. And correct it, or some of it. Be in action about it.Not complicated, but does take courage.
- On the second level, you may need to make some course changes. Course corrections. You may be stuck on a course that is counter with your standards and principles.This is what happened me when I was selling on Amazon. Amazon obliged before I was even aware, and kicked me out.
- On the third level, simple awareness will do the job. You actually won't have to DO anything, but stay aware, stay conscious.And when you notice a lapse in your awareness, just go back and be aware again.That is the practice I am in... returning to awareness. And returning to awareness. And returning to awareness.
Nothing is every perfect, nothing is ever 100%... it is always returning to raising it... That is what life is.
- Judging from the number of people who are searching for the quote, "Now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good" relief from this "infection", relief from the obligation to be perfect is something you want... is that a correct assumption?
- did you notice that this word is written all lower case? there is a reason for that... this is word, as in promises. Not Word that is divine and creates. Actually, the most powerful "move" I have ever learned is to negotiate my promises, take back my promises, i.e. cancel them. Even if it will cost something to take back my promise, it will never cost me as much as carrying it around, like a chain of ball, destroying my sense of self, destroying my life... Because it is actually true: Without integrity nothing works... And incidentally this is the aspect of integrity that you can tackle on any level of vibration, on any level of consciousness: make sure you treat your word, your overt or covert promises as lies you sent to the Universe. They are lies until you deliver on them. Or until you cancel them. And your covert, or unconscious promises, hints, allusions should be the first to go...