Do you know any recovering perfectionists? Um, moi!
I say that because it’s similar to an addiction.
Recognise any of these?
I need to reorganise my recently refurbished home office, I feel a little unsettled it isn’t quite flowing.
I’ll quickly plump that cushion and straighten it, it has to sit just right, it’s all about correct staging.
I think I’ll reorganise my wardrobe. I want to be colour coordinated at all times when I’m on social media. It’s my signature look and needs to be attention grabbing and eye-catching.
I must get the latest book on how to raise a genius child, my child’s future depends on it.
Guess who may be the culprit?
Enter the concept Happily Ever After
For example, the dashing handsome prince and the stunningly beautiful princess climb on their pure white stallion and ride off into the peachy red sunset to live happily ever after.
Yeah, it’s cheesy right, but that is the general format that’s followed.
Who doesn’t enjoy happy endings in the movies? However, I question that theory, happily ever after? Where and how did I pick up that assumption?
And it smacks of perfection, a huge tripping point, wouldn’t you agree?
The 100% good, overcome the 100% bad, rescue the oppressed underdog and ride off ignoring the carnage left behind.
As the saying goes, there are so many more colours than just black and white.
How about unpacking perfection, shall we?
Firstly where did it come from?
Perfect lifestyle traits are constantly bombarded at us on billboards, in magazines, including store displays. I mean everywhere. Movies, social media. Take some television advertisements for example
- upbeat, vibrant music, gin drinking, considerably large, lavish garden parties
- gadget laden, aerodynamic, next generation autos, on vehicle free roadways
- vacations for super tanned, high fiving, altogether perfect families
- super organic, incredibly balanced, stratospheric Zen lifestyles
- air brushed, digitally altered, ultra thin, image manipulated bodies
Hey, people, it’s on screens – it’s not real
I know you know, but when life gets a little too much and it’s all a bit of a strain, who doesn’t want to miss out on living the dream. Frequently we scoop up hope and head directly for delusion fantasy central.
I get it, I really do.
Yep, I’ve seen it before. Take me for example, when I tried to apply model happy endings to my life. You know, aiming to transplant them in my lifestyle, gluing perfect parts together for a dreamy existence which included those visually portrayed ideals
- warm fuzzy feelings
- impeccable character traits
- serene weather conditions
- whole world compliance
- and my rosy perspective
No wonder I used to have a patchwork Frankenstein experience trying to recreate a whole. I wasn’t being authentic me, I was repelling people. Perfection takes up a whole lot of energy – ‘hit me lightning bolt, I need the juice.’
It’s not real. Perfection does not exist. It’s exhausting to try to live up to an unrealistic goal and fake lifestyle. Additionally, it’s equally exhausting to be around someone who is trying to be perfect, because they are fussy, unbearable & totally unrelatable.
Perfect is boring. It’s stagnant, there’s no movement!
How would you measure perfect anyway? Who would be the exulted judge on perfect?
“But I am using up heaps of my time and effort to be that great example” I hear you say. “I’m a good person, I do good stuff. Where’s my reward?”
Ouch!, that’s the pain point.
Now I’m not saying you can’t strive for excellence or high standards. I’m just saying there’s a lot to be said for just right.
More energy reserves when you’re not consistently putting your nose to the grindstone.
Quicker task completion when you’re not constantly redrafting.
A greater sense of freedom when you’re relaxed and not tied up in the ultimate outcome.
Or maybe spontaneity which offers interest, surprise, and mystery elements.
OK, let’s find a way out.
We’ve challenged perfection and now we’re about eliminating the ‘when then’ trap.
Thoughts like ‘When I earn enough money or maybe win the lottery, then my life will improve. I can pay off those rising debts and loans, buy all those luxuries, and share my wealth with my loved ones.’
‘When I’ve lost 20lbs, then I’ll ditch the outdated garb and enjoy a splurge on a whole new wardrobe of beautiful clothes. I’ll feel so light I’ll be ecstatically showing off my sculptured legs and bare arms’
‘When things are all calm and stable at home, and the economy is great then I’ll look for my dream job with a pay increase & more sociable hours, which means I’ll have actual savings and I’ll come home to the family with a smile, not an exhausted snappy snarl’
Every day people are going through a full spectrum of circumstances
- from problems to possibilities
- illness to wellness
- financially strapped to abundantly free etc. etc., and vice versa
If you are always looking ahead i.e. for ‘destination when’, you’ll find you’re never at an arrival point. You’ve chosen to perpetually chase the horizon. Well, guess what, the horizon is the horizon because it’s at a distance from you.
I promise you. When you get what you want, almost always it’s a very short-lived satisfying experience. As soon as you’ve arrived you’ll be looking for more, better, different. That’s the nature of growth.
So how do you find satisfaction, contentment, or happiness if it’s a moving target or short-lived?
The simple answer is, choose to feel satisfied right now, at this very moment. Now I didn’t say it was easy, but it is simple.
Let me help you find it.
Let’s turn around and take a backward glance, and choose to see how far you’ve come already.
As an example, if we took a time in the past, say when you were a teenager. See if we can check in with some of those dreams you had then
- income independent of your parents
- independent living arrangements
- intimate relationships
- independent thoughts, comments & discussions
- freedom of choice – food, hobbies, friends, timekeeping, recreational activities, etc.
You see you are already living in the life of your dreams.
You have arrived.
But you were busy, distracted even, looking for more, better, different?
Tell me, I was right, wasn’t I?
Now what? Bask in the truly wonderful life that you are living already.
Give gratitude for all that you’ve got, all that you’ve accomplished, all that you’ve experienced. And put that gratitude on repeat. Why? Well, studies show that consistently practicing gratitude allows you to reap a whole host of benefits some of which are joy, pleasure, optimism & happiness for example.
There are many people in the third world countries that don’t have these lifestyle luxuries and are happy despite their limited circumstances. This is proof that it’s not the circumstances that are the issue, but rather the way you choose to feel about your life in any given moment.
5 Recommendations for a More Satisfying Life Experience
- Swap aiming for perfect and decide to be happy with just doing your best.
- Recognise that all action offers outcomes, rather than call them mistakes.
- Realise that perfect rests on someone’s opinion and they vary greatly.
- Understand that actively looking and being grateful for all that you already have, brings you more things to be grateful about. This is because you are focusing your mind, energy, and attention on all that is good.
- Start a daily written practice of writing down 5 things that you appreciate. This will help you identify all the wonderful things you currently have and it will serve as a great achievement reminder should life get a little tough later on.
So please go ahead embrace growth and dream your dreams, and whilst you’re about it leverage your ticket of satisfied now as your route to your future desires.