“But it has to be perfect!!” I hear this all too often from many of my clients, expressed matter of factly from my younger clients, and in much subtler ways from my older clients. Whether you’re 10 years old or 30 years old, perfectionism can take hold and wreak havoc on your life. Perfectionism boils down to one simple concept: having extremely high expectations for every single aspect of your life. From grades, to job performance, to extra curricular activities, to how we present physically and emotionally…you name it, perfectionism can have a hand in it. Often my clients tell me if it’s not perfect than…”I will be really sad,” “the world is over,” “it’s one more thing I have going against me,” “they won’t like me”. When I dig deeper perfectionism takes root in the human need to belong, to feel accepted, to feel desired by others. When I dig deeper I find incredibly beyoutiful people that are afraid of being vulnerable. What would happen if you went to work with one hair out of place? What would happen if you went to school without a perfectly plastered face of makeup? What would happen if you missed the 3-point-shot in your game last night? What would happen if you made a mistake in a report and your supervisor or teacher noticed? What would happen if you underperformed this quarter, with your personal or professional goals? I challenge you to think about these scenarios. Really deeply think about yourself in one or all of these story lines. What ACTUALLY happens? Many of my clients would immediately interject and say something along the lines of, “It would be terrible!” or “Well, I would never ever allow that so why are you even asking!?” but I am asking. I am asking because it’s crucial that we think about this logically and begin to break the viscous cycle of relentless standards we place on ourselves. What actually happens is that no one will mind your hair out of place (and honestly, if they do mind, be weary of holding them close to your heart), someone will likely tell you you’re naturally beautiful without makeup, your team would help you out because IT’S A TEAM, your supervisor would point out the mistake and allow you to learn and grow from it (and if not, please consider your job placement or speak with your teacher’s boss), and you would do your best to meet the goals next quarter (because frankly all we can do is our best). I pose these resolutions because they are highly probable. Not only are they highly probable, but they too are moments of growth. By allowing ourselves to make mistakes, by allowing ourselves to live outside of the elusive world that is perfectionism, we GROW. We grow as people, as colleagues, as friends, as students, as partners, as family members.
Each moment of imperfection likely came from a moment that we opted for vulnerability at some level. Moments of vulnerability allow us to open up to the world, show our true colors, and maybe just maybe learn something profound along the way. It does not make us weak to be open to making mistakes, it makes us courageous. We learned to walk as infants by falling, stumbling, and getting back up. We learned to ride our bikes with skinned knees and several attempts before realizing exactly how to create the balance necessary to stay upright. We landed our dream job because we took a leap of faith and reached out to someone in the industry that could have very well ignored the call, but found us bold and offered us an opportunity. There’s a saying, “nothing worth having comes easy.” It is far easier to journey down a straight and steady path than it is to follow a winding, yet wondrous road. But what are we missing by choosing the straight and narrow? We have to ask ourselves, what lies in the literal curves of life? Beautiful lush landscapes, peaks as tall as the skies, snow covered trees, sunsets that move mountains..I beg to argue, some of life’s most beautiful treasures lie in the curves, just as life’s most precious moments lie in letting loose and letting go.
So get out there and be imperfectly perfect. Make a mistake just for the sake of making one. Feel the liberation that comes with letting go of the vast bar you’ve set for yourself in life. Honor your inner wishes even if they don’t align with what is “expected of you.” I promise, the world will not turn on you if you try. #perfectlyimperfect #livebeYOUtifully