The paralysis of perfectionism
Growing up, I always loved doing things for other people. As a high achiever throughout high school and into my twenties, i was a people pleaser (still am..), and a dooer.. Thanks to both of my parents... I could get sh*t done! I always wanted to conquer more and be "better". I'd set a goal, achieve it and instantly set another goal.
Speeding through life, I wouldn't even take the time celebrate the achievement that I had worked so hard to attain...I was so consumed on what was next for me and doing, doing, doing. It's been a whirlwind of always wanting more and never seeing myself as good enough.
For years, I've held my head up with pride and 100% identified with being a perfectionist. I felt as though this was a desirable quality and absolutely strived to maintain this identity to my peers, friends and family. If I could complete a task "perfectly" without having to ask for help, never miss a workout, eat the "cleanest" (i could write an entire blog just on this illusion) ... if i could just be best and not make any mistakes.. to me, this was sheer brilliant success.
A wave of fear and anxiety instantly came over me when taking on new projects or being exposed new endeavors that I was not familiar or knowledgeable in.
It's only in the past year that I started questioning the idea of perfection and how this brought on so much inner turmoil into my every day life.
For me, living in this "perfectionist bubble", brought on TONS of fear and anxiety... The fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, the fear that if I did not achieve this goal or "look" a certain way. Fear that I was not worthy of love, unless I was "perfect".
So i did what most type "A"personalities would do...., i made all efforts to control all ellement of the world around me. I'd (try) to control my diet, exercise routine, workflow at the office, everything... When things fell outside the lines of these routines or my scope of expertise... yikes! It would get...well, let's just say messy :)
I felt that "if I could control everything, there would be an unknowns, no curvervballs... everything would be... Perfect...Right?
well unfortunately ( i see this as fortunately, now), life doesn't work that way. There will always curve balls. Things out of your conrol, things you don't know how to do, people you may not agre with, unexpected challenges.
Things that would go through my head (and still do...)
I don't know how to do "X"....
If i ask for help, does this make me less than?
What if I fall flat on my face?
What will they think of me?
What if they see my flaws?
What if I am not good enough?
Here are 4 tips to help YOU break through fear & perfectionism:
Try something new! Is there something new you'd like to try? What makes you curious? Follow that! Maybe it's a new recipe, trying tennis, a hip hop class, or knitting! Whatever makes your slightly curious.. just go with that! We have a tenancy of putting so much pressure on the outcome of the event (what if i don't like it)? Who cares! If you don't like it, that's ok! Now you know:) Stepping out of our comfort zones and exploring something new can trigger something much bigger that you might actually LOVE!
Allow yourself to be a beginner - If you try something and you're not good at it...cut yourself a break. Why would you be good at it? You are new! Think about how many times you would have fallen on your knees and bum when you first learnt to walk. Allow yourself to be a beginner... and Is there something you'd like to try? Knitting? Tennis? Photography? a hip-hop class? Just try it! And if you don't like it... who cares! Now you know ! You never know what you'll explore within yourself. When we learn, we are stimulating so many sense and receptors in your brain. Try new things and just have fun with it!
Ask fore help. Similar to a lot of you, I also identify with being independent. There's a big part of me that thinks that I "should" be able to do anything and everything on my own. Nope! That is not how life works ! When you're struggling with something, it does not make you "less than" to ask for help. We can learn so much from one another so don't be afraid to lean in for support and tap into each other's resources.
Acknowledge the fear - Fear only has as much power as you decide to give it. For example, if you have fear around an upcoming event. You keep worrying about it, thinking about all of the things that "could" go wrong, play through all sorts of terrible scnarios in your mind (our imaginations can be our worse enemy some times)... In these moments, acnowlegde the fear. Talk about it with somebody you trust and can confine in. And if you feel like you can't speak to anybody about it...Gosh! Talk to yourself about that fear! Speaking about the fear and just allowing it to be there, gives it less power. It doesn't seem so real anymore. The "worse case scenarios" are usually not that bad.. Just give it a try next time.. and see if it is helpful for you. .
If i am not careful
I can let fear run my life
If i am not careful,
she will flood her way
Over the river banks of my life.
I can let the identity of being "perfect"
block me from trying anything new,
I've done this
for so many years.
I no longer want to live in the shackles
i choose to show up.
As thee best version of myself.
I give it my best shot.
Ask for help.
Flirt with curiosity.
Lean into the discomfort.
that I am enough.
-the paralysis of perfection
J, Mona Marie