Letting go of perfect
I need (it) to be perfect. How often does this thought cross your mind? Weekly? Daily? Hourly? Does it even leave? So many of us paint a picture in our minds of what we should be like and what our lives should look and feel like. But what happens when life doesn’t go according to the picture in our head?
When life twists and turns what often disappoints us is the reality not matching up to the dream we had in our heads of what it ‘should’ be like.
We paint pictures for ourselves of our perfect job, partner, birthday, wedding – and often, these pictures set us up for unexpected failure as real life often doesn’t match this ‘perfect’ picture.
The definition of ‘perfect’ is having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be. In short – complete and absolute.
And life, humans, we’re just not like that. People will disappoint you. On your wedding day, someone will forget to put the flowers in the exact spot you asked for. The job will have days where you want to throw your laptop out of the window. Your partner will leave the house untidy and you’ll want to scream.
So what do we need to do to embrace life as it is?
Test your picture perfect
The first step to embracing things as they are is to understand what picture you have in your head and where that may differ from reality. There is nothing wrong with striving for things to be the best they can be – in fact, striving for things to be as good as possible pushes our boundaries and limits. But be realistic. What can you really control? What can you influence? Where can you really have the most impact? Share your vision of how you’d like things to be and set yourself realistic goals and monitor your progress.
Embrace plot twists
Life rarely sends us things we can’t cope with. Even the big, scary, awful life events that some of us face, within them we find the strength we didn’t know we had, friends we didn’t know would be there and opportunities to learn and grow we would have never have experienced otherwise.
No one likes a plot twist (apart from on Game of Thrones …. but that’s another blog). When life starts to veer off the carefully crafted path you’ve created actively look for the positive lessons and opportunities. That’s not to say ignore all the challenges and pretend it’s all rosy, but even in the darkest night the stars still shine.
“You were born to be real, not perfect”
Your worth is NOT dependent on you being perfect
This I struggled with for years. I told myself I would only be accepted, loved and valued if I was perfect in every area of my life.
My room had to be immaculate, I hated dirt or mess either on my clothes or belongings, my body had to look like the women in the magazines, I had to achieve all my targets at work. I cried if I got a B.
I spent so many years trying to validate my existence by achieving perfection in my life that I neglected what was most important – life. Being real, authentic, loving, imperfect – not only did it take a weight off my shoulders, it gave permission to those around me to do the same. The shift in mindset created a big shift in all areas of my life.
Freedom comes in letting go.
Photograph by Anthony Ginsbrook via Unsplash
This can be harder than it looks. We’re often taught not to be arrogant or boastful and so we often underplay our achievements and progress. Especially if you’re a woman.
However, taking time to acknowledge our progress and how far we’ve come gives us a sense of achievement and encourages us to keep going. The celebration can be as big or as little as you like, I created a little celebration menu for myself so when I hit a milestone I choose something from the menu to celebrate with. Try it!
Perfection is an illusion
Photograph by Lucy Williams via my heart skipped
Whilst perfect can feel alluring and necessary, to achieve perfection assumes there is nowhere left to go, that you have everything and it’s all complete. Life just simply isn’t like that. There’s almost always something new to learn, somewhere new to go.
So I challenge you to challenge your picture in your head, the words you tell yourself and embrace life in all its messy, chaotic beauty.
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