The other day I almost gave up on a lesson. I was guiding my English students through a lesson on grammar and mechanics and things just weren’t going as I’d planned. I knew I’d messed up and the possibility of a perfectly executed lesson was no longer possible. I paused, and all I wanted to do was tell the students to open up their Chrome Books and work quietly on their research projects. Perfectionism was killing me. My old tendency to give up once I knew it had no possibility of it being a perfect experience, filled my being. But, surprisingly, I heard the Holy Spirit gently remind me of my humanity. So I swallowed, let my student know that I hadn’t done things well for them but that we were going to try a different direction. We kept going on the lesson and finally things began to click for the kids. By the time the bell rang we were all relieved and I was happy I hadn’t given up, even if the whole thing had taken twice as long as I’de planned.
Perfectionism will get you to quit on yourself quicker than almost any other habit I’ve encountered both personally and while coaching women on weight loss and habit change. Today, I'd like to walk you through this and what you can do about it.
Perfectionism is so normal and I have to call out the Devil on this one, because he loves to lie to us that we do and should have the capability of doing something perfectly. But we don’t. Perfectionism is a tendency to want things around us to be perfect like a perfectly organized pantry or a perfectly clean living room. Perfectionism is a tendency to want our bodies to be perfect--slim, trim, capable of running a marathon, and devoid of scar or mole. Perfectionism is a belief that we must be perfect, demonstrating the fruit of the spirit--love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, and self-control--with no flaw in our words or actions.
Dear sister, there is a thin line between high standards and impossible expectations because we are not, nor will we be, perfect on this side of Heaven. And, as soon as you hear me say that or you say it to yourself, the perfectionist inside you will throw a mini-tantrum, announcing that if perfection is not impossible then what's the point in trying?
See how toxic that is? See how defeating that is?
That is not the space we were meant to live in. It leaves no room for love, grace, compassion, and celebration. Perfectionism will slow you down far more than it will motivate you.
Here are some tips for knocking yourself out of perfectionism and into powerful motivating growth:
Okay, sweet sister, let me walk you through those tips again. 1. Rely on God more than yourself 2. Seek support from others 3. Celebrate every little thing. The journey to leave perfectionism behind will not be finished in a day, but as you learn to do this in your health journey, I pray you start to leave perfectionism behind in other areas of your life as well, inviting love, grace, and joy into those spaces.
All my love to you. I’ll talk to you next week. Good bye for now.
by Lora Armendariz
You Can Do It!
Do you want to fall out of love with a destructive habit? The first 42 episodes of this podcast are a resource for anyone who wants encouragement and information as they take a six week break from a habit in order to fall out of love with it.