A few weeks ago at one of my counseling sessions I had a huge light-bulb moment. My Counselor and I worked out one of the major reasons as to why I get so anxious. Perfection. In my life, I have to be perfect and anything less is considered a failure. As an example, at that time in my life, I felt like I was a failure because I didn't have a job. Mind you, I had decided to quit my job because I was in a toxic environment that I needed to get out of for the sake of my health. But in my mind, I was thinking that everyone around me saw me as a failure because I'd quit my job. I was leaving B as the sole income provider, which made me a failure as I should be out there working too.
I have been doing a lot of self-reflection about this issue. I haven't always been someone who had to be perfect. In high school I never cared about being perfect. My grades were never brilliant and when I was in Year 12 I just aimed to get an Enter Score that was just high enough to get me into the university course I wanted (my course had an Enter Score of 76 - pretty easy to achieve).
|First day of Year 7 - not looking very perfect in that dress and socks.|
I think that I started wanting to always be perfect when I went back to university after I deferred for a year. I started wanting to be viewed as perfect by everyone around me. That is also around the time that I became competitive. I think that perfectionism and competitiveness go hand in hand. My university grades started getting better. I was also competitive at work - I would always compare what type of planning applications I was getting to the applications that the previous student planner was getting. I had to be getting better applications than them (which I was).
I also felt like I had to be perfect in my appearance. My hair had to be straightened everyday - not one hair could be out of place. I'd pack a heap of concealer over every single pimple that I had on my face (and there were many). I don't know how many times I have stood crying at my wardrobe because I don't have the perfect outfit to wear - "I don't have any clothes!!" Or the times that I have spent a lot of money on clothing to make sure that I look perfect.
|I spent ages on the internet looking for the perfect dress for the 12WBT final party in Feb 2013. I then spent ages applying fake tan and such even longer taping myself into this dress to make sure it didn't move out of place.|
My house also has to be perfect too. It has to be clean and filled with nice furniture. And my car has to be perfect too. My car is nearly 4 years old and everyone comments about how it still looks (and smells) brand new. Oh yeah, and all my running clothes have to be perfect too. They have to be the right brand (Lululemon and Nike for clothing. Brooks and Asics for shoes).
Oh, and don't get me started on the wedding! Everything had to be perfect. I had to lose weight (I lost 7kg for the big day). My dress had to be perfect (and $1000 over budget!). I had to get hair extensions to make sure that my hair looked absolutely perfect. I even brought a second pair of wedding shoes as my first pair got dirty when we had our dancing lessons. My bridesmaids had to be perfect - dresses had to fit, all in the same shoes, all with the same coloured pained finger nails and toe nails. Oh, and I had to pick out the grooms suites (and go to all their fittings to make sure everything was just right). B didn't have to do much for our wedding as I organised everything because it had to be perfect.
|The only thing that wasn't perfect on our wedding day was the wind.|
But when you live a life where you have to perfect all the time can be hard. It is not possible for everything to be perfect, especially when there are things in your life that are out of your control. I think that this is why I was so anxious towards the middle of the year. Things were starting to fall apart and I just didn't know how to cope.
So, now I am trying to accept that I cannot always be perfect and that it is okay. Nobody in this world is perfect. We always have things that we are good at and we have things that we are not so good at. But the most important thing is that not being perfect doesn't mean you are a failure. Although I am not working at the moment, I am not a failure. I just needed time out to get better (which I am doing) and to work out what I want to do next (which I am also doing).
And how am I going to get over not being perfect? Well, I have to stop beating my self up about things when I don't succeed. As long as I do my best and try hard, I should be happy with what I have done. I also need to realise that there are things that I am not good at or the best at. I also need to at the same time focus and appreciate what I am good at.