No one is perfect
I recently posted a video of my groceries on a social media site that touts healthy living. I was highlighting how all my food choices were Whole Foods, nothing processed, and contained a wide variety of colorful veggies and fruits! Yay me! ...or so I thought.
Someone pointed out that there was a lot of plastic in the picture (I shopped at Costco and of course everything comes in super sized plastic bags and plastic clam shells for berries). And then others commented.
The point of the post was the vegetables and fruit. The fact that my groceries DID NOT include processed and packaged foods that were un healthy....the fact that I was restrained and considerate of my health and that of my family...and I only chose foods that would nourish our bodies in spite of any cravings or desires I may have had whilst shopping.
I instantly became defensive...and I was wracked with feelings of guilt and shame that the shopping choices I made ( going to Costco to buy in bulk) were irresponsible towards the environment , and I was not setting a very good example.
And then I gave my head a shake, and reminded myself that I am doing the best I can at the moment.
I am NOT perfect....no where near it....and neither are YOU. Being perfect is EXHAUSTING and leads to burn out, chronic illness and stress within yourself and your relationships. Knowing that, who would want to be perfect then? NOT ME! Although the Virgo Perfectionist in me really tries to push their point...I've learned I need to quiet that voice and be REASONABLE. The struggle is real!
Having a chronic illness has taught me that I cannot DO or BE it all. I have to consider what is most important and prioritize what needs to get done, versus what I want to do. And things will get left un done...its just the way it is... and although I am well and thriving at this point, I need to still be careful to not push myself to the brink of illness again, and that means letting go of a lot of previous perfectionist conceptions I had.
So how does my grocery video story relate to this? While I momentarily felt I was not perfect, and failing by shopping at a bulk store that packages everything in plastic, I reminded myself that choosing that store allows me to buy in bulk, reduce my shopping trips (saving time) and provides me a great selection of good quality produce, which is very important to me. And it keeps me on budget. It's what works for ME.
I reminded myself that I am environmentally conscious...but have room to improve. I take my own reusable bags to the store. I sort my paper, plastics and compost my kitchen scraps. I re use mason jars for storing my dry goods such as nuts, seeds, lentils etc.I am switching over all my storage containers to glass.
I also think buying in bulk reduces the packaging. As an example; instead of buying 2 smaller clam shells of berries - I'm buying 1. Not great, but BETTER. Certainly not PERFECT. We do better when we KNOW better or we have TIME and ENERGY to be better. Perfection is NOT required and certainly can in fact be harmful.
When becoming a Paramedic, one of the first rules of the job was "personal safety" always comes first. We are taught to check the scene prior to entry and if it is not safe for us, in spite of what is going on, we MUST put ourselves and our safety first. This is a GREAT lesson for all of us...you MUST put yourself first and be sure you are well cared for so that you are then able to thrive and care for others. And that definitely means NOT being perfect. Not doing everything!
So what can you do to overcome perfectionism?
-Understand that we will fail, and failure helps us learn and grow.
-It is not "all or nothing", the focus should just be on progress, not perfection.
-Don't sweat the small stuff but focus on the end goal, and getting there without worrying about every minor detail
-Stop the negative self talk and blame - turn it around by thinking of 3 things you are doing RIGHT!
-Celebrate the failures along with the victories, as well as any progress you make, because it is all a learning process
-Put more time and value into relationships, rather than striving for perfection in your work. No one on their death bed ever said they wished they work harder
-Release your expectations and need to control everything. Learn to let it go
-Realize that your health should be your number one priority, and by striving for perfection, you are risking your health by increasing your stress levels and eventually will burn out.
-Find a "Coach" or Counselor or Therapist who can help you overcome your Perfectionist tendencies