Define perfect. Seriously, pause, take a breath, and define the word perfect. Then notice what you are referencing in your definition – is it something about you and what you wish you had?
Be honest… Are you describing something that is possible?
If you define the word perfect in relation to your physical body, that’s common. Or if your first thought was about your mind, that’s common. If it was about your lifestyle, accolades and abundance, that’s common.
But is it healthy? Or are you setting yourself up for inevitable failure?
Since you’re reading this, I’ll bet your seeking to improve your life in some way. And that’s fantastic! It’s great – and healthy – to have goals. But if your goal is perfection, I’m sorry to break it to you, but perfection does not exist. Not as we define it, anyway.
I spent years working hard to achieve “perfect” health. After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder when I was 12 years old, I carved a deep chasm between my mind and my body – this broken thing that had failed me. But at the same time, I tried to control my body from every angle. This sparked anxiety, isolation, and fear of almost everything that came near my broken body. Take sugar, for example. I used to think that if even a little bit crossed my lips that I had been defeated. If I ate one treat… Well, cue the drama.
What we really mean by the word perfect is the word control. No surprises. Steady, smooth sailing. And it makes sense! It’s our human condition to hate losing control. The thing about control is that we convince ourselves anything and everything is under our own rules and preferences. We try to control what has never, and will never, be our own to control. That creates a real problem of perpetual let downs, failures and misery.
“Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is rather than as you think it should be.”
– Dr Wayne Dyer
Things you can control:
- The food you put in your mouth (based on what you have access to and the ability to purchase)
- What you say to yourself and others
- The actions you take or don’t take
- How you earn and spend your money
- The way you respond to things that happen outside of your control
Things you cannot control:
- The weather
- What other people say, do and think
If you try to control something that you can’t, you can overcompensate with your diet. It’s common. After all, you are the one putting food into your mouth, right? But please… Don’t use diet to hide other areas of your life that are in dysfunction (i.e. things you can control but refuse to acknowledge or things you cannot control but are losing sleep by trying to).
Control comes with responsibility. If your body needs fats but you’re not allowing any near your lips because you fear it will make you gain weight, then you aren’t controlling your diet in a positive, beneficial way. Instead, you’re manipulating that responsibility.
If you are at war with your body, like I was, read these words and let them soak in: You have an ingenious body that is doing its best to function well for you, but it needs your help. Most of that help simply comes from letting go of the focus you have on “perfection” and stepping up to the plate to do what is possible and beneficial.
“A real sign of progress is when we no longer punish ourselves for our imperfections.” – Yung Pueblo
If you want help getting clear on what that means, let’s chat. I’ll help you get to the actual root cause of your health struggles and create a plan for you to compassionately and intelligently help your body function better.
So, I challenge your definition of the word perfect with this one:
Perfect is your life. It includes every swing of the pendulum that teaches you important information and skills for personal and global progress. Every baby step, even the backward ones, are perfect because they teach something valuable that couldn’t be learned any other way. The goal of perfection isn’t an internal and external world that’s completely under your control; the goal of perfection is self-love.
“To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.” – Eckhart Tolle
You are so much more than numbers on a scale or the car you drive or the impressive photos on your Instagram page. Take the time to get to know who you are underneath it all. I promise, you will adore the person you discover. That is the person, the Being, that you are responsible for nourishing.
As you begin to witness your own mindset around perfectionism, remember these two things:
1. The goal of perfection is self-love, not control. Every day, celebrate each tiny step you make as progress. And on those days when you take one or ten steps back, acknowledge the lessons you learned and commit to trying again the next day – because you love yourself and the immeasurable value you have.
2. Your value cannot diminish by anything – no sweet treat or supplement, college degree or lack thereof, a few pounds gained or lost, etc. etc. can ever change your immeasurable worth.
Accountability is key to any of us as we shift our mindsets and habits. So, please feel free to share in the comments below: If you could perfect just one thing, what would it be and why? What is one thing you can do today that would bring you a little bit closer?