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I have a confession to share.
Well, actually a few.
I have some weird habits…well actually a lot of weird habits.
For instance, I should not be allowed to put my car into reverse – EVER. Every single car accident I have ever had has somehow involved me putting my car into reverse and driving backward. The first crash occurred when I was 20, and it’s pretty much been downhill ever since. Typically I hit objects and not moving vehicles which makes it worse somehow.
I have a love-hate relationship with exercise. When I’m NOT doing it, I tell myself how much I hate it. But when I do finally force myself to go to the gym, step onto that spin bike and go “for a ride” it flips a switch in me that has me attending spin classes four to five times a week, and I’m in love with exercise again. It’s weird, right?
I can not have rice Krispie treats in the house. I will eat them until I am literally sick. It’s like I have absolutely no willpower over a plate of those gooey, rice treats. NONE. ZERO. I seriously don’t know what’s wrong with me and why I can’t stop eating them – it’s insanity.
I MUST clean up the house after company leaves. I can not go to bed and leave the house a mess. I don’t care if I have to stay up until 3 AM putting the house back together. I can’t sleep knowing the place is in disarray and so. Therefore, I clean until some ridiculous hour of the night.
Same thing with my desk. Every day at the end of the work day I have to put everything back (just to take it all back out again the next day) where it belongs, or I can’t sleep at night. Something about leaving a mess just makes me feel off.
I have a terrible sense of direction. GPS to me is an invention of God. I can’t find my way anywhere. I’ve been living in NH now for almost two years, and I still need to use my GPS to get around to places mind you I’ve regularly been going for my entire time here.
I’m afraid of all insects except for ladybugs. And, I hate heights so much so that I couldn’t thoroughly enjoy the view from my fourth-floor balcony during a recent trip to Florida because it was too high up.
I never feel entirely comfortable in my own skin. I’m either painfully aware that I’ve got a few pounds to lose, or that I’m the tallest women in the room, or the oldest, or the loudest, or the shyest.
And, without a doubt almost every day I feel like I failed BIG TIME. Either I wasn’t as productive as I wanted to be, I wasn’t the best friend I could be, the best mother, or the best grandmother. The list seems endless. And so despite my outward appearance of confidence, the truth of the matter is sometimes I feel like a big, fat, failure.
Boy, I could go on and on.
WHY PERFECTIONISM SUCKS
So why am I telling you this?
Because as women we all have this unending list of habits, traits, quirks, and faults about ourselves that plays like a record player behind the scenes. And I was hoping that if I came clean about my own shortcomings, failures, and weird habits, it would make you feel better about your own.
I don’t know about you, but when I look around, I see so many women who “look” like they have it all together. Maybe you thought the same of me.
Well, I’m here to tell you, friend, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Some days I have it together, and some days I don’t, and I would imagine it’s that way for you too.
Listen, here’s the thing, we women are tough on ourselves. We strive for unattainable heights of perfection, and it’s NOT good for us!
As women, our need to strive for perfection is deep-rooted. You can see it in the way we look up to successful people: We expect the people we hold in high regard—like managers, CEOs or political candidates—to be absolutely perfect, without a hair out of place or bad decision to their name.
So I’m here to tell you perfectionism is a big, fat waste of time.
Why? For starters everyone has a different definition of perfection, making it impossible actually to be perceived as perfect by everyone. And, if you’re striving for all your friends and family to view you as perfect, guess what happens? You become unrelatable.
People who are walking around as perfectionists are ultimately afraid that the world is going to see them for who they really are and [that] they won’t measure up. ~ Brene Brown
And that my friend is the cold hard truth. Perfectionism is all about fear; vulnerability is the key to unlocking the fear.
So how can we switch our focus from perfection to vulnerability, while still aiming for serious awesomeness? Here are my three tips.
And do it often and about anything. Having a good sense of humor and being able to laugh at our own actions particularly when they are embarrassing or disappointing experiences, can lighten the moment. Humor doesn’t have to be used as a shield of protection. Instead, humor can heal or at least create enough dopamine and endorphins to get us through the tough moments.
FORGIVE AND THEN FORGIVE AGAIN
Forgiveness is actually a selfish act and believe me when I say that’s not a bad thing. It’s the gift we give ourselves. The power of forgiveness helps to release us from fear-based thoughts, and emotions and to let go of the actions of others that have affected us negatively.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH DREAMERS
There are so many role models out there that have failed miserably or made a huge mistake in their lives only to overcome them and create an even better experience than they had before. These folks can provide you with some serious inspiration if you don’t have anyone like that in your circle of friends. Watch movies or read about dreamers and risk takers. Anyone who can help you to see there’s no need for perfectionism and that through trial and error we grow and succeed.
Like any change in ourselves, taming perfectionist tendencies requires self-reflection and trust. Remeber, don’t take yourself too seriously or beat yourself up if you meet a stretch in the road that doesn’t bring you to where you want to go.
Take care of yourself in the process, and know that the only person stopping you from taming the beast of perfectionism and embracing vulnerability is you.