I lead a life that is filled with a lot of expectations. Expectations that I push on myself. My whole life my parents have always told me that my best is good enough for them, but my best seems to never be good enough for myself. While it seems unlikely to people around me, I am low key a perfectionist. A lot of the times my perfectionism is what leads me to my failure. I want every situation in my life to be perfect and when I feel like it’s not going to happen, I sometimes will quite literally RUN from situations. If I don’t run, I self-sabotage or tell others I don’t care. It’s a weird defence mechanism I’ve picked up. Where if I tell others, I don’t care enough then in turn maybe I truly won’t care enough. If I know something isn’t going to be how I pictured it, I’ll just pretend I don’t give a shit. Not only do I set bars high for myself, but I also set bars high for how I think others are going to treat me. The bar that I set for others means it makes me constantly unhappy and filled with loneliness mixed with disappointment
An example is, I’ve had shitty friends in the past and so when it comes to birthdays, I always plan something big, but then when people bail, and plans go to shit I pretend I don’t give a shit about my birthday. It’s a big lie. I love birthdays! I think birthdays are a day you truly should feel so loved, but some of my recent ones have been filled with more heartbreak than love. Last year I was quite literally bricking it for my birthday. I planned different things for home and for my other friends, but it scared me how easily others will ruin the perfect birthday I’ve created in my head. Despite some hiccups, I had an incredible birth fortnight and made memories that will last forever. It leads me to wonder why I crave perfection. I know nothing in life is perfect but it’s so hard when everyone around me seems to lead these perfect lives.
I think I write about love a lot on my blog, and this is one area of my life that scares me. I don’t have love from a guy, I haven’t for a very long time, and it scares me that I may never find the perfect guy for me. What if I’ll spend the rest of my life craving guys who won’t want me and never fulfil the perfect life I’ve created in my head. I go for guys I can’t have because it hurts less when they are not the perfect person for me, it’s like I allow myself to pre-hurt, before they actually hurt me. I have an intense fear of abandonment., I have lost a lot of guys I have dated, but I’ve lost a lot more friends. This leads me to be fearful of relationship because I think that no one will stay due to me being imperfect. If I have a crush on a guy, I become obsessed with how I look because I fear if I don’t look perfect then they won’t want me. I like to push guys I care about away in fear they’ll see the perfect exterior I show to them is a lie. It scares me that all my friends are dating guys and girls that seem truly perfect for them. While I know they all have their ups and downs in relationships, it makes me feel like a failure. I can’t seem to get a guy interested in me long enough to want me, and so sometimes I’ll kill relationships before it arises in fear they won’t be perfect. Sometimes it feels like I am truly alone in the world and I’ll be perfect for no one.
I set unreal expectations on myself on how to be a perfect friend, which leads me to burn myself out quite easily. I have had many friends come and go in my life. Situations that some I couldn’t control and some I could. Which means I tried my best to do everything for everyone and then worry when I don’t succeed in the million tasks, I’ve given myself. Truth is no friend is perfect: everyone ends up saying a bitchy comment about a friend or bailing on plans. It doesn’t mean they don’t care about you. Sometimes we expect too much from our friends because we’d do everything for them, but that’s an unfair mindset for both parties. You’ll lead yourself into a lot of heartbreak if you expect everyone to have the same heart as you. I’ve learnt instead of trying to be a perfect friend, to just be me. To be there and to care but to not put pressure on me. When a friendship does end, I’ve learnt instead of being hurt, to take it as a learning curve and know that I still have many other incredible friends who love and support me.
Why am I writing this you may be wondering? Well, when I started writing this, I was sat on a plane on the way home from my first girls’ holiday. I booked this holiday about 11 months ago and during those 11 months I hyped it up into a holiday it could never have been. I thought the holiday would cure some of the sadness that has haunted me the last university year, I always feel happiest in the sun and just wanted the sun to cure me. While I had some amazing times on the holiday, the down days had been bad. I got taken into hospital after having a very bad inner ear and respiratory infection, which has now resulted in me having double hearing aids. It crushed me because the ‘perfect’ holiday had slipped away, and I felt like it was my fault. I couldn’t have factored in that I’d get sick, but it made me regret the earlier nights that I’d came home early from nights out in the week instead of staying out partying with my friends. I kept telling myself I had plenty of nights to get super drunks but putting them off lead me to miss them. I don’t know what I was expecting from this holiday and I don’t think it would’ve ever been perfect, but I can’t help the feeling of failure. That I somehow failed myself and ruined a holiday. Don’t get me wrong I’ve enjoyed some parts of the holiday but I’m also sad that the things I looked forward to most were not what I expected.
