I’ve struggled with my inter critic my entire life. The little voice in my head that tells me I’m not good enough as a wife, a mom, an employee and friend. However, within the last few years I’ve made great strides towards overcoming perfectionism and am able to find peace in the moment. I’ve had so many compliments on my confidence lately that I had to take notice and what I’ve realized is that I’m confident because I’ve stopped trying to be perfect.
Last week, we had some major flooding in our town and our perfect play room was filled with water. Within just a few hours our “perfect” house became a construction zone again. Now that we’re working through it, I can say with confidence that this was the universe’s not-so-gentle way of reminding me that perfection is unattainable and life is a work in progress.
If this were to have happened a few years ago, I probably would have reacted a lot differently. Instead I had the confidence to know that we would get through it and it gave me peace of mind. These type of situations are temporary and having my priorities in check helped me to remember what is important.
Here are some things that have helped me get out of my head and stop trying to be perfect all the time.
I realized that more often than not, the people you’re with are likely more focused on themselves.
Failure is inevitable. I graduated college in 2008 and after three failed Advertising gigs, I took a chance and started working in technology. My choice ended up being the best decision for me and I came in to my new company without a fear of rejection.
As someone who gives presentations most every day, I’ve learned to get out of head and own who it. It’s so easy to get caught up in what people think of you, but when you think about it the people in the room are likely thinking about how they look, or what they said, or simply not paying attention. And if you make a mistake, I’ve found that owning it, correcting it and moving on sometimes earns you more respect than trying to gloss over it.
Simply put, my confidence comes from being confident in who I am while also knowing that mistakes are going to happen. This keeps me humble and takes my focus away from trying to be perfect to being my best self. And at the end of the day, you have to believe your best self is good enough.
I became a Mom and quickly learned that the only way to survive is to trust your instincts and not question them.
I thought that I had felt judged before in my life and then I became a Mom. And, man, it’s tough out there! Thankfully I caught on quickly and learned to own my decisions as a parent. Because if you don’t, the judgement might cause you to crumble.
Breastfeeding vs Formula, Daycare vs Stay-at-Home Mom, Baby Lead Weaning vs Purees, I could go on. The choices you make as a parent are never ending and it’s hard not to question. Luckily, I’ve learned that my instincts are typically right and are what’s best for my family. And guess what, every other Mama out there is doing the same so let’s be a bit easier on each other.
I have started using no as a complete sentence.
Over the past few years I have spent a lot of time thinking about my priorities. I’ve become ruthless about making sure I spent it in a way that aligns to my priorities. I treat my time like I would a bank account and anything that does not fit in the budget goes- end of story.
I got out of the comparison trap.
In today’s world where sharing life on social media is the norm, the comparison trap can rear it’s ugly head. It’s easy to compare yourself to others and we all do it. I’ve learned to check myself before I go too far.
These days, I’ll admit that my life can look pretty good on social media. There are always bad days that go unseen and otherwise boring occurrences that aren’t “share worthy.” So I’ve come to love social media for what it is- a highlight reel, for better or worse.
Last but not least, I’ve accepted that there are things in life you cannot control.
Life happens and the only thing you can control is your reaction to it. For me, when I’m going through a tough time I remind myself that I will get through and eventually it’ll be in the past. Life is a series of peeks and valleys and I relish in the good moments. I laugh at my not-so-perfect moments and use tough times as a learning opportunity.
If you’re going through a tough time or having a hard time silencing your inner critic, I hope these tips help you. A few years ago I never thought I would be able to let go of perfectionism, but here I am. Thanks to all the friends who encouraged me to write this post and pointed out the confidence I embody these days.