Stop Being Perfect
It seems that perfect people surround us in the workplace, in our social lives, in who we compare ourselves to physically, and in our parenting circles. No matter where you turn, there is someone there who is thinner, more successful, more organized, or a better parent.
I don’t know about you but I fluctuate between beating myself up over my flaws and exhausting myself trying to do it better. So, when I entitled this ‘Stop Being Perfect’, I knew just how impossible that seems to some of us, and yet it is imperative that we learn to do it.
An unhealthy focus on striving for perfection is stressful at best and can allow numerous health and emotional problems to thrive.
Here are a few techniques you can try to give yourself permission to be just above average.
Be Critical of Others
Don’t tune me out yet. Most of us compare our worst characteristics to other’s best characteristics. A neighbor may have such an organized household that the spices are in alphabetical order while your pantry looks like something off of Hoarders.
What you don’t think about is that the very same neighbor can’t cook boxed macaroni and cheese properly while you place near gourmet meals in front of your family nearly every night.
By allowing yourself to look at your neighbor realistically, with the same critical eye you use on yourself, maybe you can begin to cut yourself slack.
Focus on One Thing
Everyone has something they do well and many things they do mediocre, and maybe even a few things they really stink at. The trick is to spend the least amount of time possible on things that you don’t enjoy doing and that you really aren’t great at.
Learn to accept the dust on the ceiling fans so that you can sew that designer wardrobe, for example.
When that voice in your head begins to list all of the things you don’t do very well, come back at it with the things that you are very good at. Make a list so that you’ll have it when you need it.
Sometimes when I look through a magazine or watch a movie, I am totally jealous of actresses that are close to my age. I mean, have you really looked at Valerie Bertinelli? Actresses and models seem to defy the passage of the decades and look 25 or 30 forever.
You have to realize that a lot of that is camera magic, along with enough money to pay for as much nip and tuck as necessary to maintain the look. Most of us are going to age sooner or later – exact timing dependent on genes and lifestyle.
Your children may not be straight A students, they may prefer piercings and purple hair to the clean cut look of your cousin’s kids, but they may also be extremely talented musicians or wonderfully compassionate workers for social reform.
Realistically, you can’t know what types of successes are in your children’s future, or what failures lie in wait for their more perfect peers.
Perfectionism will actually hold you back from many of the things you long to do. Take small steps to overcome your perfectionism and you’ll find yourself much closer to your goals.
photo credit: M. Markus