Coffee Talk: Fighting Against Perfection
I am many things: 26 years old, an Aries, and an amateur pasta critic, to name a few. If you know me well, you know that perfectionist is another truth we can add to that list. For as long as I can remember, I've been Type A, held myself to extremely high standards, and demanded perfection from myself in all areas of my life.
For the first quarter of my life, these tendencies served me well. I did well at school and got promoted at a few different companies, taking on more responsibility with each shift. But I was also wearing myself into the ground—in the last year I've felt burnt out, irritable, and #overit. In the last few months I started asking myself how much this standard of perfection helps me, and how much it actually hurts.
Before, I felt stressed if even one area of my life was a little bit out of whack. If I had a week where I blogged less (or forgot altogether), I'd throw the baby out with the bath water and think everything had gone to shit. If my relationships fumbled, I'd consider myself a failure. If I had a bad week at work or a terrible meeting, I would immediately jump to "I'm going to get fired, it's all my fault". While, on the one hand, my perfectionist tendencies were just trying to keep me safe and continue excelling, on the other they led me to be my own worst enemy: and harshest critic.
In re-evaluating how I want to speak to myself in these learning moments, I've shifted my own narrative. Instead of considering these moments in my life failures, I now see learning opportunities. Instead of holding myself to unreachably high standards (and trying to accomplish everything at once), I'm celebrating the little wins—like when I knock a few things off my to-do list instead of all of them, I embrace that. I'm taking time to stop and smell the roses, if you will. Because life isn't always going to be perfect: and that's okay. It's better this way, even! In finding the good, I'm allowing myself the room and space to grow, to make mistakes, to learn from them, and to come out stronger and happier on the other side.