No. 70 – Pondering Perfectionism

No. 70 – Pondering Perfectionism

Dear One,

With committed intention to share what illuminates, alleviates, and elevates you on your healing Lyme journey – based on what helped me heal, perhaps consider gently ‘Pondering Perfectionism.’

If you are thinking ‘what’s Pondering Perfectionism remotely got to do with Lyme healing?’ I hear you. 

In 2017, I was still Lyme ill after how-many-treatments and felt desperate; turning inward and upward was … all I felt was left to try.  I was hardly Pondering Perfectionism.

Throwing myself into reading and studying, plain ole near hopeless describes it better – so turning to God willing to change anything about myself was what I did. 

Slooooowly, incrementally, and with therapy, I started looking at fears and limiting thoughts and beliefs – plus leaning on God.  Big time. 

And, this was waaaay before I knew research backed up that stress, anxiety, and depression negatively impact gut flora, immune function, and health (2019, Madison & Kiecolt – just 1 of many studies).

Perfectionism cropped up as 1 of my inner issues to Ponder because it’s a “self-destructive belief system.”  Perfectionism presses us to aim to appear and be perfect meanwhile we don’t feel perfect enough (perhaps ever…) and our experience with Perfectionism is “shame, judgment, and shame” per Brene Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection

If you’re like me and felt or feel like you just aren’t good enough with shame-y, blame-y vibes going on inside you, Perfectionism may be behind the scene.

In my mind, Perfectionizing seemed to have mostly upsides prior to 2017.

Gradually, an awareness of Perfectionism’s (under)side became more apparent while seeking answers, change, and relief from inner fears, criticism, and anxiety-a-plenty that Lyme exacerbated. 

Prior, Perfectionism seemed not an issue, ‘twas an asset.  Comprehending its detrimental effects was, well, zilch as excellence spurned by Perfectionism can be impressive and alluring. 

Harnessing Perfectionism helped me start and run my first successful company, finish 3 marathons, achieve academically, and hustle my tushy to accomplish what I set out to do.  In the long run, I think the beliefs that aided my success actually fed and fostered dis-ease. 

Progressively shifting perceptions and potent Perfectionism helped my inner healing – which research bears out impacts the body’s healing; this is why I offer these topics to potentially help you heal within.

Maybe begin by asking yourself these questions which, I found, may indicate Perfectionism’s at play:

Do you find yourself or might you see patterns in your life like –

• Limiting a close relationship making vulnerability and closeness – a 3 (out of 10) when you longed for 9, or – go big – a 10?

• Feeling ashamed of your body, being ill, saying the ‘wrong’ thing, or being unable to ‘get better’?

• Unknowingly creating a forcefield others bounced off? 

• Blaming yourself (maybe harshly) for a minor error?

• Keeping folks at arm’s length or involved in more superficial conversation?  And/or,

• Spending much time on a wee task while family, friend(s), or business awaited?

If you answered yes to even some of these, uhhhh, you’re not alone; I’ve been there and – keeping it real here – still working on it at times.   

The aim of asking these questions isn’t to have you shame, blame, or judge yourself, it’s to gently suggest this may be an area for noticing. 

To potentially, gradually reduce Perfectionism – via acknowledging that these feelings are universal, practicing extending yourself compassion AKA self-kindness and a mindful sense you’re human per Dr. Kristin Neff. 

Annnnd, s-l-o-w-l-y … growing more and more ok with your imperfections. 

Simple and easy-ish ideas to start with maybe a shoulder shrug and ‘oh well’ at a messy sink when a friend stops to check on you or walking the dog with your child with the energy you have for that day instead of folding laundry.

As your awareness and understanding of Perfectionism ups, you may find it increasingly more do-able to itty-by-bitty accept imperfections and even, eventually, embrace them (ok, at least more so) as that’s how we “find our truest gifts: courage, compassion, and connection” per Brene Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection.

By Pondering Perfectionism and better realizing intolerance of imperfections or hiccups, you can increasingly improve choices and responses in crummy situations – Lyme or otherwise. 

Aiming towards this self-compassion for various parts of you – yep even the shadowy parts – may decrease blame and begin melting of shame within.

Hopefully, as your awareness of Perfectionism grows from Pondering, you’ll find wee places where imperfection can possibly be accepted such that your connection and courage grows.  And grows.

Sending you imperfect Ponderings on Perfectionism – with wholehearted mega love beams,