Let's Talk Perfection: 9 Things to Remember When You're Trying to Be Perfect, and How to Just Start Trying to Be
I never thought I was a perfectionist... I just thought I was a quitter. I am the youngest of three siblings and, growing up, I hated playing with them. They beat me at everything. They were bigger and, at the time, smarter than I was. Now, obviously because this is my article and they aren't here to argue, I am the smartest of the three!
At a young age, our parents taught us that we can't quit what we start. For years I had to suffer through the agonizing defeats that they almost always bestowed on me. And let's not pretend that they were gracious winners. I still have nightmares about the gloating that ensued once the winner claimed victory.
Our parent's also instilled in us another life mantra, try everything once. So you can't quit what you start, but you can quit if you tried it once? So if I tried playing with my extremely obnoxious brother and sister and they were beating me I can quit because I tried?
This became my out. I tried it, I clearly wasn't good at it, so I quit. It wasn't until about a year ago that I realized that it's not that I'm not good at something, it's that I'm not the best at it. I have to be the best.
And clearly that needs to come immediately with no practice, time, learning, etc. Once this revelation, from God I'm assuming, hit me, it was like I was born again. The heavens opened, light beamed down and the angels sang! Or was it the cartoon light bulb turning on above my head? Either way, I seriously felt like I had found all of the answers to the universe! Now my life can begin.
So today, about a year later, I am clearly amazing right? I have it all figured out. I'm patient, perfect, the best! Yeah, right. But I am better. Below are some tips that helped me along the way.
9 things to remember when you're trying to be perfect, and how to just start trying to be:
The grass isn't greener on the other side, it's greener where you water it.
I think that this is by far the most important thing to remember in your life. It is amazing to have goals. They are necessary to move forward in life! But do not become so bogged down by what you don't have and focus on what you do have. Over the course of my very short 28 years I cannot tell you how many things I wanted to be when I grew up. A lawyer, the first female president, a sailor, a political science major, a sorority girl, a fashion designer, a Victoria's Secret model, etc. etc. etc. Those things did not happen, and I don't foresee my lack of political career taking me to the White House one day. But do you know what I did become in the last 28 years? A high school graduate, a Marine, a friend, a wife, an entrepreneur, a businesswoman, a confident woman, a woman who is not afraid to speak up, and so much more.
I bet that some of the things that are checked off on my list, others wish that they had. And guess what? I've taken all of those things for granted at some point. So what do I do when I start wishing to be/do something else? I stop and take a minute to really absorb my surroundings. I know this sounds kooky but stick with me. Stop and close your eyes and take a deep breath. Remember that life is good. You're alive. Find a few things that are going right and hold on to those things until the things that are going "wrong" work themselves out. I am a firm believer that everything works out and everything happens for a reason. Trust me, trust yourself, everything will work out. Put the effort into what you want to manifest in your life and it will come. But it does take effort, and patience, and practice, and the learning can never stop.
Overthinking. Man, if there was one thing in the world that I wish everyone would stop doing it is overthinking. Seriously! First, because it takes the fun out of EVERYTHING. Maybe I don't think over important decisions enough sometimes, I admit, but I can think on the fly. Just jump. Just do it, as my friends at Nike say. What is that you want to do? Do you want to move? Change careers? Dye your hair? Do it. What is holding you back? You are the only person in control of your life and if you don't take the jump, who is?
I've never been much of an overthinker, so this one is actually pretty easy for me. But as this article is supposed to give some form of advice on each of these points, here it is: Make a pro/con list. Think about it for an appropriate amount of time. Then leap. Dive head first, be scared, then learn to fly. It is scary. But the rewards are worth it. Trust me.
Nobody is perfect, even if they appear to be.
Ladies and gents, stop comparing yourself to someone else. Please, I beg you! You have no idea what someone else is going through, especially if you don't even know them. We are all guilty of this but it is a no-good, waste of time. Instead, let's focus on what we love about ourselves and our own lives. Or, if you see something about someone else that you just love, work hard to get it. That's the key, hard work. Do you want nice legs? (Yes, I do!) Then work hard, eat right and they'll come. Do you want a new career? Find out how to get there. Who do you need to contact, what does your resume need to contain? Research and then do.
