Something I’ve been mulling over in my mind as the year comes to a close is where I am and what progress I’ve made this year. I started this blog with the intention of further understanding my perfectionistic tendencies and attempting to find ways to be free of the never-ending trap of perfectionism. This blog has been a great start in exploring that part of my life more, but it hasn’t been as open as I once envisioned. I love to blog about food, fitness, and my dog (like every other foodie/fitness blogger!), but perfectionism is really what I want to tap into more. Admittedly, it’s hard to be so “real” with something as personal as being a perfectionist. It’s easy to admit that I am a perfectionist, but it’s harder to explain how I am that way, and get into the not-always-pretty details of what that sometimes looks like for me. Right now, I just want to give an update on where I am in this moment in time with still being a perfectionist.
Firstly, I wanted to shed some light on some specific ways that I am a perfectionist. If you’re read any of my other posts, a lot of these things are probably apparent, but here’s an inclusive list:
- My appearance – How I look is a big deal to me. I can get perfectionistic with my hair, how my clothes fit, what my make-up looks like, etc. This also gets into what I physically look like as well, including weight. While I feel I am usually comfortable in my own skin, I still have moments of “am I the right weight?” and “do I look like I should/want to?”
- What I eat – This area tends to come and go. I will go through times of intense tracking of what I eat, which, as a perfectionist and plan type of person, naturally appeals to me. I like to track my food on the My Fitness Pal app, which is really useful and helped me lose weight in the past. But sometimes this just frustrates me too. Then I get into periods of not tracking my food at all, not really planning meals, and this usually leaves me feeling like I’m not doing “enough” to eat healthy and stay on top of what I eat.
- Cleaning – Anyone who has known me for any period of time knows that I am literally obsessed with cleaning. I have always been neat, tidy, and have the love of all-things clean. Since having my own apartment with my husband, I’ve realized even more how sort of crazy-obsessed I can become with tidying and cleaning.
- My Faith – I’ve had ups and downs this year in my relationship with God. It’s something that’s very important to me, but even this part of who I am is not left untouched from my desires for perfection. Although I trust God, I don’t trust Him enough, and I still have a performance-based faith a lot of the time. This is driven by my own pressures that I put on myself. I go through periods of knowing His grace and love for me – realizing that He loves me regardless of what I do or don’t do – and I also go through periods of thinking that my efforts to have a relationship with Him aren’t enough, that I am not enough for God.
- Relaxing in general – Just in the past few months, I’ve been finding it increasingly hard to just sit back and relax. It’s like I have to give myself permission to stop wanting to do all the things I want to do (read, blog, clean some more…) and just let go. This is so hard for me since my drive for things to be perfect can be so fiery at times. Sitting down and not working so hard to achieve things? That’s an option? These are the thoughts that go through my head. And sometimes, even when I mentally try to let myself chill out, minutes later, I find my mind chugging away at all I “have to do” again.
Secondly, I want to note that while I tend to struggle with these specific areas, my general “perfectionism” has gotten tremendously better this year. I think in a way, I feel like I should have made more progress or that I shouldn’t struggle with anything at all since I set my mind on making progress in this area this year. But of course I still struggle. I may always struggle with it, even if just a teeny little bit. In my attempt to accomplish good, I overstep and am riddled with worry and self-doubt at times because I so long for things to be just right. But so often, things aren’t just right. My clothes don’t fit right that day. I didn’t have time for a workout. I have to leave the apartment a mess. The bread I was going to eat is moldy. I missed my daily devotional again. This isn’t my everyday, but this is life. Life isn’t perfect, and I wrestle with that fact in times like these. All these areas listed above are just a few of the ways that I see my life impacted by wanting perfection.
But sometimes I just have to remember that happiness is a choice to make every day, and that I’m the one that chooses my actions. It’s hard to step out of certain perfectionist-y habits that I have because they’re just that – habits. But becoming aware of my insecurities has helped me tremendously to see just how to promote change in myself. 2012 was my year to start really recognizing and coming to terms with me: the perfectionist. I’m hopeful for 2013 to begin breaking out of habits I want to see changed and progress even more into the person I desire to be: a person happy with herself and her life, imperfections and all.
- Question for you: How are you a “perfectionist,” even if you don’t consider yourself one? What one habit about yourself do you want to change?