Do you remember those little books when we were kids, little miss messy, little miss happy? I was little miss perfect, 42 years later and I’m still trying. I’ve been fighting perfectionism my entire life. I grew up in a family where being perfect, for me, was a coping strategy. Being perfect kept me safe, being perfect kept me out of harm’s way. If being perfect is your go-to coping mechanism for a long time, things can get, well, stressful. As a kid, I learned to control everything about myself, how I ate, talked, looked, performed, so that it met a very high and very unrealistic standard. Over time, I just couldn’t handle the pressure of that anymore and as I became an adult, it was more and more difficult for me to meet the same high standards that I now set for myself.
That’s the crazy thing about that little voice inside your head that tells you you’re not good enough. It’s my dad’s voice, it just sounds an awful lot like me. Over time, I’ve learned, with the help of an amazingly talented therapist, to put that voice in check, to challenge those perfectionist behaviours that come out, especially when I’m stressed or feeling anxious about something. Now I try to just breathe and remember that if things aren’t perfect and I’m not perfect that’s ok. No one is going to yell at me and tell me I’m a waste of space. I’m not and neither are you. xo Janet