How many of you are paralyzed by perfection? The perfect weight? The perfect size? The perfect business? The perfect house? Being the perfect mom? I have been there and some days still am….Perfection is all about playing the comparison game thinking of what we “should be” instead of focusing on the positives of who we are….
As I walk through recover this time, I am AGAIN learning it is progress not perfection which makes us better. Here is a post I saw which made me realize on most days despite my best efforts, I am “stuck” worrying about perfection….
I would tell you I wasn’t staring at him, but I’d be lying. He immediately caught my attention as he wheeled himself down the aisle. Stopping beside me, he said, “Hello.” I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. He lifted himself up in his wheelchair. Unabashed, he balanced on his knees where his lower legs used to be. Unable to move, I watched him stretch, reaching for something on the store’s upper shelf.
What if he fell?
He wobbled as he grabbed his item, and then sat back down in his chair. Before I could offer to help, he’d completed his task. He nodded at me and continued his shopping. I stood there immobilized by my thoughts. What empowered him to be so, whole? His exterior shell broken, but inside—something beautifully different.
WOW! This made me realize how crippled I am on a daily basis. I battle the inner gremlins of perfection which are often paired with the comparison game gremlins. Yes, they love to tag team me until I am left battered and bruised. On the inside I’m left feeling less than while on the outside, things look great. Check out some milestones in my life….
- 16 months in recovery after a relapse
- Maintaining a 100+ pound weight loss
- Doing what I love ever day in my own business
- MS does not define in
- A loving husband and supportive family
I don’t say these to brag but so I can appreciate the journey I am on to become a better me every da. The list could probably be longer but the gremlins start to rear their heads when I think about the positives in my life. They want me to stay stuck in the negatives. The addictive thinking which kept me feeling less than everyone else. What about you, what are some major milestones in your life? Do you focus on them or do you focus on your failed attempts?
Does your idea of perfection cripple you into believing everything you do has to be impeccable? Does your worth ride on your success? Think about the gentleman described above…. He elevated his viewpoint, lived outside the lines, and appeared content—all signs of living imperfectly. Definitely not someone who is handicapped, right?
Here are three ways to become unparalyzed by perfection:
#1 Straighten Up
Believe it or not, standing up straight and changing our body alignment, can make a difference. How often when we fail at perfectionism do we feel unworthy? As a result, we walk hunched over or eyes cast to the ground, not enjoying the world around us. Why not practice your “supergirl pose”? It is time to change your perspective. Maybe it is with positive mantras to change your mindset, Maybe it is seeking your Higher Power. Maybe it is blessing and releasing those fears. Whatever it is get busy!
#2 Live Outside the Lines
You are NOW standing up straight, so let’s step out of your comfort zone — live outside the lines. This can be tough especially when those gremlins are in the midst of a battle. It doesn’t have to be something HUGE, just something simple. How about:
~Driving with the windows down and let your hair get incredibly messy. Toss the hair tie which will keep your hair neat.
~Get a cake and take a spoonful right from the center. Go ahead, eat from the middle.
~Color outside the lines in a coloring book—make the tree trunk bright orange, the leaves purple, and paint the sky green instead of blue.
“You have to color outside the lines once in a while if you want to make it…” Albert Einstein
Just do something to push yourself outside the lines of perfection which keep you restrained.
#3 Love your life
Make the decision to love your life. Despite the challenges you may have, proclaim contentment. Remember the man I shared the story about, despite being a differently-abled person, he oozed contentment, even though he had every right to feel otherwise. You could tell he made a choice to love his life.
Perfection doesn’t validate us, it makes us invalid.
Will you challenge yourself in a new way? Will you claim to love your life so you are unconfined from the handicap of perfectionism? Share your story with us.
Have a blessed day!
“Who are you?” is a really powerful question. With so many of us are looking for personal growth you would think it would be an easy one to answer. What is the first thing you think of when you are asked this question????
For me, I would usually answer: what I did – mom or social worker or now retired. Occasionally I would say self-employed. I have friends who would answer with one of these:
- what we are working, wishing and hoping for (nope this one wasn’t for me)
- who means the most to us and
- where we’ve been and how we got to where we are
But, who are you? Think about it for a moment. Can you answer the question without rattling off your rank, title or accomplishments? I know I can’t or at least I couldn’t before walking back into the doors of NA 16 months ago. I was always a label, never knowing who I was. A pretty scary thought. I may not have an answer but I am working on one…
I’m a wife, a mom, retired social worker, MS warrior, grant writer, Jesus lover, entrepreneur, reader, blogger, daughter, sister, friend, encourager, crafter, recovering addict, jean wearing, often a hot mess who is making progress to being a better version of me! If I really thought about it, I’m sure the list could go on and on…. just like yours, right?
