“In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism.” Hannah Arendt
I’ve been trying to escape perfectionism for some time. Whether it’s with work, finances, marriage, parenting, diet or exercise…I’ve had destructive all-or-nothing thinking for some time. If the budget spreadsheet isn’t filled out correctly, why even keep track? If I’ve overeaten in any way, why not just blow the rest of the day and eat what I want?
As you can see, this is not a very productive way to think and live. But, it’s how a lot of us try to navigate life. Little did I (or any of us) know, it makes everything more complicated than it needs to be. It keeps us disconnected from ourselves and from other people.
Rich and I had a conversation with good friends last month about relationships and how being open to one another and making one another a priority can improve their marriage. They listened but we could tell they didn’t want to hear about it. They were still so hurt by years of living disconnected from one another they couldn’t see the benefit of spending time rebuilding. When I thought about it later, I realized that Rich and I wouldn’t have listened to anyone years ago either. You have to come from the experience you’ve had...you have to be where you are and move on from there at your own pace, in your own good time.
Chris Freytag, a fitness expert advises: “Live fully and you’ll build the confidence you need to make positive change. Plus, we should all accept ourselves and our flaws. Life is about learning, right?”
That’s what I’m striving to be okay with now in all aspects of my life…just doing better than I’ve done before and learning as I go. Learning ourselves and walking through whatever individual pain and fear we harbor, for whatever reason, is all a part of the process. A process that includes disconnecting from that judgy voice in your head that feeds you full of inaccurate information, like, “you’re not good (thin, smart, rich) enough.” Start telling yourself a more positive story and live fully, building confidence as you go. Practice being okay where you are…wherever that is.
Sanibel Island, 2014
I was perfectly happy being where I was...