Today we have a real treat, as Stephanie Martel of The Vibrant Living Project is here to share some words on a topic many of us struggle with on a daily basis: perfectionism. Her words ring so true and inspiringly — I’m thrilled to have her join us! Stephanie’s website is devoted to helping people uncover their true, authentic selves — it’s wonderful! If you like her post below, show her some love in the comments. 🙂
As I looked around my dreadfully disheveled and dusty home, I had a calming thought: things don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.
I recently moved from an apartment to a house and there were some improvements needed; we had to sand and paint and do some all-around adjusting of the space to fit our needs. As people stopped in to see our progress, the disheveled mess made me cringe a little–would our new neighbors think we were dirty rats? I instinctively thought about making it more presentable as I gave tours of the house, but realized it was a waste of time. Construction zones are meant to be messy.
Life often feels like one construction zone after another. We’re always in transition of some sort–changing jobs, partners, lifestyles, living circumstances, diets, attitudes, etc–we are constantly moving, learning and adjusting as we go.
But what happens when those constant adjustments feed your inner perfectionist to an uncomfortable level?
My perfectionist tendencies have often distracted me from being in the moment and enjoying things as they are. Change can be fun, but I sometimes find myself manipulating parts of my life, wanting things to be just so, that I miss out on the beauty of the changes. I often miss the point of the moment because I was focusing on the wrong things.
Like creating these new vibes in my new home–it was going to be either an inconvenient personal hell or an exciting creative opportunity–it was my choice. (And at times, I chose both.)
Trying to be perfect causes you to miss moments.
I don’t want to miss out on any other beautiful moments and I don’t want you to either. So here are some simple steps to help you back away from the inner perfectionist and learn to love your life in the moment:
- Remember that things are always changing. No matter how many times you try to get things perfect, they will inevitably change soon after. And sometimes that’s a welcomed gift–no matter what you’re doing, you know that soon, it will be different. You can ease up on the pressure.
- When that perfectionist tendency comes up, ask yourself: What’s really going on here? Because everyone has seen a dirty house and felt inadequate at some point in their life, so what are you really afraid of? When we are hiding our ‘stuff’, there’s always a fear of being exposed. Admitting to yourself the real reason you are being persnickety can help you address the issue and as a result, calm down enough to enjoy the moment.
- Know that everyone struggles like you. Even the Kardashians! There’s a lot of false advertising out there with social media and it’s easy to think that everyone else has got it together except you, but that’s just not true. Everyone struggles with fears and inadequacies; the sooner you recognize that, the sooner you can be kinder to yourself and get back to normal living.
- When in doubt, talk it out. Consulting with a trusted friend can make all the difference in the world. I was worrying about a money issue recently and divulged my fears to a friend; she told me about a similar scenario she went through, that turned out better than she had hoped. Hooray! It’s a lot easier to quiet your inner perfectionist when you know you are not alone in your struggles.
- Have a good laugh. Are you subconsciously orchestrating your life to the “T”? We make plans and the universe laughs; No matter how many details you fine tune, something will inevitably go awry. See this as a gift that helps you take a step back and see the big picture. You will be able to loosen the tightness of your grip, poke a little fun at yourself and laugh it out.
Next time you get caught up in the perfectionist trap, remember that people want to see the many sides of your life (including the messy one)–not the perfect yard or the amazingly clean house. And keep in mind: everyone’s too worried about their own stuff to worry too much about yours.
Perfection is overrated. The dust can wait.
Thank you Stephanie! Gain even more inspiration on her site, The Vibrant Living Project.