Now you may be reading this and thinking ‘ah but if you’re a perfectionist you JUST want to do a good job at everything, so what’s the harm in the issue?’ The issue is whatever job I do will never be good enough for myself because there are always ways it could have been more perfect. Maybe I could’ve taken less time to complete it, maybe there are more aspects I could change to make it perfect. There’s always a maybe that could make the situations ‘better’. Meaning my best will never be good enough… Any feelings that come with accomplishment are sabotaged by my brain telling me that things could’ve and should’ve been done better.
So I decided to find out about how to stop letting my perfectionist habits kill my brain and this below is what I learnt:
One thing I noted was that I say ‘should’ a lot. Should is a horrible word that adds too much pressure on us. Like I should have a boyfriend now, I should be happier, I should have a better grade, I SHOULD be better. Truth is I shouldn’t be anything than who I am right now. Instead of dreaming my life away with unreal expectations I need to be accepting all that happens currently and be grateful for it. This last few months I began to remove the word should from my vocabulary, and it has allowed me to live in the moment more.
Next, quit comparing ourselves to everyone else. Nobody on this planet leads a perfect life and everyone is facing their battles. Some people I thought lived the best lives, actually were struggling just as much as I was. Stop comparing your behind the scenes to people’s edited and perfect life they show online. News flash: very few will share the bad parts of their life on the internet. I share some of mine, but I don’t share the nitty-gritty, simply because I don’t think that’s what people need to know about me. I’m a sucker for thinking that just because someone looks better than me in their no-makeup selfie means they lead a better life than me. They don’t. Your self worth is worth more than other people’s social media lives. If you’re struggling, in particular, with comparing, take a social media break. Sometimes I’ll take a week from Instagram and I have seen how much better I feel in myself. Social media has ruined some of our generations, I am telling you now the pictures on my Instagram are not how I look every day. I will take between 20 and 100 shots to get the ‘perfect’ Instagram images. The pictures I post I will scrutinise myself because I don’t think it is good enough for my followers to see. Truth be told none of you cares if I look a little chunky or if my pose is ‘awkward’, but the worry that I am not posting the perfect feed did lead me to be stressed. Now, while I’ll still take many shots, I post photos that I like of myself, even if they aren’t Instagram Perfection. Just remember as you scroll through the feed tonight that people will have spent hours on that photo, even their ‘woke up like this’ selfie.
Change your stance on your expectation. This is hard because if you’re anything like me you’ll give yourself incredibly high standards for what you want from life. This leads us to kill our self-worth when we (or others) don’t get to them. Instead of having our expectations as absolute goals, make them a guide. So that means if you don’t reach it there is less disappointment. If there a goal, just because you haven’t got to it today, doesn’t mean you won’t achieve it in the future either. The only true absolute goal is to prioritise self-love and continue to grow to be the best version of yourself.
Fight the inner voice that makes you question your achievements. Just know that what you have achieved now is the best you could have done in this state you’re in. I used to think for so long that when people said just do your best, that it meant the highest grade, but doing your best actually means do as well as you can in this situation. I got an A in my GCSE maths exam, which was my best then, if I resat it now I would 100% get a better grade, but that is because I have 5 more years of maths knowledge since then. Justify your actions to yourself by reminding yourself that whatever you’ve achieved is amazing and is one step closer to something even better. When I didn’t get the GCSE results I wanted no-one is going to ask me about them once I finish university this year. Lose the thought of you can always do better and replace it with thinking the things you have achieved currently are incredible.
Learn to say the word ‘No’. ‘No’ scares me and I’m not sure why. However, saying yes to every situation leads me to do an average job for everyone, instead of a good job for select jobs. Remember when saying no you do not need to justify yourself afterwards.
I guess this was a lot of rambling but what’s new on my blog. This next year I want to learn to accept the events of life for what they are and stop overthinking them. Which is going to be harder than I’ve made out it to be. I’m going to learn that perfection isn’t going to ever happen and that I should roll with what happens. I can’t change the way people treat me or how life treats me but what I can change is how I approach situations. I can change the craving of perfection and instead crave situations to bring me some happiness. After all, happiness is far more important than a ‘perfect’ life.
All the love always,
Queen Clo x