"I'm Amanda Edwards,
and I really didn't want to write this blog post."
You see - I'm a person with a tendency to put a lot of pressure on myself. So the thought of sitting down to write my very first blog post, for my very own business, on my very own website was, well, to say the least - very daunting. It became so daunting I started telling myself things like –
"You're not a writer, your sister's the writer. OK sure, you can draft a pretty good essay, but a blog? What are you even going to write about? Why waste your time? Who is going to read it anyway..."
And the voice sounded so reasonable, so convincing, so much like the truth.
Does this sound familiar?
You are faced with a situation that may be outside of your comfort zone or may challenge your perception of yourself and all of a sudden an internal voice appears to give you all the reasons why you shouldn’t act -
"How can you even think about putting yourself out there? You will be humiliated! That's not for you. You don't have to do it. it's better if you don't. Why risk it?" .
All of these excuses and limiting thoughts, all of these self-criticisms – they sound so logical that it’s easy to listen to them. And, like many times before, I almost did -
Until I realised - hang on a minute, where is this coming from? This voice sounds quite familiar, but I've never attempted to write a blog before... Aha, it's my perfectionist self talking!
Perfectionism (defn)– a propensity for being displeased with anything that it is not perfect or does not meet extremely high standards.
Yes, I’m a recovering perfectionist.
When my perfectionism is triggered, I find it really difficult to start things because I fear the amount of work, the effort and the struggle required to complete the task to the ridiculously high standard I expect.
Can you relate?
I used to think that my perfectionism only arose in certain areas of my life - because it is in these areas that it tries to take the driver’s seat in my decision-making. Perfectionism has influenced my career, my studies, my parenting and even my journey of self- development. However, I have now come to understand, that it also influences other parts of my life, only in a more subversive way. It can stop me from making any changes unless I can see how this area of my life can be perfected - for instance, my health, fitness and body image.
It's further complicated as I have held a belief that I have my perfectionism to thank for a lot of good things in my life. It has motivated me, pushed me and shown me what I'm capable of.
But now – enough is enough. I have come to the conclusion, especially through the process of setting up my own business and being a parent, that being driven by perfectionism no longer serves me.
How can I be a present, loving and empathetic mum for my gorgeous son if I am second-guessing all of my decisions? How can I be a relaxed and engaged wife and friend if I'm in critical mode trying to have perfect relationships? And how can I run my own business effectively and from the heart if I'm worried about achieving a level of perfectionism in everything I try?
What can we perfectionists do?
Be gentle with ourselves
Our inner perfectionist is really only trying to protect us from harm. The trouble is that the harm perceived by our perfectionist self is not real. It takes practice to identify our perfectionist responses and choose to take alternative action, so be kind to yourself and to your inner perfectionist during this journey.
My perfectionism is something that has both driven me and held me back all my life. It is a part of me, it will most likely always be a part of me and I'm slowly learning I can still do things despite it.
How liberating is that!
Have you struggled with perfectionism?
What have you done to overcome the critical voice in your head?
Amanda is a (reformed) lawyer turned holistic life coach, self-care advocate, workshop facilitator, writer, speaker, avid reader, nature lover, chai tea drinker and mother to a curious, active toddler. A spirit seeker who loves connecting with others on journeys of self-discovery, Amanda believes we can all find our own version of success and live an empowered life.