Sometimes I look in the mirror and think, “Who is that old lady?!?” Seriously, though, how I feel on the inside doesn’t always resonate with how I “think” I look on the outside.
I admit to being somewhat of a perfectionist. At times, I obsess over having things “just right.” I’m not sure where this habit comes from. Neither one of my parents seemed to suffer with this dastardly affliction. Nor did they ever demand perfection from me.
I guess I’ll have to blame it on our culture and the constant pressure to be “all we can be.”
While trying to be and do our best can be a great thing, there’s a point where it can become detrimental.
How many times a day does your inner critic spew judgmental thoughts at you? We inspect ourselves with a giant magnifying glass, and callously find every tiny imperfection. Why are we so tough on ourselves?
Maybe if we understand perfectionism and how it can hamper us in life, we can ease up a bit. Let’s put it in perspective:
- Trying to be perfect stresses us out. Most of our anxieties stem from our need for things to be a certain way. We tend to be fearful of not being good enough or not doing things “right.”
- It keeps us from taking risks. Fear of failure (being less than perfect) keeps us in our safe, cozy comfort zone. But often safe really means stuck in a rut.
- Perfectionism hinders our productivity. Analyzing and scrutinizing tiny details keeps us from accomplishing what we could. We’re busy but not getting much done.
- Attaining perfection is impossible. With our critical eye, we are never satisfied. We tend to set high, unrealistic goals for ourselves. Talk about pressure!
- We have trouble relaxing. Even though we’re exhausted from our ongoing pursuit of excellence, we tend to feel like there’s always something more we could or should be doing.
- Our thoughts and perceptions lead us astray. In the end, we really can’t blame perfectionism. It’s what we THINK about ourselves and our situations that make us feel less than or not as good. In other words, imperfect!
- We can control what we think and do. By letting society and our own internal “stories” determine our level of merit or quality, we are giving away our personal power and our individuality.
- Even palm trees aren’t perfect. Ever look up close? Even these gorgeous pillars of nature can be uneven and scraggly, yet still beautiful.
It’s time to make peace with our lack of perfection and say WHO CARES! As it turns out, all of those imperfections are in our head anyway. Let’s lighten up and choose to be happy in our own skin and in our own life.
My friend, Brian Russell, has a wonderful blog where he posts inspirational messages. He recently posted a video called Have You Been Told. It’s a moving reminder that no matter who we are or what we do, we are loved.
That’s what we’re really looking for when we’re striving for perfection. We want to be accepted, validated . . . LOVED. Knowing that we will be loved no matter who we are or what we do gives us courage to be our true and authentic selves.
Part of living with An Island Perspective includes CELEBRATING and NURTURING all of the special pieces and parts of ourselves that we might think are imperfect. These are the very things that make us unique and beautiful.
So sitting here in my sweat pants with no makeup, I’m just right the way I am. You can’t get more real than that! I’m perfectly imperfect because I know that I am loved. Nothing else really matters.
How have you made peace with perfectionism?