Chasing the Illusion of Perfection
In my mind and heart, I would like to believe I am a straight shooter. I have intentionally worked very carefully to be as effective and efficient as possible both professionally and personally. I named my company Personal Services Plus because I provide personal service to my clients, and it is my goal to go above and beyond what is expected. I try to under promise and over deliver so that my clients get more than they originally expected. I also tend to carry this same philosophy over into my personal life. I try to be available for my family and loved ones and help them whenever and wherever I can. The problem is sometimes I over-extend myself beyond my capacity. I was not purposefully trying to be perfect, but subconsciously I was pursuing perfection. Perfectionism is striving to be flawless. When we are chasing this illusion of perfection, we can become sensitive to criticism and begin to doubt our talents and abilities.
What I have come to realize is, I am not alone. There are many of us that strive for perfection every day of our lives and it causes us to not live our best lives. Do not get me wrong, setting high standards and aiming for excellence is a good thing, but perfectionism is dysfunctional. Because we live in a world of social media, we often compare our own lives to others and too many times we feel like we come up short. We need to give up our superhero cape and throw away the shirt with the big S on it and realize it is okay just to be your best you. Those that love and appreciate us are going to do so whether we get something just right or if we missed the mark. We tend to be harder on ourselves than how others judge us. It is time we give ourselves a little slack and learn to smell the roses and enjoy life more. If you cannot get everything done in a day, that is why we have tomorrow. I know that I have put extremely high standards on myself and sometimes I can be a bit critical when I do not live up to my own expectations and deadlines. I recently read that a meta-analysis study found that high levels of perfectionism were correlated with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, deliberate self-harm, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The persistent stress of striving to be perfect can leave you fatigued, strained, and suffering from headaches and insomnia. This study has convinced me that striving to be perfect can be dangerous and hazardous to your physical and mental health. This is not the legacy I want to leave for my grandchildren or as an example to other women and girls.
I feel this phobic pursuit of perfection affects women more than men. The media constantly bombards us with overt and subliminal messaging that makes us feel we have to be thin, beautiful, curvaceous, and flawless. These unrealistic expectations can often have disastrous consequences. Ultimately perfectionism holds women back from becoming their best selves. It is important that we as women stop putting pressure on ourselves to live up to the idea of being perfect because we are giving the wrong message to our daughters. The cycle must stop. When we are able to be our authentic selves, it allows us to surge in ways that cannot be stopped. We become unstoppable. Stop chasing the illusion of perfection and start pursuing the reality of you becoming your best you. After all, God broke the mold when he made you. You are one of a kind.
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Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker.