14th March 2022
What is perfectionism and how is it quantified?
Well, let me tell you what I believe.
To me perfect is unattainable and not sustainable and quite frankly striving for it is dangerous to our mental health and well-being.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve what you have and wanting to change and grow, but who’s to say that what you or others have is perfect. There will always be more to have, always more to do and always more to want. Therefore perfect, to me at least, doesn’t really exist.
We live in a world where we only get to see the bits of people that they want us to see. We are all guilty of it. Who wants to put everything out there? All the ugly parts of us, all the mixed up and messy parts of us. Not many of us, that’s for sure. So why do we try and compare ourselves to those around us and in the media? It just doesn’t make sense. That’s not the real them. It may look perfect from the outside but, take a scroll through your social media and have a look at how many times you’ve commented or posted something REAL about yourself and then take a look at how many posts are just the good bits or even just a little bit exaggerated in order to follow the flow of striving for perfection. Perfect Mum day, perfect children, perfect job, perfect car, perfect home perfect partner. I’ve posted like that but actually…….. I have none of those and I don’t want them. I like the messy, messed up life I have. Yeah its hard sometimes but its so much easier than trying to be perfect. That’s just exhausting!
I gave myself permission a while back to just accept me and my family and my circumstance for what it actually is. Some days aren’t great and some days are awesome. But there is never a PERFECT day. Something will happen. I could stub my toe, it could rain when I’m at the beach. (great funny story about that one with my son – I’ll save it for another time though). I could burn the dinner, forget to wash the school uniform, or my ostomy (who I call Stan) could decide to play up. – The list goes on – believe me.
When these things happen, I try and remember what my therapist said to me many moons ago when I was in training. …………..
“Its just a bad 5 minutes, the whole day isn’t bad”.
That stuck with me and, although it can be difficult sometimes, I try and catch myself in those BAD moments and say it to myself. Then I ground myself and carry on. But again, I’m not perfect so this doesn’t necessarily always work. I don’t always believe it. Especially when its one thing after the other. (we all have days like that right??) . But then I change the script a little to….
“Its just a bad few hours or day, the whole week won’t be like this”
It’s times like this that I stop and take stock of all the small things that made me smile or went my way. My son took his bowls and plates from his bedroom and washed them up – WIN!, My partner texted me a few kisses because he was thinking of me – WIN! All the traffic lights were on green this morning – WIN!
It’s the small wins that keep me going. Not the thought of perfect.
I recently joined a group for therapists and the lady that runs the group likes to say
“Done is better than perfect”
Perfect drains me, perfect exhausts me, perfect is not attainable or sustainable!