Relief From Perfection

I think I have a hit a “bump in the road” in my cleansing lifestyle. Ever since reading my dear friend Elise Museles’ article, “When Perfect Is Not So Perfect”, I have been thinking about my own issues with perfectionism.

One of the hardest things about being a mother and cleanse specialist is trying to teach my kids and clients something, but feeling like a huge, walking contradiction. Every time my girls stress over the little things or panic over a minor event and I tell them to “let it go, it’s not a big deal,” I feel as though I am living a lie. Sometimes I feel frustrated with my clients who “cheat” a little here or there (even though I’ve told them that my programs aren’t written in stone) and then have them wonder why results are slow in coming. Even though I never expected them to adhere to my programs as strictly as possible, I want to ask them, “Why didn’t you follow my program perfectly?!”

I have always wanted everything to be perfect. I can’t bring myself to serve a meal unless it looks and tastes amazing; I can’t leave my house without my bed being made. I’ve never been a “good enough” girl, and I’ve been told many times by many people that I’m the only one who can do the job up to my own standards.

In some ways, being a perfectionist has helped me succeed in a lot of areas. I have a career and life that I love because I have always refused to settle for less than I feel I can achieve. But often, being a perfectionist makes even simple daily tasks a struggle. I can see it weigh on those around me – my kids, my fiancé and my friends have many times become exhausted by my demands for perfection.

They say that perfect can be the enemy of good, and I have seen that in my own life. Philosophers like Aristotle and Confucius have described what’s known as the “golden mean,” counseling us to avoid any sort of extreme standards or expectations. Because I was so often in pursuit of perfection, I lost track of how great things are in my life. I decided it was time to let go of the notion that I would be able to achieve perfection in any aspect of my life. Since none of us is perfect, trying to achieve a goal that is not realistic or possible just leads to frustration and disappointment. I’m ready to admit it – I’m human too!

Here is how I am working to stop creating impossible expectations. If you can relate, I hope these are helpful to you as well:

1. I get realistic.

I have often found myself disappointed because my goals were unrealistic in the first place. Sure, I’d love to win the gold medal in the 100 meter dash at the next Olympics, but the chances of that are pretty slim (particularly since I don’t even jog anymore!). Instead, I have been trying to set more generous goals that are realistic. Can I make it through a power yoga class without needing to take a break? Can I stay patient while I’m on the phone with the people trying to help me fix my computer? Trying to prove how perfect I am by writing a cleanse program for a client overnight will only stress me out, but giving myself until Friday makes me ecstatic when I get it done Wednesday 🙂

2. I focus on the journey.

When you are a perfectionist, it’s hard to see anything but the worst potential outcome. While preparing for my daughter’s graduation, I was panicked about the luncheon plans, my parents who were coming to help us celebrate, and whether or not my daughter had the right shoes. I could only picture all the things that could go wrong and ruin the day. When graduation day actually arrived, my daughter had a hair and makeup “crisis,” it was about a trillion degrees out and someone who came with us had a last minute family emergency mid-ceremony. But the day was still beautiful because we were celebrating my daughter’s achievement, my family was together and nothing else mattered. This experience opened me up to realizing that bad things and mistakes happen – as they say, the best laid plans often go awry. But even the most experienced among us can’t predict all the twists and turns we will face in life, so you just have to enjoy the process and go with the flow.

3. I dig deep.

When I feel as though I am spiraling down into the black hole of frustrated perfectionism, I ask myself the following questions:

-Why do I need this to turn out as I planned?

-What is the worst-case scenario if this does not go as planned?

Taking a minute to calm yourself and work through those inner voices that get worked up and try to mess up your day is a great way to come back to earth and realize that, most of the time it (whatever it is) just doesn’t matter that much in the big picture of life.


So give yourself some credit. Look in the mirror today and praise yourself for the amazing person you are, imperfections and all. Try hard to accept yourself unconditionally for the way you are – RIGHT NOW! Never give up trying to improve your health and well-being, but don’t worry if you’re not perfect. I know I’m not!I am learning to love imperfection. Putting extra stress on yourself is the fastest way to inhibit success and leave you unhappy. I want nothing more for you than to be the glowing, vibrant, imperfect person you are. It’s why everyone in your life loves you – it’s what makes you different and special. Be perfect in just being yourself, with all your flaws and shortcomings!

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