Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

A few years back I dabbled in a post about perfection, how growing up I tended to be a bit of a perfectionist. But after I read Brene Browns, The Gifts of Imperfection did it really click.

Perfection is more about perception. I always wanted to highlight myself in my stellar  moments, the all around having it/doing it all image. Boring. The problem is that I was trying to be perfect. I wanted others to perceive me that way. Perfect is not real. It’s not attainable. We kill ourselves (stress) to come across or obtain the perfect life, so when we fall short we drag ourselves down. Perfection does not equals long-term results or change. It leads to shame, guilt, and fear. We’re sucked into a spiral of depression as we can’t live up.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive. But there is a difference in striving to be better or doing my best than trying to be perfect. You see the trying part there? Like I’m trying to fit in or playing a part. I’m not focused on doing my best. On being my highest, truest self. On focusing on my own unique gifts and talents. I’m conforming to others ideas of perfection. So then I must go back to the Four Agreements: always give 100%.

Stop with the perception. Although, something else I took away from Brown’s book was how to stay true to yourself and BE vulnerable. Raised to be tough and not cry, vulnerability I admit is something I have/do struggle with sometimes but I am light years better now than I used to be (which is all I can do, life is about progress and practice). I would either care too much about what others were thinking or I’d apply the old ‘fuck it, fuck them’ mindset. Black and white. No in between. But Brown made me aware that it’s okay to feel hurt. Last week on my business blog someone had left a comment that I sucked. I admit I took it personally, it hurt my feelings and I went through numerous rebuttal scenarios in my head but settled on deleting it and not responding. Because my reaction mattered to me. I can’t be angry at that person, but I can be hurt. When you put yourself out there, when you risk being vulnerable, you’re subject to criticism and judgement. As much as I want everyone to realize the one love I’ve come to cherish and the consciousness not to judge, it happens. But I can’t let it stop me. I can’t stop writing or change my writing to please everyone. If someone doesn’t like it they can go to another site or not read it, but I have to be true to myself, rather than pleasing everyone. I don’t want to be safe or comfortable. I want to be challenged. That means being vulnerable. Opening myself up, allowing myself to be exposed. For people to know my true thoughts and feelings. To see my imperfections. To be judged and ridiculed. What Brown said:

Courage is telling our story, not being immune to criticism. Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.

So be courageous. Shout your story for all to hear. Put yourself out there and allow yourself to feel if you are judged. Stay connected, don’t run and hide or numb yourself.  Don’t worry about a perfect perception, but DO strive to do your best!


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