There is an epidemic sweeping the nation, seeping into households across the globe, those households that look like everything is rosy but inside there is a feeling of emptiness permeating and spreading from one generation of women to the next.
This epidemic for many can often be sparked in childhood by some well meaning adult with a throwaway comment that might have been given in all innocence but over the years has been festering and growing until it becomes all consuming.
Showing up in all areas of your life, you can see it start to take hold and even start to affect your children. The need for it, seems to be all consuming and no matter what you do or implement it’s never enough.
So, what am I taking about…. I am talking perfection.
Now before you switch off and disengage take a moment just to read on as there maybe parts that register with you…
Perfection is a crippling disease that starts off with little changes here and there and can escalate to controlling every aspect of your life, in line with an unrealistic image you feel you should portray.
The yard stick you use to beat yourself with is judgement, judgement by others but worse yet judgement from yourself, you know the one, that internal monkey chatter that pushes and pushes, past exhaustion, past a need to prove yourself, to a point that often feels like no return.
In those quiet moments when fear rises from the pit of your stomach you ask the question “How can I step off this ever speeding conveyor belt?”, that to everyone else looks like smooth sailing but under the surface your feet, like the swans gliding across the water are frantically trying to keep you afloat as you gasp for each breath as the panic and anxiety attack start to kick in.
Even though sometimes it feels like you are barely keeping it together, to the outside world you step out with a confident spring in your step and comments of there she goes “that confident, perfect woman who has it all”.
So, let’s dive into what “all” really means….
Since that well meaning comment was given when you were young you have had a dream, a dream of how life should be. With no bends, adaptation or movement you have pursued this mercilessly like a sniper gun fixed to its target.
To the outside world you are an overachiever, simply able to turn your hand to everything and anything and come up smelling of roses, but they don’t know the truth, you hide that deep inside stuffed in a box under lock and key. The truth is that the plate spinning, sacrifice making, empty feeling inside cannot be filled that no matter what you achieved.
The feeling of imposter syndrome of not really having it together sees you tighten the reins even further until you can hardly breathe, tied up in knots restricted by all those things in life that others say should bring you joy.
The house, the holidays, the relationships, the career, the money, the children, the private school, the cars but even these aren’t enough to fill that empty void that often times feels like a cavern deep inside so let´s go shopping …..
I say this rather flippantly but I don’t mean to ridicule your pain but again to the outside world this would seem amazing. Beautiful holidays, gorgeous new clothes, handbags and treatments and make up…. each one bringing the possibility of filling that gap only to discover the Joy is short lived
So, like an adrenaline junkie you try other things, sex, alcohol, bigger house, prescription drugs the list is endless but each time the numbing and the quietening is short lived.
The pressure to maintain the image of perfection invades every aspect of your being until it is suffocating and starts to influence all aspects of your life: relationships, weight, friendships, career, sex life…. yes now things have gotten real.
But how do you jump off that ever spinning cycle of abuse, how do you let the front down, without feeling that you have lost all credibility, well ladies at this point you normally don’t need to do anything because the universe steps in.
As your health takes a turn for the worst, or your relationships self implode or you burn out, or you unravel in spectacular style with something so simple and trivial like opening the fridge to realise there is no milk for your coffee and you fall to the floor crying uncontrollably….
This is where your world feels like it is starting to fall apart but I have a little secret for you ladies this is where life starts falling together, this is where the last 10,20,30,40 years of perfection starts to slip away.
The conditioning, the busyness, the berating, making way for the peace, the acceptance, the love, the support, the permission to be you, without the pretense, without the control, without the mask, without the perfection.
I would love to tell you that at this stage you will experience immediate recovery but like many of these things practise is key, self-compassion is key and the understanding that one step at a time is all that is being asked of you right now because although you thought that your perfection mattered to everyone else, they are so wrapped up in holding their own perfection together that they won’t notice until one day, they ask you what is different about you, what new face cream that you are using because you are glowing and seem to have a peace about you that they so desperately are seeking in their lives and in that moment you can tell them about your recovery from perfectionist to being simply you and the release that comes with letting it all go.