Perfect Shmerfect

I’m not perfect. Not even close. Most days, dishes are in the sink, homework is all over the kitchen counter and the beds are unmade. In fact, last night I went to my son’s basketball practice with a huge hole in the back of my paint-stained sweatpants. Don’t even get me started on the trash in the backseat of my car.

So it came as a surprise to me when I sat down to write a blog post and realized perfection was standing in my way.  Huh? No way, it couldn’t be.

I had ideas to share and I really wanted to publish them on my website. Following through on this goal was nearly impossible. It would require a whole lot of work and take forever. Who had the time or energy to commit to forever? It wasn’t getting done.

Needing to be perfect was preventing me from making movement toward my goal.

Perfectionism shows up in the following ways:

  • Procrastinating
  • Resisting or the refusing to accept or comply
  • Lacking commitment and follow through
  • Comparing to others
  • Creating excuses, such as overwhelm or being too busy
  • Hoping to please and be accepted by all

 

When you are feeling stuck in some area of your life, dig a little deeper and notice if perfection is holding you back.

Some tips in helping you move forward:

  • Chances are it’s fear talking. Get curious. What is the fear trying to tell you?
  • Baby steps, my friend. Take one tiny movement forward at a time. Small is good.
  • Scale back your goal. Is there a more realistic version available?
  • Break down the task into more manageable chunks. What can I get done in 15 minutes?
  • Think about your bigger purpose and higher intention. Will this help you get there?
  • It’s not about the end result. How can you choose to show up along the way?
  • Feel the feels and do it anyway! That’s how you get to the other side.

Are there other areas in my life in which perfectionism is preventing me from moving forward? Maybe it’s time for me to take a closer look. But what I do know is that I moved it out of the way long enough to trust that my authentic light would shine beyond the clouds of imperfection.

what I learned from dating fear.

 

For much of my life, I have been in a relationship with fear. Last year, it became pretty serious between the two of us and I knew things had to change.

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I noticed how often fear controlled my thoughts but also how safe I felt in its predictability and steadiness. Moreover, I relied on these feelings to protect me from vulnerability and to shield me from the rawness underneath layers of protection. However, this security came at a price. It robbed me of living and feeling real joy.

Knowing it was time to let go, I pushed and struggled to break free; I ignored it, I pronounced “I am letting go of you!” and I attempted to outsmart it by predicting all of the hidden dangers and possible disappointments in my life. If prepared, I’d stay in charge.

It didn’t work. Fear pushed back harder and stayed longer.

Our relationship went on like this for awhile and finally I understood. It was impossible to will fear away. There was no off switch.

There was only a shift in power.

By choosing to lean into my inner wisdom, I showed fear that it no longer controlled me and in doing this, strengthened my own potential. I trusted in myself again.

Fear and I remain close friends.  When she comes knocking on my door, I kindly ask what it is that I need to learn and then listen respectfully. Yes, fear challenges me and teaches me to grow, but I am so much more fulfilled in my new relationship. Trust never hovers or holds me back from success. She believes in me unconditionally and provides me with the comfort of knowing that indeed, I am enough.

a cup of clarity

IMG_8697Feeling lonely and confused was starting to become a bad habit for me.  On this particular morning, it struck me hard. My two oldest children had left for elementary school and my youngest was at pre-school, appearing to have skipped over his toddler years altogether. Looking around my house, all that remained were dirty dishes in the sink and a pile of underwear on the floor.  Something was missing.

“What the hell?” spun through my head as I drank my last sip of coffee.

I had spent two decades of my life consumed with accomplishing each next goal: high school, college, corporate America, grad school, job, house, marriage, job, babies, house.

How could I feel discontent when I finally had everything I ever wanted?

I needed a career that would light me up. A part-time, money-making perfection of a job. That, I determined, was the key to everlasting happiness and never-ending joy.  So I set out in search of a passion. Over the next three years, I thought really hard about it. I hoped that the right opportunity would come knocking on my door. I willed with all of my might that abundance and satisfaction would appear and complete me. And silently cried when my friends boasted about their new promotions and business ventures on Facebook. I journaled, read self-help books and searched the want ads looking for the posting from the Universe titled, This is it, Carly.

I was convinced that the JOB was the key to fulfillment.

That day as I decided on the next arts and craft project to create with my kids, I had no way of knowing I was beginning a journey of self-discovery. In my endless quest for more-more recognition, more accomplishments, more things, I didn’t see that the missing piece was not in a flexible job, an exciting vacation or a new outfit that made me look thirty.

When you put in the effort but nonetheless feel empty, it’s time to refill your coffee mug and take a closer look.

Are you depending on outside sources and events to make you happy?

Are you trying to mentally or physically push and force your way to a particular outcome?

You may not need to switch to drinking tea (this is one change I refuse to make) but you can consider a better option. Why not let go of trying to change it all and accept the path as it is in the moment? The loneliness, the confusion. Yup, accept all of it. Breathe right into that missing piece with every bone in your body. This is fulfillment.

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