Ready to feel inspired? As 2016 rushes past our eyes, you may be wishing that the year was looking a lot different than how it is. But as Life and Business Coach Reina Pomeroy so beautifully reminds us that maybe it’s just about time to stop chasing perfection and start focusing on the good moments in our lives.
And the result of switching your thinking? As you’ll find out from reading on, the outcomes can be pretty darn great.
“If you’re anything like me and many of my clients, you’re a pro at chasing perfection. We idolize those with a stunning Instagram feed, a picture-perfect home; looking like it belongs on HGTV. We wish that every day, we woke up looking like the women in magazines, like there was always plenty of money, plenty of gas in the car, plenty of time to lose the weight we’ve been meaning to – that it would just be easy – #lifegoals.
But let me ask you; when did it become so darn hard? When did it become that a “good life” was attaining that Instagram and Pinterest-perfect life?
Brene Brown says in her epic book, Daring Greatly, “you’ve knowingly or unknowingly attached your self-worth to how your [life] is received. In simple terms, if they love it, you’re worthy; if they don’t you’re worthless.” You want people to care about you. You want to be relevant. You want to belong. We ALL do. We all want to feel a sense of comfort knowing that we are enough, imperfections and all.
It’s utterly exhausting to constantly chase perfection. Because perfection is subjective. You’re trying to please everybody, and if you ask any person in a position of power or authority at any level, they will tell you that it’s not possible to please everybody.
And as a health side note, perfectionism is correlated with depression, anxiety, and addiction. It’s harder to make decisions because of constant comparison, feeling like you’ll upset or let others down; or worse, regret your decision based on what you think others would choose.
What’s possible if we stop chasing perfection?
Notice that our lives are pretty awesome
Have the capacity to be kinder to those around us
Notice that we have the ability to make an impact in the world
Make brave decisions
Realize that what we have is enough
Believe that we are enough
Gain more self-confidence
So how do we fight our urge to chase perfection?
Realize that it’s NEVER as easy as it looks – even for those who you think have “perfect” lives. When you see somebody who you perceive to be “perfect,” know that they have their own struggles. Despite how easy something looks like in their lives, you never know the kind of burden they carry in other parts of their lives. Simply put, it’s useless to compare.
Talk openly about the vulnerabilities of not having a perfect life – more people seeing that life isn’t always picture-perfect will give others comfort. For women, what imprisons us is the collective facade that life should look perfect and that it should come easy to us. The only way that facade (as a whole society) gets cracked open is if we start talking about it. It doesn’t make you weak. It makes you human. Normalizing our daily struggles can help empower a fellow comrade to tell her story, too.
Do things that are “good enough” – Good enough is embracing that you’re doing the best you can. That doesn’t mean you can’t strive for better, but it also means not beating yourself up over “failure.” Good enough means you understand that you can do better but you don’t have to hide if you didn’t achieve perfection. You’re making progress and you should celebrate the small successes.
Don’t quit things because it wasn’t perfect – You know that resolution you made? Or the journal that you started? Or the gym membership you bought? Or the morning ritual that you wanted to implement? Did you give up one day because you forgot about it for a few days in a row? Like it’s not perfectly done so it’s ruined? A 20-minute walk is better than no trips to the gym. A salad with a little more dressing than your nutritionist wants you to have is better than binging on burgers and fries (but we also need burgers and fries sometimes). An imperfect piece of art that gets assembled is better than that massive art exhibit that never gets created.
Give yourself grace – When it feels like nothing is going right, your attitude can make the biggest difference. Grace is a powerful tool. Whether you ascribe to the religious definition of grace or not, cutting yourself a little bit of slack makes it easier to live life that isn’t shrouded by fear or rejection. As long as you’re truly doing the best you can, let your foot off that gas a bit, love.
Focus on others – When you focus on how you are deficient, it’s incredibly difficult to pull yourself out of that dark hole. One way that helps to get out of that mindset is to focus on serving others. For one, it helps to get your mojo back and for a better reason you can focus on giving your energy to a cause other than yourself. Service is a shift in energy spent, and it can be restorative in getting you out of that hole. And the best part? While you’re spending times helping others, you typically feel really good about yourself, too!
Get clear on what your goals are – When I look back on my journey of chasing perfectionism, it was enlightening to realize that my goals weren’t actually my goals. I chased a life that was completely foreign to me. I did a lot of work around what success looked like for me. I asked myself a lot of questions about what my values were and what life I wanted to live. While I do want a clean house, I realize that it’s not my priority while I have a young kiddo. Getting focused on what outcomes I did want helped me to get clear on what expectations I could cut out of my life.
Believe the amazing things that people say about you – I encourage all of my clients to have a “rainy day folder” for any nice comment people send them. It can be a screenshot of a text message, a photo of a card they send to you, it can be a comment on your Facebook page. Choose to believe those words. Most women, in an effort to “stay humble,” reject these acknowledgements. The difference between a compliment and an acknowledgement is the key to unlocking the acceptance. A compliment can be temporary and is not necessarily a reflection of your character. An acknowledgment is an observation of truth of your character and how you show up in the world. It’s the difference between, “that shirt looks great on you,” versus “your energy lights up a room.”
Believe that you are enough – Chasing perfection, we learn the message that we are not enough. Our cellulite, our wild hair, our noisy giggle, our timid personality are made to feel inadequate. Celebrate your uniqueness, your authentic voice. Know that you showing up and giving to the world is enough. Your presence, your kindness, your passion, your humor, it’s enough. You can have 10 people tell you this, but you are the one who needs to start believing it. Instead of wasting energy worrying about what you aren’t, you can spend time sharing with the world what you are. And you are enough.