Also, remember that the "perfect" person that you're idolizing probably has things that they wish were different in their life too.
This is it. You are living right now. This second. Now this one. (You're not getting that last second back.)
Psssst, I have something to tell you. Are you ready? This life that you're living right this very second, it could be it! Morbid, I know. But until someone can actually prove that reincarnation is real, this is it. Let's make the best of it. Take the trip, quit your dead end job, shave your head... whatever it is you want, just do it. (Nike really knew what they were doing with that tag line.)
I was at a BBQ a few weeks ago and I was talking with a very nice couple and the topic of travel came up. I was saying how sometimes I feel guilty because I want to travel more but I feel like I need to work harder. They looked at me and said, almost in unison, "Nobody on their death bed has ever said that they wished that they had worked harder." Do we really want to look back in 60 years and feel like our life wasn't fulfilled? I don't. Book the plane tickets, have fun, no regrets.
P.S. My goal for next year is to take a week long vacation. 7 consecutive days doing something fun! Any suggestions?
Do it right now. Doesn't that feel better? What is it about a smile that just warms your heart? Every time that I start getting bitchy and start thinking how the world is out to get me today, I smile. It makes a world of difference, even if it's only for a few seconds. Practice smiling. Incorporate it into your daily life. Wake up and smile, brush your teeth and smile, drive and smile, etc. It's just like that part in Eat, Pray, Love when the medicine man was telling Elizabeth Gilbert to smile even in her liver. Is your liver smiling?
Remember that when you have two annoying older siblings that think they are better than you, one day you'll all be grown up and the playing field will be even.
Ok maybe not all of that, but remember that tomorrow is a new day and that nobody is better than you. Both of those things are very important, but especially the latter. Nobody is better than you and you are not better than anybody. Every single person is created equal. If you start to feel intimated by a person or situation, stop and think about why you feel that way. I can bet that it's not the situation/person that is intimidating you, it is probably your own insecurities. That is when you need to grab your confidence and fake it 'til you make it. And, if today you get intimidated or you fumble something, tomorrow is a new day.
Other people's opinions of you are none of your business.
Period. End of story. I was about 19 or 20 when I started repeating this to myself daily, maybe even hourly. I used to have severe anxiety and I was a hormonal teenager in the Marine Corps. My life was very stressful, especially when I was constantly worried about what other's were thinking of me. How did I overcome this? I repeated to myself, "other people's opinions of me are none of my business" all of the time. Another trick, stop gossiping. Do you want people to talk about you behind your back? I didn't think so. When you stop contributing to the white noise, it disappears. Leave the negativity at the door and if you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything at all. Because that is the courtesy that we would want other's to extend to us.
This one will take time, but I promise it is worth it. Repeat it every day. Stop gossiping about others. One more thing on this one, if your friends start telling you something that so and so said about you, stop them. Just say, I don't want to hear it. If it's not good/positive, then I don't need to know. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.
Money is fleeting... and you can't take it your grave.
Money is stressful. Boy oh boy is it stressful. But when you have the option between take out and a night out, choose whichever one is going to bring you the most joy. Or when you have the option between a trip with your friends or you cable bill, cut the cord. I'm not saying that you should dig yourself into a pile of debt, but I am saying figure out how to make it work. Grab a part time job so that you can enjoy some of the finer things in life, like a Five Guys burger!
The point is, you have to live and don't let your money woes hold you back. Life is going to keep moving forward regardless. Plus, there are many jobs out there that you can do from your home for some extra income. Or sell your old stuff on eBay, Poshmark, Craigslist, your local Facebook exchange, etc. Just think of all of the money that is sitting in your closet or garage. Purge and reap the rewards!
Surround yourself with good people.
One of my favorite things that I have ever read was a quote that said, "You emulate the 5 people that you spend the most time with." How true is this? Surround yourself with people that contain positive characteristics. And it's ok to say goodbye to that toxic friend. I promise that it's not the end of the world.
Remember that all of these things take time and you are not going to be the best at something the first time that you try. But that doesn't mean that you can't be the best one day. You're never to old/young to start. Once you set your mind to something, just do it. Jump in head first and learn to fly on your way down. Do you have any tips on how to live your best life? Comment below and let us know!