Hi. I’m Kate. A recovering perfectionist, over-thinker and over-analyzer. While I would never claim to be perfect, the quest for perfection would consume my every thought. What should I be doing? What should I have said? What if I don’t make the right decision in this very moment and fuck up my life for the next FIVE YEARS?!
One day I woke up (exhausted) and thought to myself, “When did I become like this?” Perfection obsessed, burning the candle at both ends, and thinking EVERYTHING to death?! After a couple of minutes of reflection I realized, I’d been that way my entire life. I had been living my life under the notion that I should constantly achieve more, do more and if I wasn’t doing I was failing. It was in that same moment of reflection I realized it would never matter how many improvements I made or tasks I did in a day. I would never be satisfied because I was constantly at war with myself. If i’m being honest, I was kind of miserable. If I’m being really honest, I was kind of miserable to be around.
After a lot of soul searching and many open conversations (and some tears) with my husband, family and closest friends I decided no more. I decided I didn’t want to look back on my day and think I didn’t do enough or that I wasn’t enough. I wanted to celebrate what I accomplished and mostly to be happy within myself. Is anyone in the same boat?
Overcoming perfectionism, like any other addition, is a struggle every day. For the better part of the last year I’ve made a conscious effort to change my thought process to free myself from my self-imposed ridiculous standards. While I am far from “cured” I challenge myself to the below everyday to keep some perspective.
Enjoy the Process
As human beings we are constantly evolving and learning. Taking yourself SO seriously and thinking you’ve got it all figured out and will never make a mistake is kind of fucking ridiculous. The choice is ours to take mistakes and look at them as a positive experience to grow and become a better person as opposed to viewing them as these devastating moments that are impossible to recover from. In evolution there is power. In growth there is power. It’s kind of the best, so why wish it away or waste it? Take the good with the bad and remember every situation is temporary, take nothing for granted.
Did you royally fuck up at work? Were you binge watching Bravo when you should have been tackling your to-do list? Were you an asshole to your sister for no reason? That’s okay. Some days are better than others. Instead of trying to control everything around you, or incessantly beating yourself up after a less than stellar performance forgive yourself. Accept flaws, mistakes or mishaps. Instead of looking back on instances wishing you had better control over your environment focus on handling your reactions. Do so by committing to doing better, to be better and take a step in the right direction to literally move forward.
Prioritize Yourself and Your Important Relationships
I have a bad habit of prioritizing work over my personal life and my relationships. Because I get so much fulfillment from my work I tend to put 100% of my energy into it, leaving very little bandwidth for anything else. Our ever-growing culture of “busy” wasn’t doing me any favors. It took me WAY too long to realize life doesn’t revolve around work. At the end of the day I couldn’t help but have a feeling of emptiness. Life should revolve around the people in it. Friends. Family. Significant others. People you love. Allocate time for your relationships and for yourself – with no expectation attached. Show care, concern and genuine appreciation.
Goals are Guides NOT Absolutes
Remember that goals are meant to guide your actions, not determine your self worth. Guide meaning that goals help set your path to self-improvement and aren’t the end-all-be-all where if you don’t achieve them means you’re a terrible person. You are more than your goals. You are more than your achievements. Whether you’ve achieved a particular goal is not as important as the steps you take while you progress towards it. Remember that phrase, it’s not about the destination so much as the journey, or something like that? Same thing here. The real aim in life is to grow and work on your best self.
Even though overcoming perfectionism is seriously hard, it’s so worth it. While being perfect seems perfect…it actually sucks. Finding peace within yourself is what feels so good. A weight lifts. Everything comes into focus. It’s easier to be present. Like I said, it’s so worth it.