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Just Say No to Perfectionism!
"I've always compared myself to the 'PERFECT-ME.' The one who does it all, has it all, and makes no mistakes. No more!" ~ Sean Stephenson
I came across Sean Stephenson's quote recently as I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed. It really sums up what I've been doing for so darn many years I lost count. I honestly felt as though I needed to be a perfect version of me to be worthy of love, affection, and all the good things in life.
Before happening upon this quote, I'd already resolved very firmly to leave behind feelings of guilt, shame, unworthiness and self-loathing when 2013 ended. Honestly, I really started digging in and letting go as of December 1 (my own personal "new year", being that my birthday is on November 30) with the aim of fully letting go as of January 1, 2014. And so far so good.
That's not to say it's been easy, a walk in the park. Nope. Each day I get up with the same determination. The determination that my thoughts will not control me, nor will I try to control them. Rather, I remain aware of what I'm thinking, how I'm feeling, question whether what I'm thinking is even true, and then guide my thoughts another way if they're heading south.
For example, I've taken a complete NO EXCUSES approach to my workout schedule as of December 1, and as of today, February 2, I've successfully completed a 63 day workout streak (and yes, rest days are scheduled and count toward my streak, in case you wonder). Each day, I get up and the part of me who is comfortable in her comfort zone would prefer to just skip it. Just for today. She always reassures me we will get back on it tomorrow. Yeah, I've heard that line before, far too many times. I can't trust that thought.
- It is OK to make mistakes!
- It is OK to not have all the answers.
- It is OK to NOT compare yourself with others.
- It is OK to be fully 100% yourself, flaws and all!
Then there's the part of me that tries to tell me that there are far more pressing and important things to be doing than taking care of my body. I listened to that voice for much of 2013, and really believed it to be true for most of that time. This is the same voice that convinced me that it was more important that my husband's and children's needs came before mine, rather than each of our needs being equal. No longer can I trust that thought either.
There's the thought that's like an indignant three-year-old. "I just don't wanna!" accompanied by folded arms and a foot stomp. For us parents, do we give in to our children when this is their response? Especially if it's something important. Nope, we don't. And so, this thought is not even considered.
And so on...
(Shameless product plug: Though this is a book geared toward children, adults often take a great lesson from it also. I highly recommend it! -- Tiger-Tiger, Is It True?: Four Questions to Make You Smile Again)
All of these thoughts have their roots in FEAR, and in comparing myself to this perfect version of me. The one who makes no mistakes. Ever. The one who's the perfect mommy, the perfect wife, the perfect business owner. The one who never has to clean up after her messy mistakes and human errors. Essentially comparing myself to someone who will never be. I'm breaking free from perfectionism in 2014!
Thing is, I've found through trial and error, that if we have the right mindset, we can still aim for achieving our very best in any area of our lives without driving ourselves crazy and bringing ourselves down because of the "Why try? I'll never be 'perfect' anyway" attitude (self sabotage, self-defeating thoughts, starting something new and giving up because it's hard, etc.)
As my mentor and good friend, Regina Cates, advises, "Question a mind with a mind of its own." In other words, don't always believe every thought you have. Make sure to evaluate your thoughts for truthfulness, for validity, for your own best interest.
In kicking self-sabotaging thoughts and actions to the curb, you become stronger, more disciplined. You spend less energy beating yourself up and have more energy to devote to the things that will build you up.
As for me and 2014, it's a year of confidence. A year to be unapologetically me, to share who I am with you, and no longer feel guilty, ashamed, embarrassed, or unworthy for not being "PERFECT-ME". No more!
Thanks for joining me on this journey.