Hello, my name is Sheryl and I struggle with perfectionism.
I am the type of person who loves order, feels everyone should have a label maker, is aware when things are out of place and always has a running list of what needs to be done.However, I’ve changed in the last two years of my life. I continue to embrace some of my perfectionist qualities (perfectionism is not a bad thing) but I have learned how continuously striving towards perfection can make you insane. Continuously striving towards and expecting perfection allows you to miss many wonderful and beautiful moments. Life has taught me that in order to appreciate and enjoy it, I must let go of perfection.
Do you spend your life with a to do list?
Do you find yourself struggling to fit everything in?
Do you ever ask why you are doing what you are doing?
I’ve spent my weekend doing very few of the things on my to do list. I have weeds that need to be pulled in my flower beds, the house hasn’t been vacuumed and I still haven’t completed changing the decor of the house for summer (yes, I do that). Although my summer flowers have been on my porch for weeks, I continue to have the spring wreath on the front door (the materials for the new wreath are on my dining room floor). I weekly aspire to create a dinner menu but that continues to be something I aspire to do.
A few years ago, I would have spent my Saturday morning cleaning my house, doing laundry and making sure everything was in place. I had a good routine of what needed to be done when and I maintained it To be honest, I hated if I had to change it because of plans with friends or family. It simply meant I had to rearrange when I accomplished the list.
Perfectionism was not something my family placed upon me, but something I placed upon myself. I believe it probably came about because of several reasons. I was the little girl who may have been cute but wasn’t the most beautiful. I was always the shortest (I’ve been five feet tall since 7th grade) so I learned to carry myself tall and mastered any height of heels. I didn’t have a natural athletic ability but with practice I became one of the better ones in whatever I chose. Perfectionism allowed me to excel in school. I made sure my papers were completed early, I did the extra credit. Perfectionism made me an honor student.
Perfectionism made me work hard.
Perfectionism made me miss out on a lot of things.
Perfectionism eventually made me sick. (Perfectionism = stress, which in my case led to hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue).
In the past I would put off doing things I enjoyed to do so that I completed my task list for home and for work. I don’t allow myself to think about the times I may have not done things with those I love because I needed to complete something that I felt was more important.
The reality is, if you came to my house right now you would not see what I see that needs to be done. You would see that my kitchen is clean (but there are dishes in the drain that need to be put up). You wouldn’t notice that the floor hasn’t been dusted nor would you care that my flower arrangement on the mantle is from the spring.
I’ve accepted that there will always be more reading to do for work but I continue to be a good counselor. I’ve accepted that I want to be the person who works out daily at 5:30 but sometimes I just can’t get out of bed. I’ve accepted that neither my home nor garden will be pictured in Southern Living (but you would feel comfortable if you visited).
This weekend I spent two hours on Saturday morning at Starbucks with a friend. James and I spent the afternoon taking in the garden tour of Lexington and watching American Phahroah win the Triple Crown (simply amazing). Today, I spent the morning on my patio, journal writing and enjoying nature. The laundry has been done (but not put up and I’m ok with that). We made it to the grocery and have food to eat. I ran errands at Target and Lowes. I still have a to do list and I don’t know what I will accomplish before the day ends.
Although I still strive to be the best I can be, I no longer strive for perfection like I once did.
Today I am grateful for being able to accept that it is ok my life isn’t perfect. I have been blessed with many wonderful things and that is what matters. My hope is you are able to let go of perfection in the areas of your life that you need to. Life is too short to worry about things that do not matter.
Are you someone who always strives for perfection?
Are you missing out on life because you want everything to be perfect?
Today I encourage you to join Emily and others for Grateful Heart Monday as you find the gratitude in your life.