Welcome to the sixth episode of the Pick Me Up Podcasts. I am very much looking forward to sharing today’s episode with you as it is a topic close to my heart and something I feel many of you will relate to. Today’s episode is all about Letting go of the need for perfection. I have personally found that if I have perfection at the forefront of my mind when doing anything, but especially when it comes to motherhood it not only adds more stress and pressure in to my days but it also robs me of any joy I may experience in the moment. I hope that by sharing my own personal experience with you today it can be of use to anybody also struggling with the same thing.
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Letting Go Of Perfection Transcript
This week’s topic is all about giving yourself a break and letting go of perfection. It is something that I felt compelled to talk about after a few weeks of realising just how much pressure I put on myself and what impact this was having on me and those around me. Most of this can be attributed to my need to get things just right… Maybe you can relate?
So know that when I am talking to you today, I am also talking to myself as this is definitely something that is sitting high on my agenda of things to work on and improve. Also know that I am not talking from a place of being an expert here, I am simply coming from a place of honesty, openness and a desire to keep things real. So I hope that in sharing my experiences it can be of strength to you and give you the pick me that you may well be looking for right now.
There have been 2 moments recently that have been those “aha” moments whereby I’ve realised that I am really not helping myself at all and in actual fact am making life more difficult for myself. Why do we even do this to ourselves?
Anyway, the first of those moments was when I was listening to the amazing Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly, (which by the way, if you have not read it, is a must!) and very early on she was discussing the notion of things Never being Enough: She so clearly highlighted this by outlining how many of us choose to start our end of days. So upon waking in the morning our thought to start the day is often one of “I haven’t had enough sleep” – something we often feel as parents right! Or when we finish our day we do so by listing all the things that we didn’t get done.
As I was listening to this I thought yup, that’s me all over, every, single, day!
The second was as we were getting everything together for some new family adventures that we had planned in. In the week or two leading up to it my to-do list was actually getting longer and longer instead of slowly being ticked off, and I ended up feeling more stressed about everything that I HAD to achieve before going. Once returning back from our break I found myself not particularly wanting to step back into my business, which had before been like my escape just a short time prior, and had been something I loved doing as Emma and not as Mum. But I recognised that it had very quickly become something else that added pressure and stress to my days. Not because that’s the nature of it, but because my ways had allowed it to be that way.
So what happens if we constantly strive for perfection?
Well the reality is that nothing that we do is good enough and we always feel like we need to do more. As a result of this, the things you expect of yourself are far greater than what you’d expect of anybody else, and all of these emotions of guilt, frustrations, anxiety and stress, to name just a few can end up piling up and leading to burn out.
The challenge that we are faced with is that it’s so easy to feel this way. I would go as far as saying that Society almost sets us up this way, with timelines put upon us on when we should have a career sorted, when we need to be thinking about starting a family by, how much money we make, how our bodies look, even to things like how many likes we get our social media posts.
Among all of this it is so easy to forget how truly great we are, so difficult to see the amazing job we are doing, and so hard to recognise how our uniqueness and the journey that we find ourselves on is right for us right now!
And most importantly that Good is good enough!
Now there’s a concept I struggle to get my head around and yet another aha moment for me: When working with a friend who is doing some Doula work and was a midwife, we were discussing the stresses I was experiencing of being a mum whilst juggling my second pregnancy, all during a time of a global pandemic. I was explaining how I felt I wasn’t managing all of this very well, and how I hadn’t done enough for my son, hadn’t given enough time with my partner, hadn’t been looking after myself as well as I’d like. I mean even saying all of that is like… “do you think you’re Wonder Woman or something girl?” But listen to that language I was using, it was all about it, or should I say me, not being enough, or doing enough. Brené Brown eat your heart out right!
It was at this point that she stopped me and said, good is good enough! I was like “woah, I’m totally not OK with that.” And realising that actually, perfection is something that I have striven for for as long as I can remember, I realised something had to do. As actually, in reaching for this perfection all it was doing was adding a ton of pressure, stress and guilt on to myself, making me mentally and physically drained, and affecting my enjoyment of the life I am experiencing right now including the work I am loving, the child I am raising and the pregnancy I am going through that will end at some point soon!
All of these moments have definitely been playing around in my mind, and as a result I have tried a few things to let go of this need for perfection, recognise that good is good enough and just enjoy the moments that I am experiencing now. So let me share some of the things I have been trying, and maybe you will listen to them and pick up one or two nuggets along the way.
- As I feel myself getting stressed by a task that I am completing that in my head needs to be perfect, I have stepped away for a moment and said to myself that good is good enough. I have ensured I take a few moments to recognise how ticking this off my list and getting other things done too is what will make me feel great, NOT doing it to pure perfection that it is the only thing I get done! Now don’t get me wrong, this hasn’t been easy at times, but the more I’ve practiced it the easier it has become.
- Thinking about what’s the worst that can happen if it’s not perfect? So take these podcasts for example, simply doing one of them would have taken me forever because every little bit would have had to have been perfect. But if one takes me forever that means my schedule gets tighter, it gets more difficult to release one a week and all the other things I need to do on my website, social media, planning etc get squeezed to the point that they suffer too. So instead, taking an approach of, people are not looking for perfection when listening, they are looking for down to earth, real life stuff which is what I’ve promised, I figured… why am I letting it stress me out! Now that’s me being vulnerable right there! Brené would be proud!
- Letting go of expectations. I don’t know about you but whenever I have something planned I always pan out how I see it going in my head. Now you can be sure that that scenario will be full of perfection and high expectations. So when it comes to it, I feel a pressure to get it just right or feel stressed that it’s not quite how I’d imagined it. Well when you let that go, and allow yourself to just be at one with it, I have found you are in the moment much more, you enjoy your time and you feel much calmer too! Winner.
Honestly, these things have been a game changer for me. They are something I need to continuously work on each and every single day right now, but I can see the huge difference they make when I do. Some other things you could try, which I haven’t got round to yet but I know will also make a positive impact in all of this include:
- Recognise the great things you’ve achieved and are achieving on a regular basis no matter how big or small they seem. A great way to do this is to write them down, possibly at the end of each day, week or month.
- Build self-confidence. Now this is a meaty topic in itself, but having confidence in ourselves can totally transform the way we go about living our life. I think this is one to come back to in the near future!
- Learn to let go. I touched on it above with letting go of expectations. But also letting go of anything that is outside of our control is a huge step in the right direction.
- Be OK with now. Ooh now this is a good one! How often do we wait until circumstances are perfect, or say “I will be happy when….” But finding contentment with what we are experiencing right now and knowing that it is all part of our story and journey can be a huge corner to turn when it comes to letting go of perfection.
So I’ve given you all of these tools, but what can you expect the results to be? Well talking from experience, the biggest thing that you will get is a feeling of lightness. And that in itself to me had been worth its weight in gold.
You may find that you feel more content and happier, you feel more proud of your achievements and you actually enjoy this crazy old journey of life just that tad more! Now there’s some motivation to give it a go right there isn’t it.
So there you have it! A little insight in to the life of me to hopefully help you take a step In the right direction of letting go of perfection. Be sure to give these ideas ago with an approach of lightness and playfulness, and be inquisitive! I promise you that you won’t regret it.
Sending love, as always.
It has been great to connect with you
Thanks for stopping by, I hope that you found it useful. Please feel free to share any comments or questions you have below, and if you have any requests of topics you’d like to hear then I would love to know.