My Battle With Perfectionism
Perfectionism is the idea that in order to get something “right” you must be perfect.
I can still remember my mother’s words as she urged me to practice piano, “Practice makes perfect.” And yes, practice helps you become better as a musician, athlete, baker, young professional, etc.
But, what I think I didn’t realize was that one does not have to be perfect to start.
One does not have to be perfect when learning to ride a bike.
I learned this lesson the hard way. To be honest with you, I was a late learner when it came to riding a bike. I was so petrified of falling, I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was in college!
Although my parents were busy working to put food on the table, I didn’t want to learn because I was afraid of getting hurt.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to face your fears in spite of it.
I remember when I was stuck in an overwhelming job as a teacher in Detroit.
I became depressed because I didn’t have the logistical support as a new teacher, nor did I realize how emotionally draining the role of an elementary teacher would be.
I woke up every morning dreading driving into work, because I felt like a failure to my kids, to myself, and to my family. I had married my college sweetheart and moved over 2,000 miles away to support my husband during his graduate school not to mention make a difference in my students’ lives. But, according to my dean, my teaching mentor, and the University of Michigan, I wasn’t meeting the mark. I felt defeated like I was destined to continually fail at life.
My worst moment when coming face to face with my fear of never amounting to my potential was when I wished I could get into a serious car accident, just to have an excuse not to have to go to work.
Looking back I realize, that was crazy! It was then that I stopped pretending to be perfect for my husband and look into my soul to make the necessary change. It was then, I decided to get a job that was going to pay off my bills, have enough to enjoy life and a position that didn’t constantly drain me of my emotional energy.
I wanted to be true to who I was and who I am. I wanted to smile again, to laugh again, to breathe air like it was my first time on earth. I wanted to end the falsehood that being perfect means that your life was completely put together. I was ready for a fresh start.
I worked hard after work to get a better job by refining my resume for jobs that were looking for the same skillset that I had. I took interview calls during lunch and responded to emails hoping for a better future. And by the grace of God, three months later, I was referred to a company that allowed me to breathe. It was as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
I was so grateful when I received my offer, because I knew that I had a lot to learn, but I was on my way.
One of my favorite things I told myself I would do more was to journal. There’s a really awesome journal that I bought on Amazon called Start Where You Are. The pages are really beautiful and have that beautiful watercolor artwork that makes me want to cuddle up with a nice blanket and start to dream.
I don’t know what your story is right now, but whether that is looking for a new job, starting a new family, or moving to a new place you are right where you need to be. Maybe you aren’t where you want to be, but you are on your way. Give yourself some grace, beautiful woman!
You cannot be everything to everyone.
You are enough.
You are beautiful, and you are amazing.
Perfectionism doesn’t mean you have to be perfect, it just means you have to be brave enough to start the journey.
Until next time friends,