On scrapping perfection, and other seemingly impossible tasks.

You know those annoying people who set unreachable goals and resolutions, have a disgusting amount of self control and will power and are always doing the right, perfect, never-need-whiteout things? 

Yeah, I spent a lot of years as one of those people. 

Hello, my name is Nicole. I am a firstborn, people pleasing perfectionist. Or, at least I used to be. Now, I just stuff that part of myself into a deep, dark mental box...just kidding. My therapist would be so embarrassed. The truth is, believe it or not, I started identifying and working with the shame I felt surrounding my failure and vulnerability. I started acknowledging the middle. That ill-defined between space that exists between the two farthest points on the spectrum of all human behavior. Yes, I am telling you that you can make mistakes - fail miserably even - and still make progress toward your goals and achieve unbelievable success. 

I always thought the middle-moderation-mistake making "no mans land" equated to failure. But you know, I was wrong. Like, really wrong. The middle is magical. The middle allows for both failure and success, for loss and for gain; it allows for real life. Nobody wins by being perfect. It's impossible. It's a destination no one can ever get to, and the time, effort and sense of self you lose trying to get there isn't worth it. Trust me, I tried. And I thought I had arrived, only I didn't realise until it was too late that my solution was to starve all of my problems and my shame away. Whether your personal solution is to resort to over control (disordered eating, over exercising, micromanaging, etc.) completely surrendering control (over eating, binge eating, under functioning), or somewhere in the middle of those two, you know just as well as I do that it's not a happy comfortable feel-good place to live. 

I won't pretend to have unshackled all of my perfectionist tendencies. I still struggle. Just ask my husband who is privy to most of my "but that's not (read as: I'm not) good enough" meltdowns...like when he challenged me to eliminate food logging from my life for the month of January. But I have found a lot of freedom in this new space. And just as I advise my clients to "wipe the slate clean" each and every day, I began doing that very thing. And it. was. awesome. 

I indulged a little, lived a lot and let myself make mistakes. And guess what? I didn't move any further away from my goals. In fact, I moved closer. Because, as it turns out, exercising perfection, wearing guilt and shame like a weighted vest is not a great way to get to where you want to go. 

You can be imperfect and progress. Failure can be a step to success. To lose can be to gain. It just takes a shift in your perspective and a hell of a lot of practice. 

 

Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well.