Healing: Perfectionism, Perspective, Progress
“Give yourself grace! I’ve been where you are, but be kind to yourself” ~ a mentor
How do you understand healing?
The concept of healing is often seen through different licenses depending on one’s experiences and perspectives. Healing, similar to forgiveness, is a choice one chooses for the betterment of themselve. Healing, at least in this context, discusses the internal journey one embarks upon to later display our healing externally.
Oftentimes, we allow ourselves to utter words that do not honor us like “i’m a complete idiot” or “i’ll never be ____ enough” or “i’m perfect”. We allow our hands to place harmful food into our mouths that enter into our bodies, resulting in poor health. We allow relationships to persist even when individuals possess toxic personality traits. Are you recognizing the pattern?
Maybe we tend to maintain negative ways of living, thinking, and interacting because: 1) we have become accustomed to one specific way of living. 2) we feel comfortable, unable to detect the detriment of these behaviors. 3) we struggle with self-love. Over the past year I have been on a mission of identifying my patterns and working towards how I hope to become; however, as soon as I began this journey I realized it is a life-long commitment!
What is one of the obstacles you’ve overcome on your journey of healing?
In short, I struggled with perfectionism. 1) I grew-up with the shared belief that everything must be completed at a high-standard. I saw myself as my own competition, daring to accomplish all my goals. 2) I felt comfortable. I did not believe my perfectionist tendencies were detrimental. In my mind, the stereotypical perfectionist was invested in seeking the approval of others. However, my perfectionism was not rooted in acceptance or people pleasing. My perfectionism was rooted in ambition. 3) As a maturing teenager, I did not know how to incorporate self-love into my daily life. My definition of self-care was evolving from mani pedi to manifestation.
I recall being a junior in high school and having lunch with a mentor. She and I began to chat about my goals for the future. Somewhere in our conversation, I assertively utter “I don’t have the luxury to fail…. My family sacrificed too much for me not to be successful”. She gently placed her hands on the dining table, leaned forward and said “give yourself grace! I’ve been where you are, but be kind to yourself”. Instantly I took a deep breath that would eventually welcome deeper breaths, journal entries, and vulnerable conversations with friends and family. I will never forget that day, simply caring about someone can change their outlook on life.
How did I heal? How did I unlearn such toxic thinking?
I was able to heal through addressing where I observed such messaging surrounding perfectionism. From there, I began to believe that whatever was meant for me would be mine. I no longer needed to strive from the unattainable. I decided to change my perspective to strive for progress, not perfection. Progress says “I am flawed, but I am an ever evolving being with levels of conqueror, I am exactly where I’m supposed to be”. To that point, unlearning toxic thinking is not an easy progress when it is tightly woven into our cultural beliefs and practices. This journey is a marathon, not a sprint! What are some behaviors that aren’t serving you? How do you show yourself grace? Where are you making progress?