My list reflects my story, labels given to me by others, some I cherish while others I struggle with. I remember (vaguely) a time when I had it all right – years ago my first time around in recovery. I was confident in who I was and where I was going. I didn’t let what others think control who I was or what I was doing. I realize when I had my identity right, everything else fell into place.
Is who you are defined by labels or are you defined by the core values you cherish? Are you a reflection of who you were created to be or are you still struggling with finding yourself? I will admit, I was eager to work my fourth step because it I wanted to get to gut-honest. I wanted to take a “searching and fearless moral inventory of myself”….. be careful what you wish for. LOL. I may be struggling through the process but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know once I can identify who I am beyond the titles, labels and my history – I will be a better strong version of myself able to make decisions – even the touch ones.
I love these words from Deana:
You will find yourself very clear on the direction you want to go, even if you’re not sure of what it will take to get there, because you know WHO you need to be in order to get there.
Stop trying to fit in. If nothing else today, take some time to ponder this BIG question “Who are you?”.
I know by continuing on this journey, I will become the person God meant for me to be. Believe me, I am right there with you Working on making progress toward what I need to do in order to live out who I was created to BE !
Did you know….Perfectionism is mostly a women’s issue? I can’t say I am surprised. Think about it. How often have you hesitated to move forward worried about everything being just right?
We want our ducks all lined up in a row…
Let’s be honest, they seldom line up in just the right way or the way we think they should be. As a result we obsess over how we are doing at work, at home, in our relationships, with our weight, our hair, our kids. The end result is all of our JOY is gone. There is no time to relax because we are busy putting those ducks in a row. Which means there’s always more work to do to make things just right.
Do you wear perfectionism like a badge of honor? If you aren’t the one saying it, then I’m sure you know someone who has said it. When you (or someone you know) want to embrace the “I’m a perfectionist.” badge, consider this:
Perfectionism is self-sabotage. It’s fear.
For many of us, perfectionism means we are motivated by hard-working, high quality and conscientiousness BUT the truth is our real motivator is FEAR!
Do you also consider yourself a procrastinator? Do you claim to work better under pressure or you hesitate when trying to move forward? BINGO! Perfectionism is the reason why we procrastinate. WHY? We are trying to get all of those ducks in a row. We keep moving forward fearing whatever we’ve done, will never be good enough.
So what is the worse thing that could happen? Rejection. Disapproval. The disappointment of ‘failure.’ None of us like the thought of those words right?
What if you were to change the word “perfection” to “excellence”? There is really a HUGE difference between the two words. Excellence sets a high standard, but not so high it keeps you from moving forward. Perfectionism sets an improbable and often unobtainable standard which usually slows progress or brings it to a stop. Excellence is a value, a way of life. Perfectionism is a judgement from a critical spirit which rarely, if ever, is satisfied.
How do you know whether you are in a perfectionism or excellence mode? It is an energy which you feel. The energy of perfectionism is criticism, doubt, and discontentment. The energy of excellence is hope, possibility and growth. Excellence is about the journey to your destination – what you discover, how you grow, and who takes the journey with you.
Have you played the comparison game? I have been there, done it and gotten (multiple) t-shirts. So, if you’re comparing yourself to others, you’re operating in perfectionism. If you’re focused on being the best version of YOU, you’re operating in excellence.
You need to flip the switch when you feel the anxiety of perfectionism creeping in. Flip from perfectionism to excellence with these questions:
- What have I done well I can acknowledge and celebrate even if I feel like I’m “not ready yet” or “not done yet”?
- What good thing could happen if I decided what I’ve done already is enough and move on to the next step?
- What is my definition of “good enough”?
- What would happen if instead of fearing my efforts are not good enough, I had the courage to believe I am good enough right now, today?
- How could I have more fun while doing this?
- How do I want to grow as a result of this task?
I challenge you this weekend to pick excellence over perfection so you can make progress.
I have found the weekends are tougher for me then during the week to flip the switch. Crazy, right? During the week, we have a routine (work, kids, etc) but on the weekend there is less structure. Less structure usually means I am playing the woulda, shoulda, coulda game. What about you?
Take a few minutes today so you can identify at least one way perfectionism has you stuck. Flip the switch!
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!