I’ve been thinking a lot about hope this week. Especially how I tend to live without it.
What I mean by that is I’m so used to waiting, and waiting and waiting and waiting, but without the desired results. There are at least two issues with this:
- I stopped waiting expectantly.
- I fell into a pattern of judging my life by results.
So, I’m always left wanting which is a breeding ground for discontentment and discouragement.
Do you know how tiring it is to always be disappointed?
After some soul searching, I realized that beneath all of it is perfectionism.
My Struggle With Perfectionism
When I talked to Matt about this I told him I was surprised. I thought I’d left perfectionism behind. He said I probably did on some level, that this is just a different facet of it.
I told him I don’t know how to not be a perfectionist. It’s so deeply rooted. It’s my heritage. Of course, I did look up ways to overcome it. I read tips like practice gratitude, focus on the present, and let yourself make mistakes.
I can do that. But those seem like such outward approaches. I want to be sure I get to the root of this and heal the part of my soul that uses perfectionism as a coping mechanism. I have a feeling that’s what February will be for.
Anyway, once I recognized my struggle with perfectionism, I realized I’ve been on a desperate quest for the ideal.
- Creating the ideal morning routine.
- Having an ideally decorated home.
- Wanting an ideal body.
- Chasing an ideal lifestyle.
Perfectionism vs. Healthy Pursuits
Then I felt really bad because a big part of my message is to not settle for less than ideal. To dare to enter the messy middle and do the hard work of changing your circumstances.
If you’ve ever walked away from one of my emails or blog posts with the notion that you should be dissatisfied with your life as is, I apologize. That is not my intent.
My intent is to exhort you to seek change where there is clearly a disconnect between how things are vs. how they’re meant to be. Otherwise, my goal is to encourage you to live fully and mindfully in the here and now. To appreciate the life you have and enjoy every bit of it.
Perfectionism Steals From The Present Moment
Earlier today while my Mom and I were running errands, we drove through the school zone at the 9th grade campus Hannah went to. My heart ached. I found myself longing for for those days with her here, waiting for her to get home from school. It’s ironic considering that while I was in the middle of living that stage of life, I wished it away.
I did the same thing with Hannah’s room; wishing away this transition season where she is a college student living thousands of miles away and only uses her bedroom a few weeks out of the year.
The good news is, I think I came to terms with this season the other day. I don’t know what shifted in me (it’s like my soul knew I didn’t need the room to be perfect, just ready for her when she comes home), but I woke up ready to put her room back together.
So, I vacuumed, made the bed, and tweaked the furniture arrangement. Now when I walk past her bedroom and see the freshly made bed, I feel a sense of relief and even some measure of peace. The funny thing is, that’s what I thought perfection would bring me.
Perfection Hinders Progress
My soul is still unraveling this revelation, but what I keep coming back to is this. Perfectionism:
- makes connection and intimacy difficult
- keeps me from being seen
- blocks creativity
Connection, recognition and creativity are all things I’ve been wanting, but my struggle with perfectionism made them impossible to achieve.
Now we’re getting somewhere…