Give up perfectionism, gain authentic joy.
It seems that everywhere you look, perfectionism is idolized and encouraged. We have an expectation that we should have perfect homes, jobs, kids, or relationships. If this harmful thought pattern is left unquestioned, we can tend to expect perfection from ourselves and create stress-filled lives that never feel like enough.
We are encouraged to give 150%, in everything that we do. Everywhere we look, the message is, “There’s always room for improvement and therefore we should strive to try harder, work more, after all, you don’t want to be a failure.”
Living life from a place of perfectionism limits us to the self-imposed boxes we have created for ourselves and we can find ourselves blocked, anxious, and worn-down.
Perfectionism is not only unattainable, but the never-ending pursuits can also be exhausting. And it’s from this weary place that we begin to see through the illusion of perfection. We find that everything is in a state of flux with shades of gray interwoven and that nothing is ever really perfect.
Resistance only slows down the whole process of becoming who we are meant to be.
Personally speaking, I’ve found that embracing my whole self imperfections and all has made space for a more authentic, joyful life. When the need to attain perfection arises, it can be helpful to remember that perfectionism is growth prohibitive and at its core is an attempt to avoid pain, rejection, and failure. It’s not inherently bad, just limiting and possibly self-sabotaging.
Through serious introspection, I’ve also learned that perfectionism may have helped me in the very short-term, but it didn’t help me be happy or authentic, or last in the long-term.
I was keeping myself in a bubble, staying safe and clinging to a false belief of control, which isn’t attainable anyway. From this, I realized that at its core perfectionism is a deep desire for love, approval, and acceptance, internally and externally.
Life is the ultimate practice and it’s completely normal to make mistakes, It’s just an opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive.
Here are three ways to combat perfectionism that have enabled me to live with more heart and from a place of compassion with myself (and others).
1. Be mindful of your surroundings. Who you surround yourself with matters. Just as emotions and reactions can be learned behaviors, so is perfectionism. Make a healthy decision to dedicate your time to people, things, and places that are supportive and compassionate. Think about what you read, watch and listen to, is it conducive to a healthy mindset? Pay attention to how you feel and spend time with people who are living a positive, empowered, and healthy life with room for errors.
2. Live with authenticity by accepting and believing in yourself. Make your own path by standing up for what you believe in. Know that when you do this, perfectionism becomes less important than the actual action, task, or result.
3. Persevere and build your mental strength while knowing that you are worthy of compassion and forgiveness no matter what. You decide where your life is going and understand your own inherent value as a person regardless of perfection.
4. Give up resistance. Surrender and simply let things be what they are. Let life take it’s course and thing s turn out how they will. We were not made to control everything around us, but to experience it and grow. Let things come to you and give up the need to control, and life becomes more straightforward and joyful.
Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are. — Chinese Proverb