Yep, that’s me and I’m proud of it. I wasn’t always this way though. I have spent a lot of my life striving to achieve in school, in my career and in sports. While achieving goals isn’t a bad thing, it was the reason underneath it that wasn’t doing me any favours. I was trying to be perfect and ace my exams because I thought it would make me feel worthy, that I was good enough. But it was a false sense of self worth I was getting and didn’t fulfill me the way I wanted. Once I realized what I was doing, it gave me choice about whether achieving was what I really wanted or what I felt I “should” do.
Perfection is a major roadblock to moving forward. “I’ll do that once I lose 10 lbs.”. “I’ll apply for that job once I take another course”. If I waited to be perfect before I did anything, I’d be sitting on my butt forever. Motherhood doesn’t allow you the luxury of waiting until you are perfect. Thank goodness! You are thrown into motherhood once you give birth to that bundle of joy and that bundle can’t wait until you are a perfect mother before you step up to the plate. It’s on the job training. Learn as you go. It makes me sad to see moms that feel they have to do everything perfectly and beat themselves up when they don’t. If only they knew how amazing they are instead of focusing on what they aren’t perfect at.
What the heck is perfect anyway? Whose standards was I trying to live up to? Who decides what perfect is and who made that person the one who knows? It’s crazy when I really think about it, that I was striving for something I’m not even clear on. And yet I know I’m not alone in this scenario. A lot of moms I have talked to feel like they have to be superwoman and excel at everything or what are people going to think of them? We tend to have these unrealistic unattainable expectations for ourselves. We are our harshest critics. Seriously, other people don’t care if I am perfect at everything I do. Beating ourselves up triggers our brainstems to release a cascade of chemicals that cause us to feel fear and anxiety. Talk about self-infliction! Being more gentle and forgiving with ourselves brings more peace and calmness into our lives. And if the self-infliction isn’t bad enough, every time I beat myself up, my children learn to do the same. If I am overwhelmed and stressed most of the time, my girls will feel that energy and learn that that is what is normal. Nobody benefits from perfection. I don’t want them to grow up thinking that they have to be perfect. That is an insane amount of pressure and it just sets them up for failure because it isn’t attainable. That alone has been great incentive to drop the perfection and just be me, warts and all (I’m talking metaphorically!) They just want the real me anyway, not some perfected version of me. So yes, they have a wackadoo mom but nothing compares to the beaming smiles on their faces when I’m being goofy and silly dancing with them. They love it! They will also know that mom is not very good at housework and arts and crafts but that is OK! Our imperfections are part of what makes us unique along with our strengths. Now that I have started to embrace my imperfections, I realize how much energy I was investing in trying to be perfect. It is exhausting! Have I embraced and accepted all of my imperfections? No, but remember I’m not perfect:) My life now has much less stress and is a lot more fun. I also still have goals I would like to accomplish but not to make myself feel deserving or worthy. I want to accomplish them because they are in alignment with my values and desires and because I want to make a difference. It has a completely different energy to it and it feels good!
Bottom line – life is messy! Dive into the muck and get dirty! It’s way more fun than trying to clean it up all the time. Letting go of perfection is one of the greatest gifts I have given myself. Could you imagine if everything in life was perfect? Borrrring!