If you have a tendency to be really mean to yourself, you’re probably a perfectionist.
For me, admitting I was a perfectionist wasn’t easy. As mentioned in one of the podcasts that inspired this post(1), we often conflate perfectionists with high-achievers. Since I tell myself I’m a total bum, aka the complete opposite of a high-achiever, then I can’t be a perfectionist right? Naw. We perfectionist tend to get in our way so much we impede ourselves from achieving all we are capable of. When I say “we” I mean “me” but I get the feeling these sentiments will resonate with a lot of you out there.
Perfectionism and allowing are two words that have been on my mind lately thanks to two powerful podcasts I recently heard (more on them later). These podcasts got me thinking of the ways I was letting perfectionism stunt my own growth. When we let our perfectionism-fueled self-doubt and anxiety take over, we leave no space for allowing. Anything that doesn’t go 100% our way is seen as a failure, worse we view ourselves as failures. Any perceived setback is just another piece of evidence for our case against ourselves. It’s proof that we really do suck at everything.
By contrast, when we operate from a place of allowing we receive everything that comes to us, the good and the bad, one step at a time. We don’t make things bigger than they have to be. A setback, really doesn’t have to mean we are the most useless human being on earth. It can just be a challenge to overcome.
Now, I’m not saying we all make a complete 180 and go into “Heck yes! Embrace the challenge! I love the challenge” mode. It would be great if we could all do that all the time, but if you are anything like me, that might be asking for a bit too much. Part of cultivating a state of allowance, is giving ourselves permission to feel the entire spectrum of human emotions. Sometimes we feel weak. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed. Sometimes we feel fearful. When we allow ourselves to feel those not so pleasant emotions it becomes easier to acknowledge them and then LET THEM GO.
Training The Art of Allowing
Moving past my perfectionism and into a place of allowing is something I need to work on in all areas of my life, one in particular being how approach my Muay Thai training. (Hope you all aren’t tired of hearing about my training! It’s just so easy to take lessons learned at the gym and apply them out of the gym! Plus, it is my #1 hobby! I dedicate a substantial amount of time to it. Anyway…)
I’ve really found myself struggling in the past few months. Training is filled with ups and downs and I’ve definitely been in a down. My mental game just hasn’t been up to par and I have felt it affect my physical game. My disappointing performances in turn affect my mentality and thus we got ourselves a vicious and unhelpful cycle!
I’ve found my thoughts consumed by self-doubt. My anxiety and fears are so loud that I hear them in the middle of training!
- I’m too slow of a learner. I’m never going to remember and pick up these techniques.
- Everyone else is way better than me. I’m just out here embarrassing myself.
- I’m not a natural athlete. I’ll never catch up to everyone else.
- I’m too weak. I’m too inflexible. I’m too slow and etc… You get the picture!
I’ve been pondering how the heck I’m going to change my mentality cuz clearly the one I’m operating on is not working! I’ve tried to think more positive, to tell myself it’s not as hard as I’ve been telling myself it is. I’ve tried to not get frustrated so easily when I find myself having a difficult time picking up a technique. I’ve tried to not compare myself to my teammates. I’ve tried all this with limited to no success but you know what I haven’t tired? ALLOWING MYSELF TO FEEL AND BE EXACTLY WHERE I AM.
As a perfectionist, I don’t like being bad at things. In my mind, if I’m going to be “bad” at something then I might as well not do it. I’m ready to stop throwing in the towel when the going gets tough and simply allow myself to feel the discomfort. Instead of trying to be more “positive” I am learning that it is more helpful for me to feel scared and frustrated and trudge on forward anyway! This is hard for me and that’s okay! Yes, I am not seeing the progress I would like and I everyday I wonder if I ever will see it, but you know what? There is going to be a level of uncertainty in everything we do. We don’t have to have a guarantee to keep moving forward.
I acknowledge that this shit is scary and one of the most difficult things I’ve done in my life. Ignoring something won’t make it go away. From now on I pledge to allow myself to feel the self-doubt. But I refuse to sit in it.
I allow the feelings. I allow all the challenges and all success. Bring on all of it.
Are you a recovering perfectionist? I’d love to hear how you deal with it in the comments.
LIFE CHANGING PODCASTS!!!!
Here are the two podcasts that inspired my mind shift and this post. I highly recommend you check them out. I hope you gain as much insight from them as I did. <3
This is definitely one of my favorite episodes of one of my favorite podcasts (Asia is a dope creative entrepreneur. Y’all should subscribe)! The title says it all. It a must listen for anyone who feels like they can’t get out of their own way (spoiler: your perfectionism might be to blame.) I’m so happy to have been introduces to Sam Brown and her amazing blog “Smart Twenties” via this episode. As a new reader, I’ve only read a small portion of her content but I’m already hooked! Being a somewhat neurotic 20-something creative, who often feel like she doesn’t know what the heck she’s doing, I gotta say Sam is super relatable and is walking the talk! So much wisdom from this one.
One day I’ll write a post about how Rebekah Borucki changed my life (SERIOUSLY) but for now I’ll suggest you go listen to this podcast to learn a little bit about Rebekah and her new book on meditation. She drops a lot of nuggets of wisdom but the one that really stuck for me was early on when she discusses the magic of allowing things to happen one step at a time.