When perfectionism bites...

Poster Girl for Awesomeness- Lena Dunham.

Poster Girl for Awesomeness- Lena Dunham.

Hey perfectionistas

(Yup I made up a new word, a nice lil combo of perfectionistic and sistas, clever eh).

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' , it 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. Perfectionism will have you hustling for your worthiness.

This is key, 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 that many of us perfectionistas have internalised, that we're not good enough as we are.

This painful belief infers that our worth is measured 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...etc.

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!).

The voice of perfectionism sounds a bit like this: 'Shouldn't you be trying harder?' 'Maybe don't do that, because it won't be good enough'. 

Of course there are all the times you don't even strive for perfection, because there's not time, or whatever it is isn't that important.

But, I'm curious, even when you do bypass the perfectionist and just get stuff done, do you still feel a little niggle wishing that it could have been done a bit better?

If your response is 'Uh yeah. Of course, but isn't that normal?' Well, yes, for perfectionists it is, it's a daily occurrence. Sometimes we're conscious of it, more often it goes undetected and we're just left with a little more uncertainty of our enough-ness.

The invitation:

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.

Being awake and aware to your inner dialogue can help to create enough space for the harsh thoughts to no longer be 'truth'. 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. To get radical is to do self-love now, why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?