The myth of perfection is a strong one to break. There’s a desire to have everything in place, be in charge, and, well, perfect.
Presenting yourself to other people as perfect is a tough act to keep up. You can show a front that’s never out of order or messy. Always say the right thing, have the right answer, have a quick joke, know everything about anything. It’s a lot of pressure to keep up and ultimately this facade fails the perfectionist.
The end result is that the perfectionist is miserable. Standards are way too high to be met. Too much time is spent looking at the past of what went wrong and to the future of what could go wrong. This is in all effort to keep things controlled and perfect.
Living like this is miserable and someone who is battling the myth of perfection everyday.
The Myth of Perfection in Running
I’ve been injured often in running. Name an injury and I’ve probably had it. One link to my injured past is the desire for the perfect stride. It’s a wasted effort to run perfectly. Ugh.
Since September 2014 I surrendered my ideas of the perfect running form. I’m sure it’s out there but not for me to find. I stopped reading blog posts, books, articles, etc. on running form. Instead, I went to a free running form workshop at my local running store. I got some pointers on what to do and went with it.
I’m not tearing up the roads with my “perfect” form. I’m not faster but I’m happier.
I’ve accepted that I’ll probably get injured again. But now I think about ways to avoid over training and when to replace shoes.
I do the best I can and whatever happens after that just happens.
The Myth of Perfection at Home
I’m constantly seeking perfection from others. My kids, wife, and others. When they’re not perfect like I want them to be, I get all bent out of shape, cranky. Again, it’s exhausting living like this.
Now, it’s not always like this. I’m still trying to figure out why I get upset about a cabinet left open and not about toys left on the floor.
I do know that expecting perfection from everyone makes me not so fun to be around. I recognize that. Kind of like running, I’m letting go more and just going with it. Stop trying to have everything fit nicely; in it’s right place.
The Myth of Perfection in Me
If I can get over myself, then I just might move forward. I used to be worse when it came to perfection. I used to suffer from paralysis from analysis. I would just sit on things and waited when the timing was…perfect.
Before I was married, I wanted to paint my condo. It took my three months to pull the trigger to do it. I feared the disorder my living space would be in because of the paint smell, moving furniture around, and the time. Yet, I was OK with living with flesh colored walls that had yellow stains on them.
I wanted to be machine-like in how I lived my life. It worked for a while but over time machines break down. I was afraid to make mistakes or be uncomfortable. I demanded expected outcomes and feared the unknown. This mindset is crippling. Left me angry, lonely, and unhealthy.
I look like real mess, don’t I? Well, I’m drawing attention to that fact that perfectionism is a problem that creates more trouble than it’s worth. At times I’ve felt inadequate. With social media, those feelings become even greater. It’s tough not to see others portraying perfection in pictures. As a result, the myth of perfection is born and sticks around. Oh, and it’s tough to break.
Breaking the Myth of Perfection
Wait until you’re ready and you’ll run out of time
What helps me break this mindset is being present. I’m constantly reminding myself to pay attention to what’s happening. Don’t try to anticipate what’s going to happen. Avoid the should’ve, could’ve, or would’ve scenario. Live in the now in order to grow.
Mistakes will be made but it’s what happens after is what matters. This is a tough transition for me. As I write this post, I’m struggling with the challenge of letting go of being perfect.
Not every run is a perfect one, but just getting on the road is awesome. Listening to some good music on a run is fun too. Logging a few more miles toward a weight loss goal puts me in a better position than when I left the house.
The house won’t always be clean. Kids aren’t robots and stuff happens. Enjoy the moment as it happens. I’ve never met an elderly person that looks back on their life and regret not having the house always clean, or having the bills organized. Things will get done but not at the time I always want it.
I’m going to be wrong more times than I’m right. Maybe. The point is to put myself out there and see what happens. If I’m wrong, learn from it. If I’m right, learn from it. Playing it safe or living comfortably rarely leads to a richer life. Experiment and find out.
How do you deal with the myth of perfection?