Familiar With Perfection?
I am very familiar with Perfection as a Life Pattern. It often shows up early in childhood and it’s well ingrained by the time we are grown.
It begins harmless enough. It’s a useful tool that created joy and satisfaction.
However, later in life it turns into a weapon. We use it against ourselves and others. This creates feelings of stress and self-criticism.
Perfection can also be a gift. An excellent tool. In fact, I hope the engineer who designed the planes I fly on paid attention to every detail. I hope he/she revised their plans many times. Tweaking them until they worked perfectly for my convenience and safety.
Without perfectionists we wouldn’t have many of the amazing conveniences we take for granted every day. They are smart. They change the world and make it better.
Perfection’s Impact On Relationships
When a person applies the same perfectionist traits in relationships, no joy will come. In this area there is no “right” way.
People are all unique. Relationships have to be navigated by choice and preferences, not hard rules. What’s right for me may not work for my friend or husband. We can have our boundaries, of course. Yet no one is perfect.
There are no hard rules that apply to all relationships. This is where the very same pattern that built the best airplane can cut a friend to shreds.
The Price You Pay
Perfectionists are hard on themselves and others. These high expectations lead to disappointment, anger and unhappiness. Never satisfied. Consistently raising the bar leaves little space to celebrate the wins.
This stress is bad for your health and well-being. Perfectionism keeps you in fight or flight mode, stressing your adrenals and stimulating constant fear. You may not be aware of this, but your body has to process these emotions. Being calm and content is the best way to restore well-being.
In QNRT we work to release Life Patterns. Life Patterns are beliefs and coping mechanisms we use to navigate our lives. They help us cope for a while. At some point, we need to let them go.
The Life Pattern associated with perfection is called Unrelenting Standards. It is rooted in unworthiness and shame. Those running this pattern work extra hard to be perfect so they can deserve love, praise or attention.
One of the areas we work with in QNRT is cerebral medulla. When unrelenting standards show up in this area for example, we learn to feel good about our value in all situations. When we make mistakes or get off course, it does not change our value. Your value is not a result of what you accomplish.
Unrelenting Standards is one of the first Life Patterns I personally worked on as a QNRT client. I found myself juggling my life. I love my family, my work, my quiet time and fun. Just like any good juggler, one ball eventually hits the floor, maybe two.
To make it worse, I didn’t feel satisfaction for what I had done well. I found myself picking apart what didn’t get done and felt bad.
In addition to juggling too many things, I had to do them right and on time. I wanted to look like a Rockstar.
The pressure of this was crushing my natural joy and creative gifts and turned my life into stress and not sleeping.
How Did I Get That Way?
As a child I received attention and favor by being a good girl. My mom always said it was amazing to have one child who helped around the house. I made good grades without asking for help. I was her champion. I wasn’t a slacker.
I decided early on that being perfect made my mom happy. It was the best feeling in the world. I didn’t ask for help. I became overly independent. I went on in life determined to get that positive approval from teachers, bosses and others. This was well ingrained in me.
What worked like a charm in my childhood, created problems for me as an adult. Once I understood what I was doing, it was also easier to let go.
“No” Is A Complete Sentence
In order to do all of the things that are important to me, I have finally decided to lower the bar.
I learned that “NO” is a complete sentence.
I choose to be satisfied and happy when things are good enough
I celebrate small wins and laugh more
I’d rather be happy than right
Show up, do your best, then let it go
Set Yourself Free
If you see yourself in the descriptions above, I invite you to rate your Joy (1-10). How happy are you? Would you like to set yourself free? Doing it is not hard. Deciding is.
Decide to be happy with who you are. Stop and smell the roses. Life wants to celebrate you. Relax and allow yourself some true joy. You are good enough. You deserve all of the good in this world. You are amazing and beautiful and imperfect. It’s actually a relief to most people.
The people who love me still think I am a Rockstar. Consequentley, I can laugh and see myself that way too.