SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How do you relate to the notion that the quest for perfection is exhausting? Can you share a personal story of a time you let go of what other people thought of you? What helps you be authentic to yourself over other's opinions of you?
As a "recovering overachiever" who spent much of her life feeling not good enough, this post touched me deeply. Now 50, life is more about the smaller connections, the deep value of one to one rather than the urgent feeling of "I must make a huge impact" or seeking approval. For years I've danced to my own drummer (rather than march, I choose dance ;) ) and haven't cared what others thought of me in certain contexts. I've never really fit it, I'm more like a misfit toy ( from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer) than I am some Barbie doll of perfection. For example, I use bubbles at the World Bank as a way to calm nerves, difuse tension and connect on a more human levecl. I've done it since day one when I brought bubbles to the interview panel. ;) I still do it 3 years later. Embracing those things which make me unique, like a never-ending sense of childlike wonder, helps me to stay grounded. I was tested on this last week as a Manager at the World Bank did not at all resonate with whom I am or how I do my job. I've consistently been rathed 6.8 out of 7 in countless other trainings. And so I let it go, this person sees the world through grey lens, me through pink and yellow and that is OK. I know who I am and like each of us I've been given gifts to share. The only way I know how to share them is by being me with my Pink bangs, my brightly colored clothes, yes, mostly pink these days and my "slight exuberance" as I move through each experience. As someone once said, "be yourself, everyone else is taken" :)[Hide Full Comment]
My tears stemmed from a "Faith and Works" conversation with my son and his girlfriend. "There is soooo much more work to do!" ... left me feeling depleted! At this time in my life, I cannot do more than I am already doing! Thank you Dianne! So kind of youð·!
Yesterday evening, I broke down in tears of fatigue ... "I am tired" I cried to my husband! TRYING to be the best wife ... Best mom ... Best grand mom... Best dog owner ... Best daughter ... Best daughter in law ... Best niece ... Best neighbor ... Best friend leads one down the road of unrealistic expectations and ultimately loss of self. Trying to be everything for everyone is NOT healthy!
The Holy Spirit comes to my aid again and again, faithfully, helping me to true to myself in Him (trumping other's opinions of me). Amen
The quest for perfection is exhausting because it's unnecessary goal-directed hard work. Perfection has much more to do with allowing rather than seeking. I haven't completely let go of what others think of me, but I have loosened my grip. I have gotten positive feedback when I say what is true for me rather than hold back or be inauthentic out of concern about what they might think. It helps me to remind myself that I have the right and responsibility to be me and express my truth. It helps me to have felt more regret when I don't express my authentic self than when I do. It helps me to get support and appreciation for what I have to say. I like to be known, and it helps me to know that in being authentic I become known.
I was blessed to learn from my parents that contentment and doing the best you can according to your capacity is the key to feeling happy and making progress.The other precious lesson they taught me is listen to you inner voice and follow the right path. We learn such precious lessons by not what they say but by what they do.. They provided role modeling by their actions. They were authentic and humble, not all -knowing.
In my teaching adolescent students and counseling their parents being obsessed with the perfection syndrome. They are driven by being perfect giving no room and acceptance for being human, making mistakes, accepting them and learning from our own mistakes.They want to appear best and strong and perfect in the eyes of others. It sure makes them unhappy and miserable. I help them by sharing my mistakes with them and learning from my mistakes. We do not need to forget that we all are human beings like others prone to making mistakes, learning from our mistakes, getting help from others when we fall down,getting up and moving on. The acceptance of being who we are makes us connected with others who are just like us, Self worth, worth coming from within, is what makes us feel rich, beautiful, contented and happy.
Jagdish P Dave