Do you ever mess up? The way people treat ourselves you would think that nobody ever did. We over analyze, pick apart our work, make sure we get that last 5 percent of 100, and get mad when we fall short. Who’s fault is it?
I’m not sure whose fault it is but perfectionism is one of the things that comes with living in our society. We live in a place that doesn’t like mistakes. We don’t like 2nd best. We don’t like “good enough.” If you are trying to get in shape or lose weight, maybe you don’t QUITE make it. There is always doing something better or faster than you. Maybe in your job you pressure yourself to perform perfectly. I am a business marketing and management major and I see how things work in that world. Everyone is competing and analyzing their own process making sure that it is top-notch and that things are continuously improving. Is your car clean? Is it REALLY clean? Because I think you missed a spot over there.
What about mistakes? This is different but related to perfectionism. We act like it’s not ok to make a mistake every now and then. A lot of people get down on themselves when they make a mistake. It’s all this performance minded brain at work.
In short, we are human beings here. I mean honestly. We are human beings here. People know that on a conscious level but I think many of us forget that in the core of who we are. We treat ourselves more like robots than people sometimes. Monotonously working the same dull jobs, doing the same workout routines, eating the same food. Take a look at extremely wealthy people. It would seem that they have this just as bad. All the money in the world can’t fix the problem here. What is the problem?
We are not robots. We are flawed. We are imperfect. We make mistakes. We fail. We have impure thoughts. We give in.
AND THATS OK.
Whatever power made us, we came this way. A lot of problems in this country are created because people don’t really accept themselves on a deep level. But do you see how it’s impossible to accept yourself when you demand things from yourself that are impossible to get achieve? You hear horror stories of gorgeous models with eating disorders and bad self-esteem. Extremely intelligent people wondering why they got an A on that test instead of an A+. I have heard of housewives that vacuum their homes 3 times a day. 3 times a day. Are we really helping things by doing this?
I believe we came from a powerful, free-thinking group of people who made hard work a very important part of this country. I have nothing against hard work and I work hard every day of my life right now. What I am talking about is a switch out of fairy tale land. I am not perfect. You are not perfect. We are not perfect. So what do we do about all of this? Here are some tips that can help you stop attempting (and failing) at being perfect in whatever you do in life.
1. Accept your humanity. This is probably the hardest one. Accept that you DO make mistakes, have flaws, faults, imperfections, etc. When you start facing up to yourself as you are instead of what someone wants you to be then you regain a lot of power.
2. Stop searching for approval from outside of yourself. Do you see how this is counterproductive? Here, I have a job for you. Get approval from everybody. It won’t happen. So spend time being yourself and doing what you like doing. Maybe you realize you don’t need that brand new car to impress the neighbors. Maybe that gives you more time at home with your kid.
3. Find out WHO you really are. Are you the guy chasing material wealth to impress everybody? Are you the girl looking for attention by dressing provocatively? Do you really like what you put yourself out to the world as? Or is that just what you were raised to be? Find some new hobbies. Get HEALTHY. I promise you that you won’t know who you truly are until you get healthy. People do not spend their lives in terrible relationships, become overweight, and work jobs they hate when they are healthy. Figure out where your life is off-balance and start creating a plan to fix it (yes, it’s ok to make mistakes here too).
4. Adopt the 90/10 rule. Aim for that A. Not the A+. In mathematics there is a term called an asymptote. It basically means that you will get closer and closer to a goal without ever actually achieving it. Do you have a perfect diet? If your “perfect” diet creates a lot of mental/emotional stress it’s not really a perfect diet is it? Allow yourself cheat days, leave a spot on your clean car. Don’t mind vacuuming that hard to reach spot in the corner. If you feel weak today, don’t push yourself at the gym.
5. Be HONEST with yourself. Deep down, most of us know what we really want. We just can’t always accept that. For instance, I want a basically simple life full of good relationships, good family life, good food, and the outdoors. Fishing, biking, kayaking, hunting, gardening, working out, career I feel passionate about, and outdoor space are some things that top my list. But it took me awhile to get there. If you feel really down about your weight or about your financial situation, don’t hide that from yourself. It’s a part of you. We get into trouble when we are not honest with who we are or what we are capable of. Don’t try to lose 50 pounds in a week. Don’t try to fix a wrecked relationship in a weekend. Look at where you are at now honestly and go from there
6. Now for the kicker. While trying to break your imperfection, refer to #1. It’s easy to get mad or frustrated when you let this habit get the best of you. It’s a hard one to kick as it is so ingrained in our psyche from birth. But it is possible. So in your quest to become imperfect, don’t try to be perfect in your goal.
Ok. So the ironic thing here is that when we strive for “good enough” we usually actually achieve MORE. Kind of an oxymoron i know, but it’s the way it works. By allowing ourselves breathing room in our everyday lives, we are motivated to keep moving. We look at the progress we are making and not the 5% we didn’t do. I mean really, there are so many people striving out there. Let’s take the bar down a little bit and come back to planet earth for a little while. What is something you would like to try to not be so “perfect” in?