On my first resume, I wrote “perfectionist” as a skill set. I guess I hoped that my lack of experience would be overlooked by my neurosis.
I used to see perfectionism as something to be proud of, something that described my work ethic, my striving for greatness, my ambition.
But perfectionism is none of those things.
Perfectionism is the nasty voice that keeps you locked in your own private cage, afraid of ever been seen as less than perfect.
It is the monster that hisses “you are not enough” and crowds your thoughts as it puts every failure on repeat, so you’ll never tempted to make another mistake again. It lurks in the corners and under the bed, and takes great pleasure in pointing its clawed finger to say “I told you so,” when you didn’t make the cut.
It holds us back from what we are most passionate about, binds us to our fears, and every time we hear it’s voice we shrink small, so small, like Alice after drinking the magic potion with our fear looming over us.
It says, “do it again,” after we’ve over prepared and examined every possible angle ten times. It tethers our worthiness to our outcomes so that every single setback is like daggers to our hearts.
Perfectionism creates hesitation, people pleasing, and underestimates our abilities. It is the killer of dreams and the thief of possibility. It is hungry, and feeding on our fear, never misses an opportunity to tell us how we will never measure up so we better stop trying.
But when we look closely. Really, really closely. We see what perfection really is:
A very small hurt piece of our selves that is desperately trying to never be hurt again, and at any cost. It thrives and multiplies in unknown territory, and can command when things look uncertain. Yet all it takes to quiet the monster, is a gentle voice to say, “thanks for trying to protect me, but I’ve got this,” and the fear starts to soften.
Every time you take a small risk your confidence grows in proportion to your fear shrinking. When “no” is used more freely, your cage is unlocked and you walk free. And every deep breath, followed by “I can do this,” helps us become the women we are meant to be.