I used to do this exercise video led by Kim Kardashian to tone my lower half. Naturally. The workout was a series of routines with tons of squats and leg lifts and it seemed to last forever. By the end of each use, I was a sweaty mess panting for breath and completely exhausted. But what I remember most about the video–and it drove me absolutely nuts–was a single instance of Kim K. mentioning how hard the routine was right in the middle of the thing. It seriously made me crazy. She wasn’t supposed to admit to that! How could she possibly lead a workout video and not at least feign total ease for those of us struggling on the other side of the screen? After all, it was her video.
What a hypocrite I was. My standards weren’t only impossible, but completely unfair. I was near death just trying to keep up, but I demanded that “the expert” in the situation make it look easy. And why not? As a perfectionist, I’d always demanded the same of myself (especially if I had an audience) and I never thought anything of it. My denial was a terrible habit.
Perfectionists will often deny the difficulty of any given task by either refusing it all together or by overloading ourselves to maintain the facade of simplicity. No matter how hard something really is, we’ll never admit to it. And rarely will we ask for help. We rationalize that hard means impossible. That things we struggle with are just not meant to be. And when other people do what we can’t (or won’t), we attribute it to their natural ability. We tell ourselves: That’s their thing – not mine.
But life is really hard. It’s not a complaint. It’s just a fact. It doesn’t mean we’re any less capable because we struggle to make it happen. Hard work, by its very namesake, means doing work that’s hard. And we do ourselves (and others) a complete disservice by insisting life be easy when, in reality, it’s usually not.
I came across the quote, “We can do hard things.” on Pinterest a couple of weeks back, and it’s stuck with me ever since. Because it’s so true! Very little of what we do in our lives is easy. We exercise, we write, we raise kids, we go to school, we go to work, etc. But how often do we allow ourselves a second to acknowledge that these things are really hard? And that we’re doing it anyway? Because we can! Admitting to the fact isn’t a sign of weakness. If anything, it’s a bit of a pat-yourself-on-the-back moment because you’re not giving up. You’re accepting the difficulties of the tasks and you’re still getting the job done. You can do hard things!
I’ve always been a sucker for simple, common sense eloquence, and this was exactly the reminder I needed on my journey to overcoming perfectionism.
But what about you? Have you ever been intimidated by hard things? Are there any benefits to making it look easy? Let me know in the comments below!