Perfectionism: An elusive destination

August 3, 2017

Welcome back! I hope you're having a fantastic summer! I'm so excited to share this blog post with you as I feel that this is one of the main foundations of how I live, love, parent and run my business.

 

But it wasn't always that way. 

 

Ever heard the saying "I've never heard of any life transformation that didn't begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullshit."? It took me about 25 years to get out of this downward spiral of perfectionist thinking and unlearn what I thought was okay/acceptable. This is true of a lot of things, but especially when it comes to perfectionist thought patterns.

 

Like many, I used to be a perfectionist. I worried about my appearance, the way I did things and the way I handled myself. I felt trapped and felt that I wasn't truly myself. At heart, I'm a very loving, chill, quirky person, but trying to be a perfectionist made me feel anything but. I often felt angry and anxious about even the smallest details and I think a lot of those thoughts stem from my childhood and having certain people in my life that often made me me feel like I was too boisterous, fun-loving and loud, which, for a long time, made me feel like I wasn't allowed to be myself; wasn't allowed to be authentic. I suffered from anxiety for years and never truly felt happy.

                                              "Perfectionism doesn't make you feel perfect,
                                              it makes you feel inadequate." ~ Maria Shriver

Slowly,  as the years went by and I became a mom, I realized I didn't want to transfer this type of perfectionism/self-hatred/low self-esteem thinking onto my son. I wasn't expecting him to be perfect, so why was I expecting this from myself? Becoming a mom also made me realize that even when I wasn't even close to being perfect, I was still loved/lovable. I was allowing my son to make mistakes and learn from them, so why wasn't I allowing myself the same courtesy? I also knew that if change was going to happen it would have to depend on me and no one else. I could point fingers and blame certain events from my past for "making me the way I am", but trust me, it's a much more rewarding (and effective) transformation if it comes from within.

                           "If you treated (or talked to) other people the way you treat (or talk to)
                                            yourself, what kind of relationships would you have?"

When I first started consulting with clients five years ago, I had this idea that I had to be perfect in order to be a good role model. And while I did establish great relationships during that time, there was still something missing. I felt like I was only scratching the surface of the connections I was trying to make with clients and I wanted more from myself, for them. I wasn't just there to give advice, I really wanted to make clients feel a certain way - to feel like they mattered and that they could be real with all of their imperfections.

 

See, we spend a lot of our time and energy trying to be flawless, but as I learned to be comfortable with the feelings of being uncomfortable in my imperfections, something changed and I started to open up.

                                     "A perfectionist pardons everyone's mistakes but his own"

Many clients come in with this all-or-nothing attitude. They feel that if they can't do the Simply For Life program 100% (spoiler, not one client ever has, not even me), they would rather not do it at all. This is such a flawed way of thinking, but unfortunately it's become one that's all too common and it probably (as my example shows at the beginning of this post) stems from much earlier in that person's life. I guess it also depends what you would consider "perfect". All my clients know (or at least I hope they know by now, since I spend about 90% of my energy on this topic) that as long as they can eat well around 80% of the time, they can (and should) treat themselves the other 20%.

 

What! you say? A nutritionist that doesn't condone healthy eating always? SCANDALOUS!

 

Before you alert the healthy eating police I want you to be aware of how much depriving ourselves is harmful in the long run. Now I'm not saying that we should eat ice cream for breakfast everyday and that we can just give in to every temptation that arises, but I do think it's important to have an occasional treat. While a person might follow a specific nutrition plan/menu perfectly for a week or two, the fun doesn't last, they start to feel trapped and rather than having that occasional treat, they throw in the towel and say, " well, that's not achievable, I'll just go back to the way I used to do things." That's why I don't believe in diets (*shudder - the "D" word).

                                           "Perfectionism is often an excuse for procrastination"

The bottom line is that perfectionism gives us nothing in return. Not one thing. It takes away from our relationships and our authenticity and replaces them with feelings of low self-worth, stress and anxiety (comparison does this too, but more on that another day). As the quote above says, we often hold off on doing something because we fear we won't be able to do it perfectly (how many of us have done this?). But wouldn't you rather give 80% effort to something and get somewhere, than give it no effort and get nowhere?

 

So here's your challenge for the month ahead: STOP PROCRASTINATING! Make a list of things you've been putting off for fear of not doing it 100%. Maybe you've always wanted to run a 5k but you know of others who can do it within 30 minutes and you fear you can't even come close to that. Or maybe you've always wanted to try meditation, but you're afraid you won't be able to sit still for a minute, let alone 30. Just try. Starting somewhere is better than not starting at all.

 

Have a great month! :)

 

 

 

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