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Perfection is a Joy Killer
Perfection is a controversial subject. Before we go further, let’s define “perfection” so we can have a neutral ground.
“Perfection is the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.” – Wikipedia
Being free of flaws…”An attempt to be free of flaw” pretty much sums up my life from the age of 9 to 35 . When I was 35 years old, I ended up in hospital because I was trying so hard to be perfect, and my body wasn’t able to keep up. I know that sounds extreme, but it’s true. I didn’t know it at that time, or for that matter, didn’t want to hear it, but soon, I could no longer deny it.
Chasing After Perfection is a Way of Life
The need to be “perfect” runs deeps in me. It’s how I approached life and, to this day, it’s still how I first approach anything. Take how I approach the way I take care of my skin as an example.
Until I was 37 ( I’m now 42), I took pleasure in taking care of my skin, doing my make up, and even my beauty regimen in general. I bought popular beauty product brands and had a morning and night routine…I did mask here and there. The girly stuff.
Then I was taught about the level of toxicity and danger in commercial beauty products. If you don’t know it yet, most commercial beauty products contains heavy metals, phthalates, tar, sulfates, and other chemicals that our bodies recognize as toxins. Thus, if we want to be healthier, we should avoid beauty products containing these chemicals.
So here’s how the perfectionist in me thinks: Stephanie, you know this information, so you have to ditch all these products and go 100% clean. Do your research and look for the safest and cleanest products you can ever hope to find, and let’s use that going forward. So I spent hours doing research and found that the only way to be 100% clean of any chemical was to use food grade organic beauty product.
Guess what I did. I found a company that manufactured 100% perfect beauty products, ordered the entire line, and threw out all the products that I was using…and I mean ALL. I figured that if I couldn’t buy 100% perfect beauty products, I must learn to make them. The most available product in my bathroom was coconut oil, which I used for my hair, body, face and even my teeth.
Does this sound familiar to you? Think about how this applies to other aspects of your life: obsession with exercise or food, the way you dress, how you are perceived at work, what people think about you, etc…
Where Does It Come From?
Eventually, I became aware of this tendency towards perfectionism and it took a lot of introspection. So you won’t have to spend weeks, months or years looking for answers, I will go straight to the point:
Our attempt to achieve “perfection” is really our way of compensating for what we perceive as our inadequacies.
In my case, my perfectionism is deeply rooted in my early engagement in sports. At very young age, I was into competitive sports and was taught that being number one was the only acceptable result. If I wasn’t able to win that gold medal or hold the #1 position, it was because I didn’t work hard enough… and guess what happened. When I didn’t reach #1 or broke records or get that gold medal, it only meant I wasn’t working hard enough.
The “not working hard enough” belief registered in my subconscious mind. I spent the following 25 years attempting to prove to the world that I was working hard enough… even in my beauty routine!
Crazy but true!
Excellence Versus Perfectionism
Today, I strive for excellence rather than perfection. I want to be the best that I can be, but the results or outcomes don’t define me as a person. I don’t strive to prove anything to the world; rather, I strive for happiness while in the pursuit of my goals.
Back to beauty routines…I want to have pleasure and fun with my beauty routine. I want to have a healthy skin, radiant glow, soft skin, etc… but not at the expense of my enjoyment of the process of caring for myself.
So I put back the jar of coconut oil back in the kitchen and found products that would keep me safe and healthy, and still provide me joy and pleasure. I was able to find an awesome brand of beauty products with a vision: progress over perfection. Talk about alignment of values!
I adopted the 80/20 rule for my entire life, personal and business. Less is more is my new motto. Is it easy? No, because in most cases, my first thought is: what is the best of best? How can I make this perfect? Then, my ability to be present and self-aware protects me from acting on the first thought and actually make a different decision.
Being present and self-aware is the “cure” for perfectionism.
It’s a journey…
Last episode was about intuitive eating. I had an interview with Devyn Sisson, the author of Kitchen Intuition. We talked about what intuitive eating is and how to bring it to your life. I strongly recommend that you check it out!
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Links mentioned in this episode:
Why I ditched coconut oil blog post: https://www.stephaniedodier.com/why-i-ditched-coconut-oil/
Episode 063 – Dr. Lipton on the subconscious mind: https://www.stephaniedodier.com/063
Self-awareness blog post: https://www.stephaniedodier.com/064
The Crave Cure Program: https://www.stephaniedodier.com/cravecure
Beyond The Food Community: https://www.stephaniedodier.com/community
Support me by leaving a review about this episode: http://bit.ly/2gilTsw
How you can reach Stephanie:
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Email: [email protected]
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