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Why would anyone want to be less than perfect? That would make life easy, right! It seems like the easy road – but it’s that harsh inner voice telling us to be perfect that destroys us and keeps us from following the amazing path before us. Striving and driving yourself to perfection actually destroys you. It has at times stopped me from making art, kept me from intimacy, and kept me from building relationships. I didn’t want to show up unless I was perfect and it stopped me from doing so many things. I turned down a lot of opportunities to ensure that no one found out how imperfect I was.
People say “Strive for excellence!” Let me tell you – perfectionism is unrealistic. Those perfect dreams and perfect relationships and perfect life that you are trying to achieve – it’s worthless. Because it can’t and won’t be perfect! Striving for perfection is painful, isolating and paralyzing. I am sure that you can look back to a point in your life when you wanted everything to be perfect and it was a task that took a toll on you. We have to let your perfectionisms go little by little. It doesn’t mean that we have to stop trying to achieve greatness – just know that if you screw up along the way, you pick yourself back up and keep trying. You will never achieve fullness in all of you while trying to be perfect. You will never be able to love fully. You will never be able to give fully.
So how do you avoid perfectionism and the control it has on your life?
1. Normalize your expectations, don’t perfect them! Realize that your family is messed up, but so is everyone else’s. Mixed feelings, resentment, and emotional baggage are typical issues of all families. Repeat that – ALL families. No one is immune to resentment and emotional baggage.
2. Accept your lot and the imperfections that you bring to the table. Extended family and friend idiosyncrasies aren’t intended to make your life miserable even though it may feel that way. Even though you may disagree, you need to have compassion. Acceptance takes friction away, or at least lessons the feelings of that friction.
3. Practice proven coping techniques. You can’t pick your family and you can’t change them either. The only thing you can control is your reaction to behaviors that sometimes drive you crazy. The more you pick up that rope and pull on it, the more you fuel a fiery situation. There are times you may want to YANK that rope so hard and prove that someone else is wrong; but it doesn’t work. It only makes things harder.
4. Avoid embarrassment. The less you say the better. Someone else’s actions are not a reflection of you but harsh words that you speak ARE a reflection of you. Sometimes it’s better to stay quiet versus voicing your anger and frustration.
5. Help yourself through humor. If I wasn’t laughing most times I would be crying. Silent humor is a great tension release that helps you feel adult and powerful rather than trapped and powerless.
I am trying to apply the following things knowing that this is a constant struggle for me EVERYDAY. I am not perfect in anyone’s eyes and I will never claimed to be. Join me in letting go of the perfectionism that keeps us from living a full life.
Kick perfectionism in the ass and let that shit go!!