Self-mastery is a point of having command over yourself, your own abilities, your own desires, and being able to discern from protectionism and process. It is your ability to move through your life deliberately and with ease. Perfectionism many times can be fear-based, such as, “I have to do this exactly right so I can be seen in a certain way.” This is the difference. A person who is not developed in self-mastery will be a perfectionist. They have to prove what they doubt.
A perfectionist actually creates imperfection in their life trying to be perfect and they do not understand that sometimes imperfection is perfection. It is not enjoyable since with it comes stress, anxiety and sometimes even mental illness. A perfectionist by definition is never happy about what they do, there’s something that could be different or better.
The norm within the society is to be exactly like the others. Being just like the others limits any innovation on your part.
As I teach my students in Aikido, they may not get exactly the move that I want, but I tell them they can do a variance of that move which will not only be fluid, but more effective because of their stature. As you can see perfection would be detrimental in this type of instruction. My teaching has developed into ‘feel the flow and flow with feel.’ Self-mastery is a flow. Learning self-mastery is doing what feels right and way beyond perfection. The ultimate idea is mastering yourself in everything in life and by doing so you will vibrate on a highest of all levels and when this occurs the difficulties become less and sometimes non-existent.
The idea is to redirect through self-mastery. It is knowing how to move, knowing how to process the situation, knowing how to deal with an assault or with adversaries. If you don’t have self-mastery you won’t be able to defend against those things effectively. I’m not only talking about Aikido, but about everything in life. If you have self-mastery, nothing, nothing, nothing can knock you off your center.