With a case of the Sunday blahs rapidly settling in, I’ve realized a sad truth—this weekend has not relaxed, rejuvenated, or renewed me for the week ahead.
The rat race of everyday life has siphoned the joy right out of me. Between grocery shopping, laundry, and what feels like a million random errands, I’ve been pulled in ten different directions—and we don’t even have any kids.The smiling women on the commercials who rock their power suits while cooking dinner in perfectly organized kitchens seem like science fiction at this point.
I’m left asking: How the hell does anyone do this thing called life and find happiness?
Thinking about it, though, I’m come to realize the answer is this: To find happiness, you must realize that perfection is a lie. No one has it all together.
We hold ourselves to these ridiculous standards in every aspect of life that, when we can’t do everything with 100% efficiency, we feel like failures. We feel miserable. We feel like it’s hopeless.
The first step to finding happiness in a hectic life, though, is learning to let go of the common misconceptions about perfection. Below are five I’m trying to let go of this week in hopes of alleviating the Sunday blahs and having a happier outlook on the week ahead.
1. The supermodels of your magazines are the expectation for everyday life.
Good clothes and makeup can boost your confidence. However, bombarded by images of women with perfect skin, flawless makeup, unrealistic body sizes, and hair that shines as if it is heaven itself, many of us are left feeling like we’re missing the mark.
Looking in the mirror, many of us see only imperfections we need to fix. How many hours a week do you spend “fixing” flaws that no one else seems to even notice?
Holding yourself to an unrealistic supermodel standard only leads to inner-criticism and wasted time. You are more than what you see in the mirror. You are more than a ruby red lip, a perfectly blended eye, or flawless skin. Real life, everyday life, does not necessitate runway-worthy makeup and clothes.
2. Unfolded laundry and piled-up dishes equate to failure.
I’ve talked to so many friends who equate their worth as a wife, mother, and woman with the cleanliness and organization of their home. There is an unavoidable embarrassment and feeling of failure that accompanies piled-high dishes, crumb-filled carpets, unfolded laundry, and clutter.
A clean home is certainly positive for the psyche and can contribute to happiness. However, an immaculate home with everything in its place at all times isn’t realistic. With children, pets, busy work schedules, and social activities, housework takes a backseat.
No matter what anyone tells you, no one has their house 100% together. We all do the “company is coming” frantic dance around the house. We all shove random things in closets, grab some Clorox wipes to clean up spills at the last second, and brush the crumbs on the kitchen floor under a mat.
There is no shame in having a lived in home. Once you let go of the idea of perfection in your house, you can breathe a little easier and spend that dusting time doing what really matters—making memories with those you love.A crumb-free floor and a perfectly labeled refrigerator do not equate to success, happiness, or self-worth.
3. Saying “no” means you’re a bad person.
From the time we’re young, we’re engraved with this notion that being a kind, successful woman means putting others before you and never hurting anyone’s feelings.
I think it is this “girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice” motto that has left some us as “yes” women—and it’s leading to exhaustion.
I’ve over-committed myself many times because I felt like I needed to or people would see me as less. I’ve run myself to the brink of mental disaster, exhausted myself, and brought myself to tears because I found myself with no time for rejuvenation. Still, I find myself afraid to say “no.”
Saying “no” to a commitment, however, doesn’t make you an evil, wicked witch worthy of scorn. It just means you’re human. We’re told as women we can do everything and anything—so sometimes we feel like we have to do just that.
Leave some space for yourself. This means you might have to say “no.” However, on the flip side, you’ll have more time to spend on causes, people, and things that really matter to you. Don’t spread yourself too thin, and don’t think that saying “yes” makes you a better person. It doesn’t.
4. Takeout for dinner isn’t really dinner.
Taking shortcuts isn’t a bad thing. I see so many women on the point of breaking down because they feel like they have to be masters in every area of their lives. From being moms to moving up in careers to putting healthy dinners on the table, who has time to even think?
Cut corners when you can. There is nothing wrong with getting takeout for dinner once in a while if you feel like you can’t even think about turning on the stove. Learning to lower expectations in certain areas of your life can ease up the stress.
5. Asking for help is showing weakness.
In our “go get it” era of womanhood, many of us feel like we must handle it all in order to be successful. However, shouldering the weight of every aspect of life can lead to feelings of failure, exhaustion, and unhappiness. Ask for help when you need it.
This is not weakness. This is just part of being human. Whether it is from family, a spouse, or a true friend, asking for help from time to time will not only lighten your load but foster connections.
Finding a group you can depend on helps foster feelings of fulfillment, connection, and can lead to happiness even in your most hectic times.
To learn more about Lindsay, visit her blog.