By Nadine Saad
I always call perfectionism 'fear in high-heeled shoes'.
Hearing Elizabeth Gilbert, one of my favourite writers, say these words in an interview was just the wake-up call I needed.
I used to pride myself on being a perfectionist. But her candid perspective held a mirror up for me, which I instantly knew I needed to look into more closely. And look closely I did.
Perfectionism is one of the most toxic illusions we buy into. And it’s exhausting.
It stifles creativity, curiosity, authenticity, spontaneity and intuition. It holds us back from taking action and making progress. Its pressure is a direct route to burnout if we're not careful. It certainly led me to burnout!
And if we’re being completely honest with ourselves, it’s a standard we set out of fear of not measuring up.
I'd struggled with perfectionism for years, yet all the while, I happily convinced myself that it was a positive trait.
I pressured myself to achieve perfect results, not realising that I was actually trying to hide the fact that I didn’t feel good enough underneath it all. I couldn't see that I was masking fears of failure and rejection at the time. Burning the candle at both ends, while swanning gracefully on the surface. I believed I needed to look the part perfectly, trying to gloss over the parts of me that I thought were flawed. And I projected these fears outwardly, stressing about people and things around me in very unhealthy ways.
Until I realised where the pressure of perfectionism was stemming from.
While this was a massive reality check, it came as an incredible relief at the same time. Because once I could see it clearly for what it was, I was able to let perfectionism go pretty quickly.
And this felt like an enormous exhale.
I no longer felt I needed to reach for impossible ideals, and could see what was driving this pattern with a lot more self-compassion.
Without the rigidity and controlling tendencies of perfectionism, I could let things go with more ease, which meant I could allow for more flow, possibility and grace.
I was able to accept that I will never be "perfect". None of us are, or ever will be perfect. Nothing will ever be perfect. And I could finally accept that this is perfectly alright.
But above all, it meant permission to accept myself - just as I was - that little bit more.
Disclaimer: The information in this post, and all of my other blog posts, is provided for general information purposes only.