This past Sunday was not anything special. In fact, it was probably as normal as could be. The kids were up early due to daylight savings time (blerg), so we made a huge breakfast, with pumpkin pancakes, eggs, bacon, juice and coffee for yours truly. Before the kids got up I did some early morning meditation and reading. I am not a very religious person, but in the last year, spirituality has found me again, and it has been a gift. We went to the park and played outside while the cool autumn wind brushed our pink cheeks. We came home for naps, and afterward headed out to the gym for a playdate for the kids and a yin restorative yoga class for me. When we were all done, I took the kids to the gym pool and we splashed around for a while. We ate an easy dinner and I put the kids to bed a bit early. I watched a bit of TV on my iPad, and then was off to bed around 9 p.m.
Now, this particular day might not sound like a big deal to you, but for me, this is huge. As in epically gigantic. Because this day would not have existed a year ago.
One thing that I have had to face up to as I walk along with path of life is I am a perfectionist. Actually, scratch that. I have always known I was a perfectionist, the difference now is I don’t see that as a positive thing. Before, when people would compliment my ability to “do it all” or how “perfect” my life seemed, I’d fake-humbly nod and say, “Oh no, I’m not perfect!” But inside, I was squealing with glee. My self-worth and happiness were almost exclusively based on doing everything perfectly and being the most wonderful person anybody had ever met, ever, in the history of the universe. My goal was to be everyone’s favorite person, and to show everyone how incredibly amazing I was by doing everything right the first time.
The problem with this outlook is it is absolutely unachievable. I will NEVER be everyone’s favorite person, that’s an impossibility of the highest degree. Also, as it turns out, perfection isn’t a goal that can be reached by any human on this planet, including little ole’ me. So if your goal in life is to be perfect, you will be consistently disappointed. Your life, regardless of how fulfilling and beautiful, will never be enough. And speaking from experience, this is no way to live.
One of the things I’ve really struggled with on this journey is creating boundaries. One of the symptoms of my struggle to be perfect was the inability to create and hold real boundaries within my life. If someone wanted to do something I didn’t necessarily want to do, I’d agree to make them happy. I never wanted to rock the boat or upset people, so I would do, say or act in ways that were not in line with what I wanted for myself. I truly had no idea how to say “No.”
I’m learning boundaries are a gift, not only to me, but to those that I love. When I say “No” or tell the truth about how I feel about something, I am being authentic and real. I never really thought of myself as a liar, but I have had to come to terms with the fact that I have spent much of my life being dishonest about who I am and what I want. This is especially painful, but so, SO necessary.
The crux of this was realizing that perfectionism and “people pleasing” is a very dishonest and sad way to live. And in order to change this, and live my truth (notice I didn’t say THE truth, but MY truth) I have to be able to set boundaries in my life, even if it’s hard. Someone very wise once told me, “Just because you have done something in the past, doesn’t mean you have to continue doing it. You can set a new boundary whenever you want.”
These days I say yes by saying no. I am not everyone’s favorite person, but the truth is, I never was! Do I still want to do my best? Yes! Do I still try very hard? Of course! Do I still have goals and aspirations? Duh! But it doesn’t mean I have to do it all today.
Instead, today I will do the next right thing that comes to mind. I will have a fun day with my kids where I cross absolutely nothing off my “To Do” list. I will not feel guilt or shame over not being perfect, instead I’ll be proud to be a flawed, but authentic human being. I will go to bed with a smile on my face and joy in my heart, knowing my imperfections are what make me my best self.
Then I’ll wake up and do it again. And again. Ad continuum.
Read more about Megan and her crazy life over at www.crazybananas.com. Thanks for being here and supporting women writers!
More from health