One of the most popular television commercials I watched as a high school kid was for Enjoli, the 8-hour perfume for the 24-hour women. I still remember the jingle: “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget you’re a man.”
The ad wasn’t really selling perfume. It was selling the superwoman, have it all mentality. You can be a professional woman, a fabulous mother, gourmet cook, keep the house clean and be a sexy siren, on demand, going from bathrobe to boardroom to bedroom flawlessly coifed without breaking a sweat or a nail. Eazy-peezy.
Boy did that commercial lie. Yes, we have more opportunities than our mothers, but juggling work, marriage, kids, elderly parents and the household plus getting to the gym and finding some ‘me’ time is anything but EASY. You need more than a spritz of perfume to get through the day without losing your cool. And sex on a work night? Forgetaboutit. After dinner, often cooked by my husband who also does the laundry and brings home a chunk of the bacon, we’re more in the mood for Antiques Road Show than nookie.
Perfect is impossible. Personally, I’d rather be happy. When we try to be perfect or exceptional several things occur. We either fail because if too many of us are trying to be exceptional, the exceptional becomes common and is no longer exceptional. We may also put others down as a way to feel better or ‘perfect’ about ourselves. And if we do succeed in our superiority quest we may feel alone and isolated, envied and resented by others.
So what I have done is taught myself how to embrace my imperfect life. Who cares if you have a bad hair day or have to order take-out again? Give yourself a break and ditch the pitfalls of perfection. Rather than aiming for a flawless life, which is impossible to achieve, love the messy, wonderful life you already have. Stop pushing yourself and those around you to perfection, insisting on doing better, having more and trying harder. Stop, breathe and appreciate how well you already do so many things. Give yourself credit and allow yourself to feel the satisfaction you deserve. Be grateful for yourself and all the things you do well.
Now is the time to start freeing yourself from the ‘perfection’ trap. You can still grow, strive and improve. Just don’t drive yourself (and others), crazy by insisting that everything must be perfect. Here’s how to do it:
- Recognize that we are all imperfect beings
While TV commercials tell us we can (and should) have perfect bodies, teeth, children, homes and relationships… The truth is we’re all flawed. Every, single, one, of, us! Being imperfect is what makes us humans.
It’s natural when we struggle or fail at something to blame ourselves. The problem is that this can trigger a sense of abnormality in some that can feel very isolating as they think everybody else, “Does it right,” and has a beautiful, happy, perfect life. Not true.
In contrast, when you accept that everybody, even you, fails, gets ill, faces loss and feels inadequate sometimes, you realize you’re not all alone. In fact, you are in the majority! This is the element of self-compassion referred to as Common Humanity. Common Humanity is when you realize that we’re all imperfect beings, being flawed is part of the human condition.
Being human is not about being any one particular way; it is about being as life creates you—with your own particular strengths and weaknesses, gifts and challenges, quirks and oddities. —Kristen Neff
If you’ve been pushing yourself extra hard you probably need more than a coffee break to recover. Schedule several nice breaks. Take that yoga or drawing class you’ve been putting off to get more work done. Go for a long walk in the woods or enjoy a leisurely lunch with a friend or great book. Give yourself permission to set the rat race aside. Tell the part of you that wants to do more, be more, accomplish more to… shut up and take a chill pill. Or read my blog on How to RELAX.
- Value Yourself
Make a list of all that you’ve accomplished in your life and all the things that you do well. You’ll be amazed at how exceptional you already are. While you’re at it tell those you love how much you appreciate them. Everyone like to fell valued!
Here’s a challenge, for the next week instead of demanding more from yourself give yourself a big slap on the back and bravo for all you do. Stop giving yourself a hard time and start giving yourself the credit you deserve.
You’re Not broken! You are perfectly imperfect & powerful beyond measure. —Steve Maraboli[/perfectpullquote]
Need help escaping the perfection trap? Apply for a complimentary Coaching session to feel fabulous about your perfectly imperfect self by contacting me HERE.