A few month ago I wrote a personal essay reflecting on my first year of motherhood. You can read it below or you can access my essay here, which was published in mother.ly. Mother.ly is a wonderful online community filled with resources written mother-to-mother designed to connect and support us throughout the journey of motherhood. Regardless if you are a parent or not, I believe you will still connect with my words and hopefully join me in letting go of what is holding you back.
When I tell people I work with perfectionists, often times I am met with either a startled look on their face as if they know I'm talking about them, or genuine curiosity from people who think they might be a perfectionist. The reality is, perfectionism exists on spectrum with varying degrees and flavors for each individual. Perfectionism is going to look and feel different for each person. On some level and in different scenarios, we may all exhibit some form of perfectionistic tendencies.
When you think of what fuels your decisions, your motivation, your goals, who's in the driver's seat--fear or passion? You might assume you are driven by passion but consider this example: You are given the opportunity to present your latest research findings to a panel of experts. When you are told about this opportunity, do you think, "I better not stumble during my presentation or else my reputation will be ruined!" or do you think, "Wow, what an amazing opportunity to share my latest research to panel of experts I admire!" If your thought patterns look more like the first example, then you may be driven by fear.
Whether we are aware of it for not, busy has become the new status, the new way of being. When asked, "how are you,?" more and more people default to how busy they are. They don't comment on how they feeling but rather what is going on in their life. And for some, being busy feels good.
I was recently interviewed by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. of Psych Central for her piece on busyness. As you read her article, I want you to consider these key questions:
- How do you feel about being busy?
- When you are busy, do you feel more valued or worthy?
- What does being busy mean to you?
- What does your busyness prevent you from doing?
- How do you want to fill up your life?
At one point or another, we are all driven to perform better on certain tasks or improve specific areas in our lives. Setting reasonable standards that will launch you on a path to success is both admirable and healthy. But when we allow perfectionism to impede on our lives, it can actually hold us back from taking action and hinder progress. On the flip side of perfectionism is healthy striving. Healthy strivers understand as human beings were are innately imperfect and rather than trying to be perfect, healthy strivers embrace their imperfections. When sets backs happen in life, healthy strivers aim to learn and grow from their experiences. Accepting one's imperfections and moving towards becoming a healthy striver takes time and lots of self compassion, so be gentle with yourself!
I was featured in an online article for Psych Central titled, "Seeking Perfection- Even When We Know It's Impossible." It's a wonderful article written by Margarita Tartakovsky and an issue I continue to see in my practice. I have spoken to many women who, on an intellectual level, understand that perfection does not exist....but still continue to strive for perfection anyways. I'm glad Margarita contacted me (and has an interest in perfectionism) so that we could all help shed light on this issue.
I used to consider myself an extremist, not because I was an adventure seeker living life on the edge. Rather, I either fully committed to a task or I didn't do it at all. Life was either running smoothly or I was a wreck. I was an all or nothing thinker. Life existed on polar ends and unbeknownst to me at the time, living in extremes felt safe. How could extremes feel safe to me? Well, it kept me out of the gray area, away from uncertainty, which made me really uncomfortable. As life progressed, I soon learned that life doesn't always go according to plan and I learned that life is full of gray areas.
Are you the type of perfectionist that obsessively organizes, cleans, and gets upset if something is not put back in its place? Or does it take you hours to construct the "perfect" email response? Do you focus on the one negative comment and ignore all the positive feedback your supervisor gave you on your performance review?
Hello kindred souls! I am Dr. Christina and I am glad you found your way to my blog. This blog is for savvy women like you who have many great blessings in life, yet still feel unfulfilled. Some of you might think that in order to achieve happiness and feel fulfilled, you have to look, live, and be perfect in every way. I am here to inspire you to believe otherwise. I am here to guide you towards another way of thinking, believing, and living that will allow you to find self love, inner peace, and overall happiness.