“Once you’re done being perfect, then you’re good.” I was listening to a podcast the other day with Jen Hatmaker and Glennon Doyle and felt socked in the gut when I heard Glennon share those words. Because I got it. Deep in my heart I understood what she was talking about. Having spent the majority of my life striving for perfection, I am tired. And the thing about it is, you never really reach perfection, because it’s based on someone else’s standards. I’ve learned you’ll never meet those. It’s impossible.
In the last year, however, I’ve been working on giving up being perfect. Straight up truth is, I’m not. No one is. We’re all one step away from a hot mess, and half the time, I feel that’s where I’m squarely sitting. That’s what life is. We go through the hard stuff to get to the good stuff. And that’s what I’m starting to experience. Living in full awareness of my messy life and not trying to ignore it or get away from it. It leads to so much more, the good in life.
I think that part of getting away from perfection and towards good is moving away from feelings of shame. Shame is something that we’ve all experienced it. Brene Brown studied it, speaks on it, writes about it. Her work helped me understand that shame is the feeling that you’re a bad person versus having done a bad thing. I was pondering that this morning and had another sock in the gut moment.
One of the worst things anyone could ever say to me is that they were disappointed in me. It is crushing to me. Causes me to lose all sense of self confidence, self-esteem. Today it dawned on me that I interpret someone being disappointed in me as “I think you are a bad person.” It clicked…and when it did it was as though another layer of me was shed. A deeper understanding of myself and my wiring was reached. So what do you do with that? With the past messages you may have received? For me, I’m trying to reframe them. Thinking that in those instances I may have done a bad thing, but I’m not, nor was I, a bad person.
I also realized this week that part of perfectionism for me was really not trusting myself. Constant striving. Always doing what I thought I was supposed to do to color within the lines, to follow every rule. There’s very little independent thinking or reasoning when you’re sticking to the plan. So now, I have to ask if I really trust myself. My own decisions. I think I do trust myself when it’s something I know well, like work, but personal things are a lot harder. I question myself a lot and have a hard time getting to an answer at times.
So what’s so good about all this? Well first off, I’m realizing it. I’m making my own choices. Living in my mess knowing that good is going to come from it. Letting go of the impossible burden of perfectionism. Learning to trust myself and in the process trusting others more. And the truth is, I don’t believe I’m alone. I believe that the experiences I’m having, the realizations, are the same that others have…once you’ve lived for a while. The challenge is to not only be aware of the messages that have been programmed, but to choose different to think differently. To make decisions for my life based on what is good for me now – not what I think should be good for me now. To listen to the truth. As with anything else in life that’s worth it, I’ll have to work at it. How about you? Are you ready to believe in yourself? Trust yourself? Get to the good stuff? Let’s do it together, be brave together.