09.03.2014

Perfect Imperfections

distressed denim

Perfection is Annihilation. it Paralyzes us from working from the heart. Humans by nature are NOT perfect and imperfections are what makes the world BEAUTIFUL.” 

Allison and I have been toying with the idea of starting a series about “itsy bitsy” confessions. More open and genuine conversations about life. We’ve started that already (here and here) a little and today we decided to continue with an open and honest conversation about perfectionism. It’s something that I have struggled with, I think for a while, but in the past year has become much more pronounced. When I say much more pronounced, I mean borderline problematic. Impairing my functioning. I had days where I was literally drained of all energy by 2 pm. I even remember going on an evening hike with TJ and Captain and I literally (and I am NOT an over-exaggerator) could not pick up my feet. I had crying bursts, not because I had anything to be sad about (my life is quite nice if I’m being honest :)) but because I literally felt overwhelmed.

Now, it took some talking through (okay, crying too) with my loving (and patient) husband, wonderful sister, and devoted parents for me to come to the realization that what I was struggling with was an overwhelming fear of failure and need for everything to be perfect. Perfect to the point of exhaustion. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not in EVERY aspect of my life. Just those in which I may let others down or might be judged if there is a perceived imperfection (you see, my tuber-ware cabinet is not so perfect… open at your own risk and consider yourself warned).

To spare you the details of my insights as to why this manifested I will briefly summarize my discoveries. Having been bullied in middle school and high school (prank calls to the house, nasty e-mails being sent, not so nice words written about me on bathroom walls, comments about my body, relational aggression…) I developed an unrealistic (yet, albeit protective) cognitive distortion that said,   “If I am perfect, then there will be nothing to talk about/criticize.” So, I grew to magnify my imperfections (and in turn, minimize the good qualities) so that I could continually be slashing away at potential ammo. And with most “dysfunctional” coping skills that once served a purpose, it ultimately reared its ugly head and became purpose-less.

This has been a journey for the past several months. I don’t have a bullet point answer and/or recommendations on how to combat perfectionism, but what I can share is what I have been (starting… it’s a continual work in progress) to do.

1. Ask for help when I need it. By doing this, I am accepting that I can’t do it all and that’s okay.

2. Listen to my body. That laden feeling in my body? Um, hello somatization (feeling of stress through physical symptoms) and the body screaming at me to chill out!

3. See imperfections as something that makes me uniquely me. I have VERY pronounced head veins. Go ahead, look closely at my photos. They are on the right side of my face (I only know because it was brought to my attention several times by some really nice people :)). I can usually cover them up with my hair. Yet why go to those extreme lengths? I have to see them as a sort of fingerprint. Something that makes me, me.

4. Scriptures and quotes. My favorite quote is at the beginning of the post. My favorite scripture? 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 which reads “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

5. A good cry.

6. Yoga. It’s all about meeting yourself where you are… and your eyes should be closed, so no comparing and striving for that perfect warrior!

And why would I chose a fashion picture (that has been colored enhanced to hide imperfections?) to air this out? Because these are the posts that bring about my perfectionism the most (oh no… that angle doesn’t look good… um, my hair looks nappy… you get the drift)… So in short?? I guess it’s all about embracing imperfections, instead of hiding them (because those people who find them in the first place will move onto something else…). It’s about being okay with not being 100% all the time… because simply stated, it’s exhausting (I would know!).

distressed denim

distressed denim

distressed denim, leopard pumps

distressed denim

distressed denim

stripe top

distressed denim

distressed denim

distressed denim, leopard heels{Outfit Details | Jeans: Madewell | Top: J Crew (on sale!) | Shoes: J Crew, also here | Purse: Prada, similar here | Sunglasses: Anthropologie | Bracelets: David Yurman 1, David Yurman 2 | Ring: David Yurman}

Comments

  1. I can totally relate to feeling simply overwhelmed at times. The best way to calm me down and de-stress is regular yoga, learning I don’t need to say yes to everything and taking time for myself. Loving your entire outfit today though! 🙂

    • Shannon&Allison says:

      Not needing to say “yes” to everything definitely helps! It’s a constant work in progress! Thanks so much for sharing your suggestions too 🙂

  2. Shannon, this is me to a T. Lately I’ve been stressing myself (& consequently my loving husband) out because I’m so afraid I’m going to disappoint those around me. I constantly worry that I’m not enough and that I’m screwing something up, when in reality, everything is just fine without my constant fears. I love your ideas on how to tone it down a little and just Be. Thanks for sharing your “itsy bitsy” with us!! 🙂

    • Shannon&Allison says:

      Thank you for sharing! It is validating to know that there are other women out there who are experiencing the same 🙂 It’s so hard to stop worrying sometimes, so I know that I am constantly working on being present.