Perfection or Acceptance?

It’s so perfect that I’m sitting in front of my computer, stalled, unable to write the piece on perfectionism. Because it might not be good enough. But it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot over the past couple weeks, as I’ve been striving to let go of any patterns that no longer serves me. And perfectionism has got to go.

From Wikipedia: Perfectionism, in psychology, is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.

Some might argue that perfectionism is a good thing, because we want to do a good job, produce quality results, create something we can be proud of. I wish to point out the phrases “excessively high performance standards” and “overly critical self-evaluations” and I wonder how we feel about ourselves when we constantly set ourselves up for failure.

If you had asked me in my younger years if I was a perfectionist, I would have vehemently denied it. Perfectionists are people who clean too much. I would have denied the constant chatter in my brain telling me I wasn’t good enough (and didn’t clean enough), I had to try harder, work longer hours, lose more weight, be more charming, talk more, but don’t talk too much. Because I believed the voices and I knew that when I was perfect, then I would be okay.

Talk about excessively high standards.

We all have inner critics in our minds, those voices telling us what we’re doing wrong. Some may have critics that scold when we eat too much dessert and some may have critics that yell at us for using a hanging preposition in a conversation. For the most part, our inner critics are trying to protect us from harm, from embarrassment, from pain. They really want us to fit in and be safe.

But here’s the thing: fitting in and being safe is not fun. It is not being who you really are and it is not your purpose in the world.

When I was listening to my inner critics, I was quieting my voice, not being me. The critics were so loud, I couldn’t get the words out. Even I stopped listening to me. And I missed out on a lot.

You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens. ~Louise L. Hay

I wonder, what could I do if I took the advice I give to my clients and teach in my classes? Although I’ve come a long way, baby, I’ve still been putting conditions on my love for myself. What could I do if I truly loved myself, fully and completely accepted all of me? I’m talking radical self-love. Consciously committing to replacing the critical words with loving and compassionate words. Allowing myself to try something, knowing that I’ll only have loving words and feelings for myself if I fail.

So, what have been the results of radical self-love? For one, I just wrote a blog post in under an hour, and two, I just gave up sugar, my life-long nemesis, my physical and emotional addiction. I just gave it up, no problem, I don’t miss it. And the weight that I’ve been struggling with, dieting, fasting, exercising, nothing was working… now it’s just flying away, effortlessly.

Magic is happening. I’m still a work in progress, but life just keeps getting better.

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