Perfection No Longer Lives Here (part 1)

I’ve written this at least 100 times in my head.  “What will they think?”  What if I’m the only one who feels this way?”  “What if people don’t like me after reading it?”  I was so afraid that this blog post wouldn’t be perfect.  Then I knew I had to write it.  Because perfection no longer lives here.

Have you ever noticed that perfection is subjective?  Your idea of a perfect outfit is completely different than mine.  My husband’s idea of a perfect weekend is different than my kids’.  And so it continues.

But we hold ourselves to the standard of perfection in many areas of our lives, from parenting, to housekeeping, to our physique.  And sometimes the attempt to reach such perfection is crippling.  Let me explain.

When our oldest started elementary school about 6 years ago, I was so excited to be a part of the PTA.  To me, the perfect mom gets involved with the school and supports it any way she can.  Eager to hit that notion of perfection, I immersed myself.  After a few years of volunteering, and even as VP, that type of involvement left much to be desired.  It wasn’t all that I had imagined, and I became disenchanted.  And then I felt as though I had let everyone down.  I couldn’t maintain that level of involvement.  I wasn’t perfect.

What’s interesting is that no one ever told me that the perfect mom runs the PTA.  That’s what I created for myself.  There were plenty of moms who DON’T lead it and they seemed perfectly fine with the decision.  Why was I so disappointed in myself?

Because perfection is subjective and we are always changing our own rules.  In this case, I had decided that being involved meant perfect parenting.  I did that.  Then I decided that I had to love every second of that volunteering in order to maintain that perfection.  I had discounted the fact that maybe it just wasn’t my thing and kept changing the rules.  Here is one of my favorite quotes:

When you aim for perfection, you discover it’s a moving target. ~George Fisher

Something similar happened after I lost 70 pounds.  That physical transformation inspired me to help other moms (like you!) to feel better.   In my head (and probably as a result of mainstream media images), the perfect fat loss coach has an impeccable physique.  I’m sure you can see where this is headed.  I stressed over my physique, spent more time thinking about food than was healthy, and still didn’t attain what I thought would be the perfect physique to be a coach.

In the midst of aspiring for flash-worthy abs, I realized I had zero interest in continuing to strive for them.  Why?  It didn’t feel right for me.  Don’t get me wrong, if I could wake in the morning and have them, I wouldn’t complain.  But I was tired of living on chicken and asparagus and counting every morsel that went into my mouth.  I had lost sight of changing my body for health and had become focused on my idea of perfection.  The one thing (my abs) that kept me from feeling like the perfect coach kept me from seeing that my quads looked freaking awesome and that I was lifting heavier weights than ever.

I had changed the rules again on what perfection was for me.  Losing 70 pounds used to be amazing and something I was proud of.  Then that disappeared as I sought the perfect coach body.  I could list a thousand other ways that perfectionism plagued me…from housework to parenting, from being a spouse to how I write my blog posts.

So I’m a recovering perfectionist.  I no longer allow perfectionism to live in my mind.  This is something that has taken time and practice and I’m still not a master.  But I’m far less stressed about perfection than I used to be.  And it feels, oh, so good!

Here’s my confession:  I’m not a perfect spouse, mother, daughter, niece, granddaughter, coach.  My house is messy, sometimes I’m late, and I don’t have a fitness model physique.

I hope you will stay tuned for Part 2, where I will share with you HOW I started to let go of perfection and how you can, too!  {Trust me, kicking perfectionism out of your head is FAR more fun than letting it stick around.}

Share in the comments below what part of YOUR perfectionism is slowing you down or holding you back.

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