For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been really hard on myself. My earliest memory of this is when I confronted my fourth grade teacher for giving me an A- on a log cabin I built completely from popsicle sticks. I cried all the way home when she refused to go any higher. Sucks. It really was a good cabin…
As I’ve grown, that nine-year old perfectionist has lived within me, for better or worse, ever since. Like most women, I can be a bit of a control freak. I admit. But for the most part, it hasn’t been that bad. Being a perfectionist has made me work harder, run faster and write better. I’ve won awards athletically, scholastically and professionally. And with each new accomplishment, I’ve come to believe that I have a natural ability to succeed.
But I’m no stranger to loss and failure–which is probably why I know success. Most recently, I lost my job–and quickly thereafter, got news that I wasn’t selected for a better position that I really wanted. For the first time in my life, I had nowhere to go and nothing to do. It was terrifying.
Perfectionism is tough to maintain. Eventually, we reach a point where perfect is always a little further than it was before. And with it, so is our happiness. Though I understand and accept failure as part of human existence, I’ve always felt I could somehow control the situation to create a better outcome if I just tried hard enough. Soon, however, I realized my happiness becoming inextricably tied to life being as close to perfect as possible. I’m now discovering that a happiness dependent on perfection is not only unhealthy, but sad. And for this and other reasons, I’ve decided to make a change.
I’m challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone and to take on new challenges that my perfectionist tendencies would have otherwise prohibited. I’m giving myself permission to truly enjoy the highs and to also fully embrace the lows without guilt or shame. Sure, it might be awkward at first, but I’m ready to face my fears.
Happy is the New Perfect is dedicated entirely to this effort. I’m breaking the link between happiness and perfection so that I can live a more fulfilling and courageous life. I don’t want the fear of failing to hold me back. With each new post, I plan to share another moment of inspiration, crazy fun and genuine happiness. I would love your company.
We all have perfectionist tendencies. How do you overcome yours? Tell me about it in the comments. It’d be great to hear from you!