(Yup I made up a new word, a nice lil combo of perfectionistic and sistas, clever).
I wrote this for you.
Last week I shared a story of my struggles with perfectionism in the 'inner me love letter'. Today, let's delve deeper into the depths of perfectionism and find ways to kick it to the curb, so to speak. It's big for me and I know it's an underlying cause of icky anxiousness for plenty of you.
Once upon a time I kinda liked the word perfectionism (I know, nuts) it was as if it were a nice label to put upon myself. 'Hi I'm Sarah, I'm a perfectionist' has a nice ring to it don't you think? I thought it sounded like a perfect 'problem' to have. It just means I work hard, try really hard and strive for great results, no issue here, even my 'problems' are wonderful!
The more I learn about perfectionism, the less I like it and the less I want to be associated with it and it's pain in the ass tactics. Sometimes perfectionism shows up as a sore belly, sometimes it's overwhelm washing over me in constant waves, sometimes it's my feet turned to concrete, making it near impossible to take my next step. Sometimes it's the thing that motivates me, more often than not it's the very thing that tires me and has me chasing my metaphorical tail, hustling for my worthiness.
That's the key here isn't it, the underlying issue is the belief that we're not worthy enough if we can't do things perfectly. It's like telling ourselves 'If I do everything well enough, wonderfully enough, I've earned the air I breathe'. This is the really f&*@ed up message behind perfectionism, that we're not good enough as we are. It dictates that our worth is measured only by our performance of life tasks, how clean our homes are, how brilliant our work is, how awesome we are as a friend, how pretty our face is and how wonderfully (and apparently effortlessly) constructed our outfit is. Just excuse me a moment, I'm feeling so exhausted writing this... I need to catch a breath.
Are you really a perfectionist?
If you're anything like me, you may have at some stage thought to yourself 'Oh I'm not a perfectionist, I pretty much never get anything perfect and often I don't even try'. If that's you, don't be fooled, that sounds a lot like the voice of perfectionism, rating your ineffectiveness at being perfect! Shouldn't you be trying harder? Of course there are all the times you don't even strive for perfection, because there's not time, whatever it is isn't that important. But, do you still feel a little niggle somewhere wishing that it could have been done a bit better? 'Uh yeah. Of course, but isn't that normal?' Yes, for perfectionists it is, it's a daily occurrence. Sometimes we're aware of it, often it goes undetected as an unrealistic expectation and we're just left with a little more uncertainty of our enough-ness.
Today I invite you to just become aware of how perfectionism might be playing out in your life, observe the tactics your mind comes up with to tell you you're not quite good enough. Awareness will simply help to create enough space for the thoughts to no longer be absolutely 100% believable. If thoughts become a little less certain, they lose some of their power- consequently you regain yours. When you can see stuff for what it is, that's clarity...and then, comes the ease.
I'm currently reading Brene Brown's 'The Gifts of Imperfection'; she says:
Loving and accepting ourselves are the ultimate acts of courage. In a society that says, 'Put yourself last,' self-love and self-acceptance are almost revolutionary.
Try it? Try radical self-acceptance, the radical part is about not putting it off until you're feeling, acting, doing differently- aka until you're more worthy. Get radical, do self-love now, why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?
Still not convinced? Have you noticed that your impossibly high standards for yourself end up as a basis for your judgments of others? Do you get frustrated by people being imperfect, coming up with average output? Often when we judge ourselves harshly we do so of others too, just because you're not saying it out loud doesn't mean it's not happening..and doesn't mean it's not making your life more stressful than it need be.