5 Ways to Stop Chasing Perfect
Perfectionism is a personal trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations. For perfectionists, life is all about a person’s accomplishments or looks. Fear of failure is often a driving force in a perfectionist’s life. Perfectionists also often suffer from other negative thoughts such as indecisiveness, self-doubt, and anxiety.
As I learn more about myself and dive further into my coaching practice, I realize that we are truly our worse critic. We put pressure on ourselves to be the most successful, the healthiest, the prettiest, the smartest, and all the other -ests, in the world. Perfectionism is a place where we compare ourselves to others and in result, our own flaws are displayed.
In the Fearfully Fashioned Book Club, we've been reading Make It Happen by Lara Casey. In one of the chapters, Stop Chasing Perfect, she discusses how a part of the chase for perfection is embedded in what society says we "should" be doing. The world tells us that we should be hustling all hours of the night instead of resting in peace. The world says that we should fight our way up the corporate ladder. Society says that we should get the best grades and degrees in fields we know we are not called to be in. We've become so inundated and saturated with the world's standards and statutes for success that we can't differentiate God's purpose and will for our lives.
The pressure that we put on ourselves is making us live a life based on false hopes and pretenses. While it is great to focus on personal development and becoming the best version of you, you cannot be consumed by the idea of perfection. Only one person was created to live a perfect life and that is Jesus Christ. He lived His life flawlessly, and because of Him we no longer have to carry the burden of perfectionism. The chase for perfection will always be an uphill battle until you learn to rest in your imperfection. It’s time that we accept who God created us to be and free ourselves from the notion of perfectionism. Here are five ways to stop chasing perfect.
"The chase for perfection will always be an uphill battle until you learn to rest in your imperfection."
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Ask yourself why you are chasing perfection.
Get real with yourself and ask yourself why you are so focused on being perfect. The 3 most common reasons are: a) the desire to grow b) social expectations and c) insecurity. Stop focusing so much on perfection and focus on being the woman God created you to be.
Eliminate the "shoulds."
Stop trying to measure up to impossible standards. You will become exhausted and find yourself empty when you are focusing on society's standards instead of Christ's. Imagine what it would be like if you eliminated the "shoulds" and walk in that freedom. The only permission and validation you need is from God.
Change your thinking.
In 2 Corinthians 10:5 the Bible calls us to cast down any thought that is contrary to the Word of God. You give power to whatever you meditate on. Instead of thinking about everything you aren't, remind yourself of everything you are in Christ. Determine how you want to feel and think on those things.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
Comparison truly is the thief of all joy. The enemy uses it to distract us from what God has given and assigned us to do. Galatians 6:4 tells us to pay very close attention to our own work so that we can get the satisfaction of a job well done and won't need to compare ourself to anyone else.
Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to live a performance-based life. As purpose driven women, we only live for the audience of One, and thank God He isn't impressed by our works and achievements. It's okay to have weaknesses; He makes up for everything that we lack (2 Cor. 12:9).
I love the way that Lara Casey ends the chapter. She reminds us that, "The lies of perfection and shoulds tell us we aren't enough but the truth paves a path for us to an abundant life of joy where we are more than enough." God's love accepts us just as we are. Flaws and all, He made us perfectly imperfect.
How has the chase for perfection affected you? Tell me in the comments below.