Breaking free from the 'perfect' myth
Do you believe it’s possible to be perfect? To achieve the perfect body? Eat perfectly? Get the perfect job?
I hate to break it to you hunny but if you’ve got any of these ‘perfect’ thoughts going on in your head they’re likely creating more harm than good.
Perfectionism is a myth - it simply doesn’t exist. Except that’s not what society tells us every day in adverts, movies and on our Instagram feed. We’re sold the idea that if we can just work out more, eat less, buy more… then we’ll reach the heady heights of perfectionism… but therefore be worthy of happiness, love and all the great sex etc that we deserve now. face palm
Not only does perfectionist thinking keep us down and stop us embracing our lives as they are now - but it's highly damaging belief system.
It fuels the thought 'if I can look perfect and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimise feelings of hurt, shame and judgement.'
What happens when we fail in our pursuit of the goal we want is, instead of looking at our idea for perfection, we see ourselves as the failing. Which ironically, only leads to more shame, hurt and judgement.
This all equals a shit ton of 'I'M NOT GOOD ENOUGH'
If we want to break free from these not good enough thoughts - we need to learn to see the beauty of our imperfections.
We have to learn to talk to ourselves like we would to someone we care most about in the world.
Not only do we have to learn how to cultivate kindness towards ourselves but we have to learn to 'own our story' as vulnerability and shame researcher, and queen, Brene Brown says. Either we can push away the bits of ourselves we don't like and don't fit in with who we want to be - 'hustling for other's approval of our worthiness... a never-ending-performance'
Or… we learn to lean in to the discomfort that we are who are are and that is enough.
One place we often see perfectionism appear without us even noticing is with exercise. How many times have you not done ANYTHING because if it's not a 1 hr sweaty slog it's not good enough. When in reality, 15 min walk at lunch time would actually be super beneficial for your mind, body and soul.
Or how about those of us who never invite our friends over for dinner because we don't think we're a good enough cook?
I say, fuck it, get everyone to bring a dish and enjoy the beauty of connection and imperfection.
I was taught from a young age that if I could just get first place then the more worth I’d have in the world. But what happened was that I’d often come 3rd and feel a failure. (The biggest ‘failure’ of this nature in secondary school being the time I was awarded Head Prefect instead of Head Girl or Dept Head Girl... what a blow that was to my self esteem at the time. wtaf lesson is this giving to our children to cultivate this much competition at a young age)
I took this perfectionist attitude to university where I actually don't know what would have happened to me if I hadn't achieved the grade I wanted for my degree.
We're not given the tools to see failure and imperfection as opportunities for growth, learning and cultivating self-compassion.
Now I don't believe in failure. In my opinion, there is nothing in life that can't be an opportunity for learning.
Now I don’t believe in flaws. Getting over body hang ups is a bitch - to stop the thoughts that your body is covered in flaws is one of the hardest things to stop doing in life. But they’re made up imperfections by advertisers trying to sell us shit to make us happy - when all they’re doing is profiting from our insecurities. I refuse to put money into these fat cats pockets anymore, so I battle hard against my demons.
How i battle my thought that tell me I’m not good enough is by showing myself heaps of kindness. I also tell myself that perfection is a powerful way of judging myself (bullying myself really) and it’s a myth I no longer want to play into) And lastly, I remind myself that I am not alone in this - everyone is struggling through their own hardships around their body.
These three things really help me create a kinder place to live in my mind and body.
How does perfectionism show up in your life? Catch the judgment and see how it feels to try and be human - soften into it.
Find out more about my 1:1 coaching programmes which specialise in helping people let go of body insecurities and grow self-compassion and kindness.