What is perfectionism? The drive to succeed or the fear of failure....
A lot of women suffer from perfectionism and the pressure, anxiety and depression that it can bring. Society pressures to look perfect and be perfect in all things can be crippling. I know for a fact I’m not the only woman who panic cleans their house to showroom standard when someone is calling over. Let me tell you that never once have I been complimented on my clean skirting boards.... The pressure for women to not just succeed but succeed perfectly is a strange idea that we as a society need to change.
I personally have a love/hate relationship with perfectionism. On one hand it drives me to be the best me and on the other it has been relentless in the anxiety that I’m just not the best me.
The biggest thing I’ve learned is if it becomes unbalanced it can be an incredibly unhealthy mind-set.
In my past quest for perfection I’ve been downright awful to myself. Pushing myself beyond anything I’d ever dream of expecting anyone else to do. I would agonise over results, rides, my position you name it I gave myself a thorough kicking for it. My first few flares (at the time we didn’t know it was MS) I thought I was just being lazy and depressed. Being kind to myself was never an option. I continued to push and critique myself.
Until I couldn’t anymore...
Before I was swallowed whole I reached out and got help. Though I preached “progress not perfection” I absolutely did not live it.
I remember being asked “So you become perfect, then what?” I didn’t have an answer, I didn’t even know what perfect looked like.
So I had to ask myself, When do I become perfect? How do I know? Does somebody jump out of the bushes to say “that’s it Heather, you’re perfect!.”
I realised I’d been missing the point. I hadn’t been taking any joy from my journey. My imperfect, chaotic, up and down journey. I’d beaten myself up for mistakes that were necessary for Freya and I needed to grow and the small wins that should have been celebrated were discarded as not good enough.
So I made the effort to be kinder to myself.
Even still on my journey I find it difficult to let go of perfection. But I’m trying to be honest with myself and not be perfect at being imperfect either. It will be something I’ll constantly have to temper. But being aware and having the tools to cope and utilise perfectionism goes a very long way in managing my expectations of myself.
Some days you’ve just got to let go of doubt. Those millions of needling questions that the fear of failure constantly pushes.
Is my position perfect?
Am I riding a circle-y circle?
Is my horse in a perfect outline?
Am I doing everything correctly?
What will people think?
I try to remember we do this because we love it. We love the bond. We love our horses. We love the freedom. We love being in the present.
It’s supposed to be fun and fun is rarely perfect. Be imperfect and still be ok.