The Imperfect Pit of Perfectionism

(1st entry of a 4-part series)
   It was 8 p.m., and I’d been at the gym for an hour and forty-five minutes, long past my self-imposed hour limit.  I’m exhausted, I thought, one more as I plunked myself down at the bicep curl machine, grabbed the bar, and began to pull.  It was excruciating; my arms strained, my chest pulsed rapidly, my heart thumped loudly in my ears.  My brain sounded an alarm—heart attack?  Then, just as quickly, my brain shifted, why am I working SO hard? Immediately I knew; I’m striving to look perfect.
      This aha moment opened the door to the next awareness; I’m trying to escape my anxiety about putting self appeal into the world.  I’d wanted to escape many times throughout my life.  Some you may identify with are when:
  • feeling lonely, scared, and like a failure while ending a relationship or going through a divorce
  • being uncertain, inexperienced, and overwhelmed when tackling something new 
  • realizing self consciousness, inhibitions, and fear walking into social gatherings
  • acting frantic and hyper critical getting the house ready for guests
     Surprised by this new realization, I was also thankful because now I could begin to look at why my head was pushing my body so hard, perhaps to the detriment of my well-being. 
     I released the bar.  
     My heart beat slowed.  I voiced out loud to no one in particular, “I’m outta here.”  I grabbed my gym tote, and went home—excited yet perplexed all at the same time.  Although my subconscious anxiety was now conscious and I was happy about that, I wanted to chastise myself for falling into the murky pit of perfectionism and being externally focused—yet again.  
     But it’s only through becoming aware that we have the opportunity to deepen our understanding.  Like peeling an onion slowly, we have to shed layers on our journey to becoming all that we can be.  We have to ground ourselves more firmly in the universal, absolute truth—we women don’t have to be perfect to be good, valuable, wise, or successful.   Good is good enough.