My 'thank u, next' Farewell to The Ridiculous Standard of Perfection
Yesterday, I felt like I was hitting my head against a wall trying to figure out the perfect blog to post today. I sat at work after hours with a silent office and a new Google Doc opened in front of me, and I couldn’t think of a single word to write. The writer’s block was REAL, and the amount of stress that I was feeling because of it was a little concerning. I had a severe moment of panic, wondering if I had already dried up on ideas only one month into launching this blog.
I expect perfection from myself. I expect my every action, every word, every look, everything about myself to be perfect. I expect myself to be the perfect writer, friend, daughter, sister, colleague, and human, and when I don’t meet the standards I set for myself, I give up. I become intimidated by watching 'other people do it better than me', and I wonder if it’s even worth giving my full effort if I’m just not going to be the best, anyway. It’s something that all of my friends and family have called me out on multiple times, and definitely is my greatest human obstacle. But like all lessons, it's one that I have had to come to terms with on my own, sometimes the hard way.
So many of us experience the biting anxiety that comes from expecting self-perfection, yet we continue to set mostly unattainable heights that leave us feeling disappointed and questioning our self-worth. Yesterday, I caught myself jealously staring at one of my dearest friend’s Instagram photos, wishing my life could be as pastel-y as hers, while knowing full well that she, too, has gone through many personal struggles. With social media running the world, we see photos of friends and strangers whose lives appear to be bright, colorful, and high definition, and wonder why our lives aren’t as perfect as theirs. And while there might be a small, rational voice in the back of our minds that reminds us in a whisper that no one’s life is perfect, it can be hard to reconcile with that when we’re constantly comparing ourselves to others.
And what does ‘perfection’ mean, anyway? Who set the standard for perfection? And who set the ridiculous standard of perfection for women? Why do we always have to be a certain way based on some archetype of parameters? Why can’t we just BE? I'm finally starting to understand just how ridiculous the concept of perfection is, and I'm determined to rebel against it.
I received two signs from the universe that I needed to chill out. When I called my dad last night, he said, ‘I’m waiting for your new blog post!’ I said, “I don’t know what to write!” And he said to me, “Just write — it will come.”
The other sign was a text message from a friend later in the evening, which said, “At no point let this project weigh upon you - let it be a source of joy and delight!”
Both my dad and my friend were absolutely correct. I think I’ve always known that the only way I’m going to kick this perfection addiction is by fully accepting myself, flaws and all. I’m human. I make mistakes. I make bad choices. I look beautiful one day, then look like I haven’t slept for days the next. I’m too this, I’m too that. I just AM. And I am starting to lean in and feel so, so okay with that.
So today, after my morning meditation, I wrote an intention in my diary to let go of the ego connected to perfection, to accept whatever words are intended to flow out of me, and, above all, to accept myself for who I am, flaws and all. Then, this blog post came flooding out. (Nana, If you’re reading this, I’m publicly admitting that you were right. Again.).
This is my ‘thank u, next’ farewell to perfection (in honor of the Ariana Grande song ha), the word that has for too long ruled my psyche and impacted my every action. This blog post is definitely not perfect, but if it were, what would be the point of writing it? By saying goodbye to perfection, I am moving more into that space of naturalness that I aspire to achieve both through meditation and my own hard work. This is me, flaws and all. And it’s about damn time I was proud of that.