Have you ever felt like your face was burning and all of a sudden you had a little shortness of breath? Your ears start ringing, your heart beats a little faster and all you want to do is find the nearest corner and hide away from the rest of the world. No, you’re not dying and the world isn’t ending – you’ve just made a mistake… Welcome to the world of a perfectionist.
Can you relate to any of this?
I have to tell you, it took me a LONG time to finally admit that I was a perfectionist. Well, let me rephrase that – to figure out that it actually wasn’t the best thing in the world. (I used to brag about being oh-so-perfect in my early job interviews like it was the best thing since sliced bread). Even now, as I start this new venture to pursue my dreams and start my own creative business, I’m feeling that flush face some days – and no jokes, there are days where I just want to hide under the covers all day long.
Putting yourself out there and making mistakes is SCARY. Admitting that you don’t have it all figured out is terrifying.
But, let me tell you something: I’d much rather feel scared and unsure and be REAL and make mistakes, than feel like I’ve constantly got to have it all together and figured out. Because seriously, who does?
Perfectionism really SUCKS.
It stresses the calmest of us out and makes us think we can be bloody superwoman. Because… we’re fed the lies and constant social media highlights to believe this. Pick up any women’s magazine, check out any major female Instagram influencer… the list goes on.
TIME TO WAKE UP
Yup; thank you Brené Brown for finally opening my eyes properly to this madness over the last month. This woman. Oh my goodness, if you haven’t read any of her books or watched her YouTube videos, your life is about to change quite a bit – in a GOOD way (I’ll leave a link to her Tedx Talk that got me hooked).
Trying to be the perfect woman, the perfect wife or girlfriend, the perfect friend, the perfect employee and coworker, the perfect entrepreneur… the perfect person is flipping draining.
When did trying to be a good person = stress and feelings of never being good enough?
I swear, they need to teach this in a class at school – and not just five minutes in life skills, thank you very much. Like actually reinforce this kind of thing over and over and over again.
We are GOOD enough, dammit. Stop with the “everything is so perfect”, already.
I put a lot of pressure on myself because I’m so ambitious. Add to that being an INFJ and HSP (basically, I feel all the feels and pick up vibes like nobody’s business). For years I thought I was never doing enough and always comparing myself to people who appear to have it all together.
But you know what I realised the other day?
NO ONE has it all together. Honestly… Everyone is going through something, as cliché as that sounds, it’s the truth. We’re all doing the best we can. But goodness me, does social media make us feel like pieces of you know what sometimes.
Aaah good old Instagram and Facebook.
They sure do pick us up with motivational quotes and the like don’t they? But gee whiz… these places are the worst when it comes to comparing ourselves. Because we do, automatically without even realising it. Well, at least I tend to do that. And, I’ve been researching this a bit – just go and Google; it’s been proven that these social platforms tend to spur feelings of depression like no other. Frankly, if I could, I’d spend all day on Pinterest, thank you very much. But that’s not exactly realistic when you’re just starting a new website/biz.
So what do we do to stop this unrealistic desire to be perfect?
While I don’t have a magic answer for this, I do have a few things I’ve been trying that are really helping me and I thought I’d share some of them here. I’m not going to lie – it’s a daily work in progress; but my stress levels haven’t been this low in ages and I feel… lighter. Happier. More at peace with who I am. So here goes – hopefully you can grab bits from here (or just go watch that Brené Brown video I’m posting below!).
3 Ways I’m telling perfectionism to p%ss off
- I’m forcing myself to laugh when I make a mistake. Okay, not laugh every time, but most of the time (it’s hard!) Otherwise, I repeat this: “Pain, pain, pain” – it relates to feelings of being vulnerable and it sounds silly, but it actually helps. I heard Brené recommend this and thought I’d give it a try. It just sort of shifts your brain away from your mistake and onto something else. Even though there is no pain – you’re distracted and then you can just carry on with your day like it was no big deal.
- I’m OWNING it. I’m openly admitting that I’m not perfect. This is REALLY hard. But you know what? The more I do this in small steps, the more I realise how many other people are going through the same thing. It’s opened up my world to a lot of like-minded people and I love that. I believe that when we’re honest and our true selves, we attract the really good stuff, people, and situations.
- I’m choosing FLOW over force. Since leaving my job, I’ve felt this overhwhelming need to get it all done right now and do it perfectly – like I’ve got to prove myself or something. But that’s not very realistic. And it’s bloody stressful. Trying to force something that isn’t meant to be – or just not right now – is NEVER going to work. And you want to hear something crazy? I made this decision yesterday. I felt so calm and at peace with it. And then this morning, I got a message right out of the blue… an opportunity. How insane is that? My two cents for today? Just stop fighting to be someone you’re not or somewhere you aren’t and just BE you and BE in the present.
We’re all put on this earth for a reason with our own unique gifts and purpose – we will be where we are meant to be when the time is right; we just need to trust and embrace the journey.
Patience is not my cup of tea, but every day I’m learning that this whole entrepreneural thing is a marathon, NOT a race.
Trying to be perfect is not pretty.
It’s ugly and stressful and frustrating and depressing. Because “perfect” doesn’t exist – so you’re always striving for something and never feeling satisfied with the outcome. So I plead to you, the undercover or recovering perfectionist reading this – EMBRACE the beautiful, imperfect, wonderful person that is YOU.
Embrace the flow. Enjoy the journey. Realise how special you are and how much the world needs more of us to just chill the duck out and be more ourselves. And stop putting this insane amount of pressure on ourselves that we don’t even need to!
I promise, it’s a LOT less stressful.
Give it a try, you never know who else might be going through a similar journey and needs a little inspiration to help get rid of that perfectionism “cape.” Baby steps, little daily habits is the best place to start. Oh yes, before I forget… here’s that video, enjoy!