Paralyzed by Perfect

Confucius once said, “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” 

Yet, why do so many of us feel confined by our world’s definition of perfect? Why are we so afraid of putting something imperfect out into the universe?

My journey with perfectionism began a long time ago…

When I was in 3rd grade, I had the best teacher, named Mrs. Mauer. She was the epidemy of that Maya Angelou quote “people won’t remember what you say, do, but they’ll remember how you made them feel…” 

She had a calmness about her and  you could tell she really cared about her students.

My parents went to a parent-teacher conference with Mrs. Mauer, expecting a glowing review. 

Instead, she expressed a deep concern: “Kelsey spends too much time perfecting every assignment. This behavior could profoundly impact her education and may keep her from reaching her full potential.”

And so my battle with perfectionism began. 

What does this LOOK like? Perfectionism is always related to a desired outcome you are hoping for. So when the outcome doesn’t go as planned, it may look like this….

  • Missed the deadline
  • Forgot the information
  • Sent the e-mail to the wrong person
  • Said the wrong thing
  • Typed the wrong thing
  • Lost a check
  • Didn’t make the sale
  • Came across the wrong way
  • Embarrassed myself

But what it FEELS like, is “I am not______________enough”

  • Smart
  • Thin
  • Hardworking
  • Assertive
  • Successful
  • Retaining information
  • Creative
  • Fashionable
  • Confident
  • Doing

It’s not a healthy way to live and grow. It’s a shield of 20 tons that people put on themselves, thinking it will protect them.

External pressures, added weight, life’s stress.

We tend to think if we do things perfectly and look perfect, to the outside world, we can minimize or avoid the pain of guilt and criticism from people. 

When in reality, what it does is prevent us from seeing ourselves for who we really are.

What happens is as we get older, the weight often gets heavier. Career, spouse, family, so many more commitments….

Being too hard on yourself can cause you to feel mental and physical stress. 

Some signs you’re being too hard on yourself include engaging in negative self-talk or having trouble sleeping.

Someone once told me, life’s too short to be taken too seriously. 

And my someone, I mean my mom. 🙂

Do you consider yourself a serious person? Do you find it hard to let go when something goes wrong?

Embracing perfectly imperfect:

Music is a ridiculously huge passion of mine. I loved to sing and dance growing up and I started to learn the violin when I was 7.  

My teacher was named Mary Anne Kohls. 

She was jovial woman, and always had the biggest laugh. 

I mean – the loudest laugh I had ever heard. 

Yet, she also was very tough. One of the things she would always get so upset with me for was this…

I’m playing a song and I’m maybe even halfway through, and all of a sudden I play a big fat wrong note. 

The second I play that wrong note,  I would get upset with myself. Take a deep sigh. And go back to the beginning and start over. 

“You can’t do that!” she would say. 

But to me, messing up meant I had to fix it. It meant I was a failure. 

It meant I had to go back and get it PERFECT

Through lesson after lesson of being told I was absolutely not allowed to go back and fix my wrong notes, I finally began to understand.

You see, it was better for me to play through my mistakes, than to have to have a perfect performance.

In fact, my performance seemed MUCH more perfect by me just moving through the song, than by going back and redoing it.

Have you ever witnessed someone performing and asking to start the song over? Humiliating right?

Well, sometimes you may just need to press reset.

But ask yourself, where in life can you play through your mistakes, and stop being such a perfectionist?

You’ll be amazed by the “rhythm you can create” by simply playing through your mistakes and stop trying to have everything so perfect.

Feel like perfectionism has you in a headlock? Schedule a FREE reignite your engagement call!

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