Any fellow perfectionists out there? You know how it is to live like this. It can be a blessing and a curse to feel the need to have everything perfect before it’s good enough. Why do we do this to ourselves? What if it were possible to stop doing this to yourself? Would you be interested in learning how? If so, keep reading. If not, well… get used to feeling like you’re not ever good enough and not measuring up to the standard you set for yourself. Ever. Yikes!
Three Steps To Become An IMperfectionist:
Step one: Find one thing in your life that drives you absolutely CRAAAZY because it is never perfect. Maybe it’s a messy room. Perhaps a never ending pile of dirty laundry. Or how about a table that always piles up with stuff no matter how many times you clean it!!!! Ok… breathe. I know there’s a lot. But it doesn’t even have to be regarding house upkeep. It could be a project that you keep overthinking and changing because it’s never good enough. It could be a relationship with a person that isn’t exactly how you imagined it would be. The possibilities are endless. The hardest part about this step is that you can only pick one thing. Go ahead now… think of just one thing. Do you have one? Great. Next step.
Step two: You will need a pencil and paper for this step. Go ahead and get one, I’ll wait for you….. This step involves you having a little heart-to-heart chat with your “mind-meany.” What in the world is a mind-meany? You wonder. A mind-meany is your inner perfectionist critic who tells you that whatever is happening in your life is not good enough. Using that “one thing” that drives you crazy as the topic of this conversation, ask your mind-meany, “Why is it so important to you that this thing be this perfect way?” The mind-meany will respond, “Because________________________________ (fill in the blank).” To the mind-meany’s response you then ask, “And why is that so important to you?” and then again whatever the response, just keep asking “And why is that so important to you?” Eventually you will get down to the root statement of why your mind-meany is doing this to you. Whatever that last statement is that your mind-meany tells you; it is NOT true. Next, tell your mind-meany why that end statement is NOT true. You should write it all down so it’s official. Soon after that, the mind-meany’s expectation for perfection in that area is discredited and can now begin the process of withering away completely. (See bottom of page for an example.)
Step three: Again, use that “one thing” that drives you crazy. Let that “one thing” become imperfect… ON PURPOSE. That’s right, you read it correctly. You are going to let that one thing that you have usually been so adamantly fighting to achieve perfection with, to be imperfect; just for a short time. It will be hard to let it go. This is the ultimate and final battle you must fight in order to overcome your mind-meany. “How long does it take to complete this step? It sounds like TORTURE!!!” you say. This step is important because you are showing yourself that you CAN survive well without having that thing be perfect.You do this until your mind-meany stops pressuring you about it. You will know when your mind-meany has stopped his/her escapades because you will more easily be able to come up with the right reasons to do that “one thing.” In other words, you’ve realized the mentally and emotionally healthier reasons to do it. Those reasons allow for mistakes, are patient with human nature and embrace your imperfections. It’s with that mindset that you realize that doing something small, or imperfectly, is better than doing nothing at all.
Voila… you freed yourself because you have successfully self-granted permission to be an IMperfectionist! At least with that “one thing.” You may choose to complete these three steps with all of those things in your life that drive you crazy because they aren’t EVER perfect. But don’t be an overachiever and try to do it all in one day. That would be the perfectionist mind-meany taking over again. It will take time. So be patient with yourself.
Example of the three steps:
~Pick one thing that is never perfect that drives you crazy…
My kids’ toy room drives me crazy because no matter how many times we clean it and teach them to up-keep the cleaning, it always ends up dirty.
~Heart to heart chat with your mind-meany (remember to write it all down.)
YOU: Why is it so important to you that this thing be this perfect way?
MIND MEANY: It’s important because a clean toyroom means that I have taught my kids to clean.
YOU: And why is that so important to you?
MIND MEANY: That is important because if I haven’t taught my kids to clean, then I am not measuring up to other good moms who have clean toyrooms.
YOU: Why is that so important to you?
MIND MEANY: If I am not measuring up to other good moms, then I have failed my kids as a mother and am not a good mom.
***Now, you tell your mind-meany why that end statement is NOT true. (remember to write it all down)
YOU: That is not true. Just because I do things differently than other “good moms” out there, does not mean that I have failed as a mother. Who’s to say a mom that has a clean toy room makes a “good mom.” Most likely the “good moms” who I’m comparing myself to were just cleaning the toy room right before I got there, so that they could also appear like they are “good moms” too. Comparing myself to other moms isn’t embracing my own strengths and loving myself for who I am and what I alone can do for my children as their mom. Having a messy toy room is actually part of being human and part of having kids. I can be more patient with my kids and myself as we learn to take on the task of keeping the toy room clean. Now I realize it doesn’t have to be perfect and that has nothing to do with me being a good mom.
Let that one thing be imperfect ON PURPOSE. Below is my video from 5 months ago when I did this in our toy room. It worked too! I no longer feel unnecessary pressure to have a perfectly clean toy-room. We clean it when we can and without as much stress and with less tears! Hooray!
If you know of anyone who would benefit from this, please pass it on!
If you know of a publishing company who would be interested in publishing my children’s book on this subject, please send me their info.!