Ever since I was young, I lived out my days with a slightly compulsive obsessive, perfectionistic view on how things should be. And, at the time, I excelled in living like this.
These days, I try not to be perfect. I try not control a situation. I try not to be compulsive obsessive.
It started when I discovered my love for drawing. I would spend hours at a time illustrating, focusing on capturing the finest details and colouring in between the lines. I was praised by my teachers and my parents for these paintings. Initially, as a child, this made me proud but as I got older, pleasing others in order to make myself feel validated gradually became second nature.
I learnt to apply this perfectionistic expectation of myself to all areas of my life from my study to work to my personal life. I wanted to be the best at everything I did.
Redefining what is "perfect"
Since I was young, I always felt like I had a different view of the world than my peers and for some time I felt happy and free to be myself. As I got older, I felt like I needed to fit in. Even after university, I felt pressured to step into the corporate world and become society's definition of "successful". As a result, I felt like I was swimming against my own current - not being 100% honest and authentic within myself.
It can be so easy for us to get trapped into this space - of someone else's definition of what is good, what is enough, and what is right for us. Society can propagate this need to being the best. We celebrate the highest rated, the fastest, the richest, the biggest.
What we often miss out on when we tread down this path is that we can forget what is true for us, in this moment, in this space. The "perfect" moment, day, life is something that should be unique for all of us. For me, it is about feeling creative, intuitive, connected, authentic and inspired. It doesn't need to be anything else other than this.
By listening to ourselves, we can start to tune into a deeper understanding of exactly what our purpose in life is so that this can be aligned with the decisions we make.
3 Questions to ask yourself
Here is a printable that you can Pin to your Pinterest board or print out to keep as a reminder.
When we feel paralysed to move forward
Being a perfectionist can sometimes stop us from action altogether. We become paralysed with fear, and unable to move forward when we have set our sights on achieving something that means so much to us.
Instead, we spend time and energy waiting for the perfect moment to arrive, hoping that this will spur us into action. We can spend our entire lives waiting to feel ready. But the truth is that this will never come. It's so easy to come up with excuses and so we take the easier, the safer option, and we stay put in our comfort zone.
I noticed this resistance when I was just starting my blog. I was continuously researching, rethinking the design, tweaking the name. I danced around the edges instead of diving in. I did everything except for sitting down to write because this created such a feeling of vulnerability for me.
To move forward I knew that I needed to accept the fact I felt afraid and to move past any negative thoughts. Everyone feels fear when we are challenging ourselves to do greater things. The positive side of fear is that it exhilarates us and pushes us. If we stayed in our comfort zone we would not be honouring ourselves and allowing ourselves to grow.
For me, breaking a larger goal down into smaller actionable steps made it easier and less daunting. Even though these small actions can still be somewhat scary, the goals feel more attainable. For my blog, I overcame my paralysis by writing just a few sentences to begin with. The key thing for me was to just start doing.
When I look back on where I was two years ago, I realise how my journey has challenged me, frightened me and really nudged me to move forward one step at a time.
It's time for us to stop chasing someone else's image of perfection and seek out our own unchartered path. Quit waiting for the right moment and just take the leap.