One of the outlets in our kitchen broke this week and now the microwave is in the 100% wrong place on the counter (for 4 days, but who's counting?), instead of the cute little nook where it actually belongs, until the electrician can come fix it.
Dear Electrician; if you are reading this, PLEASE come today. x
You guys.... it's been ROUGH.
Every time I walk into the kitchen the 1st thing I see is this microwave in the wrong spot.
And if you are like, "Who cares??" I understand this logically and agree in theory....
But if you are like, "That would put me over the EDGE", You are my people.
My son's friends came over yesterday and I found myself delivering a lengthy explanation to these 10 year olds - who could not possibly care LESS about our microwave placement - about why the microwave was in a different spot.
Because God forbid these boys think I don't know where a microwave belongs, or that my kitchen is messy or disorganized??
And it got me thinking about all the ways I want things/people/experiences to be a certain way (ie MY way, ie the RIGHT way - see how fun and carefree I am!), so I can be happy, feel good, proud, and/or valued.
Perfectionism at it's finest 💃
But we know perfectionism is a double-edged sword.
When 'healthy', it can be self-motivating and an important driver of success.
When 'unhealthy', it can be a fast track to unhappiness, low self-esteem, comparison and people-pleasing.
I'll let you guess where most of us fall on the spectrum here....
We often think of 'perfectionists' as the typical high strung A type who is completely off the wall and needs everything to be just so or their world will come crashing to a halt.
But of course, WE are SOOOO not like that.....
But what if we were??
What if perfectionism showed up ALL THE TIME in more subtle ways like:
Writing and re-writing that two sentence email to your co-worker over and over (...and over again) until it's just right. And then, reading it a few more times even after you sent it just to be sure #whyamilikethis
Checking every mirror before you leave the house
Throwing out the batch of cookies you made for the CHILDREN at the book fair because they were a little too crispy 🍪
Requiring near constant reassurance, approval and/or validation to feel confident, smart, beautiful, talented, loved, worthy etc...
Quitting the new hobby you really enjoyed because you aren't as good as the person sitting next to you who has been doing it daily for 20 years
Last Supper Mentality - "Today I'll just eat everything in sight and then tomorrow I'll be 'good' "
Avoiding friends/staying home because you have a pimple on your chin, or your hair looks weird
Obsessively cleaning and organizing
Setting impossibly high standards - "Well, of course I can work 80 hours a week, have a thriving social life, and stay fit, healthy, strong, and calm" 👑
Doing everything you can to 'manage' people's perception of you..... Think: being overly accommodating, apologizing endlessly even when you did nothing wrong, saying Yes when you mean No etc...
Constant people pleasing 👋🏼
Seeking out endless comparisons on social media - both in ways that others are doing 'it' better, and ways that you are
Skipping the workout because you don't have a full hour, so you might as well not even bother
Feeling that the vacation is ruined because the hotel room looks 'quite dissimilar' to what it looked like online
Self-worth that is inextricably tied to success, your appearance, or what you can do for others
Excessive self-criticism and/or lack of self-compassion - How could you make such a stupid mistake?!!
Running yourself ragged making everything homemade for Thanksgiving dinner, Girls Brunch, or your kid's birthday party, because... God forbid someone knows you bought the cupcakes? 🧁
Not speaking up in the meeting because you just played a self-doubt loop in your head and talked yourself out of it even though you have a great idea because... "What if someone judges me?"
Obsessively cleaning out random drawers and closets ahead of a party just in case anyone looks in them (saying this for a friend 😎)
Giving up on your dream because you don't want to be seen as 'starting out'
Underneath all of these things is that nagging fear that if we don't do it all perfectly (and also somehow effortlessly, but that's a talk for another day...) they will 'find out' about us.
And we won't be loved, accepted, valued, cared for, thought about etc...
Our worst fears realized.
How many of those examples ring true for you?
I know... me too.
"It's about progress, not perfection"
Image: Renee Irving Lee
Writing this post has helped me learn a few things.
One of which is that I have a super fun and 'complicated' relationship with perfectionism 🤗
The second, is that there are ways to address it.
Stay with me!
There are many ways to understand and begin to dismantle the power of perfectionism in your own life including:
✨ Awareness is power - just begin to notice when and how perfectionism shows up in your life is an incredible first step
✨ Focus on learning rather than getting it 'right'. I LOVE this. What could happen with a mindset shift like this ✨
✨ Challenge negative thoughts - Just because you think it, doesn't mean it's true
✨ Sit with the discomfort of wanting something to be perfect.... and realizing that it isn't and that's ok - Meditation can help here 😉
✨ Bring self-compassion to the situation - try a simple mantra like:
I am more than my appearance/smarts/career/success
Not everything deserves 100%
It's about progress, not perfection
Done is better than perfect
And my FAVORITE mantra for when I'm getting caught up in perfectionist thinking.....
Good Enough To Move On
I wish I could remember where I first heard this a few years back..... but I'm in my mid 40's now and I can't, so... 🤷♀️
Remember GETMO (say: Get-Mo) when....
✨ Your shirt is wrinkled
Spray a little wrinkle releaser on it (or change it, tuck it in, or pretend it's not there) and get on with your life!
✨ Your Linked In post used the word 'interesting' twice instead of another adjective
Start planning your next post, or quickly fix it and don't stress if anyone 'saw', literally no one cares but you.
✨ You forgot to salt the water and now the pasta tastes bland
Remind yourself it's a Tuesday night and this is what it is right now. Throw some parmesan cheese on it and call it a day
✨ The birthday gift looks like it was wrapped by a small child... because it was
Top it with a piece of candy and the receiver will never even notice the wrapping - this has been extensively researched by my family and is now a proven fact
✨ The spoons aren't lined up perfectly in the drawer
Uhmm... fix them, obviously 😉
I know..... it's easier said than done.
Just being aware of all the ways perfectionism shows up in your life is HUGE.
Give yourself some grace that you're trying your best.
Give a little space where you can, (horrific gift wrapping, your kids have the same clothes on for 3 days), and work to recognize where it still feels... sticky (messy spoons in a drawer, hangers lined up just so in the closet).
It's about progress, not perfection.
Hope your day is beautifully imperfect 🤍