How to stop chasing perfection from the girl who chased it tiredly for too many years.
Have you ever had those moments when you are in the car and you are driving and you see the mirage ahead and it's SOOOOO close yet you get closer and it seems as if it moved farther away in a matter of seconds?
It's kind of what chasing perfection feels like. "If I just go a little faster, hustle harder to reach that goal, I will arrive!"
I lived this exhausted way of life for so many years. So many years I wasn't even aware that I was chasing something that didn't exist.
Perfection does not exist but we as humans like to think it does. We love to wrap up the chase with "I'm a goal digger, I am a hustler, I am a hard worker, I am making the life I want." But really when we strip it down, it's just a justifiable way for us to chase something that really doesn't exist.
Stay with me for a minute...have you ever set a goal? Of course you have. And when you accomplished it, did you set another one? Of course you did. Because that helps us move forward and grow in beautiful ways. BUT here's what I want you to answer and get REAL honest with me. Did you believe that goal would bring you everlasting happiness?
You know...if I just lose this weight, I will be happy.
If I just pay off that debt, I will be happy.
If I just buy that car, I will be happy.
If I just build the business to this point, I will be happy.
If I just get the promotion, I will be happy.
If I just go on this vacation, I will be happy.
We chase all the things, then wait for the happiness that we expect will come with it but most of all we chase it looking for the affirmation and validation we are so desperately seeking. Because friend, THAT, is the root of the chase.
In fact, most people are seeking that over the actual accomplishment. Once again, I dare you to get really honest with yourself. And this is how...ask yourself "who am I doing this for?" Is it really you?"
Are you really proving this for you, chasing it for you, or are you seeking to fulfill the need to be affirmed and validated for your presence here on earth?
My guess is most, especially if you are brutally honest with yourself, would be the latter. Again, you might fall into a VERY small percentage that don't fall into this trap and truly don't chase validation...but I know based on the hundreds of women I hear from, it's a VERY small percentage that don't do something for the affirmation they are yearning for.
I was that girl. The girl, who after plenty of counseling and a deepening relationship with God, realized that I chased perfection for the attainment of validation...and the need for that validation has an even deeper root. We will save that for another day.
At the height of it all, I was the main anchor of the #1 morning show in Phoenix, Arizona. And I was in this role for nearly 15 years. Did I love what I did? Yes, of course. But did I have an unhealthy way of gaining affirmation? OH YES, I DID.
I had crafted the image of "perfect." And with every accomplishment, it fed my craving for affirmation and filled me up...temporarily. Because that is the thing with the "chase"...you run and run to the next thing and you seek it like a drug addict jones' for a hit of a drug.
It's quite addicting. When someone complimented my body it meant they noticed and they approved and that also meant I had to keep up this extreme way or I would have to deal with their disapproval or perceived disapproval.
When someone asked "how do you do it all, you are like super woman!" I would smile, fill up on their affirmation and then cringe inside because the life I was living was exhausting and not quite real.
I hid behind a bright smile, a starved body and most of all a starved soul.
I wanted to just pour my heart open and take the mask off and say "BUT HEY, I am not what you think I am...I am actually struggling and don't know how to stop chasing this unrealistic life that I crafted for people to 'see.'"
How do you step out of something that you have only known. From my childhood I sought to be seen. I sought to be heard. I would strive for the best grades and for the most accomplishments. And the result I ran towards was the validation from my family, friends and those who noticed.
Well, we don't undo all of that overnight. We have to rebuild the foundation we sit on. One that isn't as shaky and one that doesn't get rocked with lack of affirmation.
We have to rewire our minds to rely less on the fleeting emotions of humans and more on the One who will constantly affirm you with TRUTH that doesn't waiver.
It was 3 years ago, when I began to rebuild my foundation and step out of the race of perfection. Ultimately the pursuit of perfection is the need to control how others perceive us. It is rooted in our worry or fear of others' opinions and when we can begin to free ourselves from that exhausting race, an entirely new world opens up. When we don't let others hold our validation in their hands and when we assign God to be the only one with that job.
It is MESSY work. It is not linear. It is long and tiring but it is so worth it.
First and foremost, we need a counselor or therapist or life helper...someone unbiased and one that can mediate our thoughts and feelings.
That was the first step I took. I knew after one fateful day of overwhelm and crying out to God "PLEASE show me another way, I am sooooo tired."
I literally could not keep living this way. I asked God that day "If this is the way it's going to be here on earth, I don't know that I can endure this for all the years ahead."
I called a therapist the next day. She has been the greatest life helper. We have taken small steps in letting go of that control and slowing down the race I once ran.
We went slow. Why? Because lasting change is not a quick fix or 30 day challenge, it takes a lot of time and patience. And you know I have zero patience. But this has been an opportunity to grow with each step.
I began a simple practice of gratitude and affirmation for me, by me. Before I even start my day, my journal comes out and I ground myself in the good that is in front of me. I affirm who I am. I look at MY life and place the power of validation in my hands first instead of performing for others with the need for them to see me. This is a practice that is simple yet powerful. I believe no one will fully master this, me included, because we are human and our flesh and pride gets in the way but with this habit you create the beginnings of a more sturdy foundation.
Lastly, and by far the MOST important piece of this rebuilding of my foundation has been a very intentional relationship with God.
I realized that day, 3 years ago, that I can not do this life without Him. I need HIS truth first and foremost. I need Him by my side, forever cheering me.
You see, His truth is the only one that matters. It is the only one that will last forever. It is the only one that doesn't get snatched away when you don't accomplish something or when you have a setback. His view of you is of love, deep love, whether you have the perfect body, the biggest house, fanciest car or the biggest business or greatest circle of friends.
When that relationship grows, EVERYTHING changes and we realize that the perfect race was never a race created by God for us to be a part of, it was created by our culture and one that we have been wooed into running. But it isn't a reality. It isn't fulfilling. And if you have been running it you are likely tired too. Just like I was.
And not the kind of tired where you need a cat nap to recharge but the kind where you need a soul revival. A heart transformation. A priority shake up. An all loving, truth giving, tap from Him.
When we work on our hearts, our minds follow. When we grasp even a piece of the unending, grace giving, abundant love that our God has for us, friend, an entire new journey opens up. The mirage is no longer. Instead, it's a path, it's winding, and it's often a little uncertain but the need for someone to carry you further with their affirmation slowly fades because you have the greatest hype squad ever...Him.
His way is the best way. Hands down.
His truth has lasted for thousands of years. Pretty sure that isn't fleeting and pretty sure it's the most fulfilling validation you will ever need to keep moving forward in life.
He made YOU. He formed YOU. He dreamed of YOU. He has always wanted YOU and loved YOU.
Here's to living loved. No more starved souls. No more need to constantly be seen. YOU are seen by Him today and all the days ahead.
Starting Each Day With Gratitude
This is my very own 90-day gratitude journal I use every morning. Would you care to join me and thousands of other women who start each day with gratitude?
My You Do You Journal™ is a 90-day guided journal, with love and support from me throughout your first 3 months through daily motivation and a community of like-minded women choosing to live in gratitude!