Be happy. Be brave. Be free. Be perfect. One of these things is not like the others…care to play along?
One of them is not possible. It is a lie. And it prevents us from being free, brave and happy.
You guessed it. The lie from the pit of perfectionist hell, which haunts our every move and questions our every achievement, keeping us perpetually insecure: be perfect. Not only that but it also prevents us from doing brave things, taking risks, reaching out to find our happy. Because failure is not perfect, therefore risking it is simply not allowed. It binds us as soon as we want to be carefree. “Hell no!” perfectionism perfectly chants – “you cannot be carefree like that! You need to be perfect. Fix your hair, dress up nice, smile pretty and say the right things – then you can be carefree.”
I don’t think perfectionism understands the meaning of carefree. Or free for that matter. Or happy.
Truly, it wrecks more lives than bad hair days and wardrobe malfunctions combined.
You see, when you allow perfectionism in, it doesn’t arrive alone. It brings along its BFFs fear and depression. In its entourage you will also find self-hatred, constant comparison, low self-esteem and anxiety. It’s a motley crew, and trust me, you don’t want to invite them in. Because once they get comfortable, you will be their slave for life.
Nothing will be good enough. You will try, and try and try…and they will never be satisfied.
They will whisper behind your back. They will sabotage your work. They will make rude jokes and ruin the moment. Every moment.
They will shut you down and poison your everyday with the lies that you are not good enough, you are doing it wrong, you are messing up, you are less than so-and-so. You NEED to make your meals look like this website. You NEED to dress like this model. You NEED to get an A+ not just an A. You NEED to throw the pinterestest birthday party for your kid. You NEED to get that raise at work. You NEED to hide those wrinkles and grays. You NEED… it’s exhausting.
And when they aren’t ordering you about, they will twist everything good and wrap it tightly in insecurity.
Isn’t that lovely, they will condescendingly say,
just too bad you didn’t think to…
Don’t you look nice, they will smile,
but are you sure blue is your color?
Nice job with the report, they will acknowledge,
except maybe next time you could try it this way instead…
Seriously, tell them to SHUT THE FRONT DOOR on their way out.
Perfectionism is a stress monger, a liar and a fun-killer. But it will keep snapping the whip until you send it packing.
How can we defeat this monster we were raised to believe was the key to attaining all good things? From our delicate feminine youth, perfectionism was hailed as the golden calf. We worshiped it. We looked to it to deliver all of our wants, needs and desires. How can we uproot something that runs so deep?
We definitely can’t do it alone. This calls for some powerful company: invite in better friends.
We want authenticity, vulnerability and gratitude to hang out with us. Then invite self-love, self-acceptance and courage to join the party. These are the wise, beautiful ones who will gently yet firmly escort out the cohort of misfits who came in with perfectionism.
I may not wake up picture perfect but I am creative, caring and daring.
I may have made a mistake but it’s because I took a risk and tried something new and therefore I GREW today.
I may have that whole conversation with lettuce in my teeth but I can laugh at myself and move on. Call it a human moment. It happens. Enjoy it. Embrace the fun, quirky, imperfect person that you are!
Then change your routine up a bit.
Respect yourself enough to get to bed on time, put time aside to relax and recharge, smile at yourself in the mirror, start the day by saying THANK YOU.
Be gracious to yourself and tend to yourself as if you were your own friend. No more slave driver. Embrace everything about you! Learn from your new friends.
Behaving in these ways, although they will seem strange and unnatural at first, are the keys to being able to someday call yourself a former-perfectionist, and only by the grace of God and the mercies He gives can we claim to be otherwise. Be free from the lies that have suffocated your joy and your power. Enjoy yourself! After all, you are stuck with you. And in the end, that is a wonderful blessing.