2017 is the year I fully realized with every fiber of my being that perfection did not exist; and I had a problem with it.
perfectionism: the refusal to accept any standard less than perfect
In January, I attended a specialist college in Nottingham called the Recovery College, which offered rehabilitation and short courses and classes for recent mental health patients.
I decided to attend a half day course entitled ‘Dealing with Perfectionism’, before this point I’d always referred to myself as a perfectionist in a light hearted manner to friends or family, never really considering the extend of what perfectionism entailed.
Signs of perfectionism
- High expectations for yourself
- Need to please others
- Fears of failure
- Goal driven
- All or nothing thinking
- Feel you’re letting others down
I began to piece together that for a long time perfectionism had been the motive behind a lot of my behaviors.
How many times had I refused to start something because it would not be perfect? How many times had I unnecessarily criticized myself? How much weight had I put into my ability to ‘achieve’? How many times had I avoided something due to the fear of failure? Or take a risk?
I’m sure anyone reading this would identify with at least one thing from that list.
That’s when I finally concluded; that try as I might, perfect does not exist.
Yes, it’s taken me this long. But if you don’t realize you have a problem with perfectionism how can you even truly and wholeheartedly realize that perfect will never come.
‘Perfectionism is not the path that leads us to our gifts and to our sense of purpose; its the hazardous detour.’ Brene Brown
Perfectionism is more of an issue than you’ll realize, with social media, celebrity culture, the need to obtain an image and be considered ‘perfect’ is a pressure every young person succumbs to. How many times do you take that selfie?
My goal now is to live authentically (which in itself isn’t perfect at times) It’s difficult; difficult to change and modify mindsets and behaviors that have been a disease on our mind for so long. But whenever I find myself slipping into those perfectionist mindsets, I remember the weight that is lifted from my soul when just starting is enough, when wrong is sometimes good, when I actually have nothing to prove to anyone.
Authentic living is simply being free to truly be yourself with no judgement or shame. No pressure of ‘should’. The courage to recognize however you show up in the world is enough.
Letting go of perfect is scary; its letting people see you fall flat on your face, stumble and mess up. It’s being uncertain, out your comfort zone and really, letting go of any expectation and accepting things for what they are.