They say that perfectionism and anxiety go hand-in-hand. They also say that it’s a maladaptive way of coping with anxiety and that it further fuels the anxiety by creating ridiculously high standards that prevent you from achieving.
According to Psychology Today, “Perfectionism is a trait that makes life an endless report card on accomplishments or looks. When healthy, it can be self-motivating and drive you to overcome adversity and achieve success. When unhealthy, it can be a fast and enduring track to unhappiness”.
These ring very true for me.
I have folders of ideas and unfinished/unpublished creations that will likely never see the light of day because of my struggles with perfectionism and anxiety. And looking back, this isn’t new for me. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember.
𝐌𝐲 𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐮𝐩 “𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐥𝐲” 𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐮𝐩 𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐥𝐥.
In large gatherings, I’ve always been the quiet one. Observing the room and conversation from a distance- not because I didn’t have anything to contribute but because I had this fear of saying the wrong thing, being misunderstood, sounding dumb, and a host of other lies I told myself.
I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety disorder in the summer of 2020. Although I always had a strong suspicion, the formal diagnosis led me to dive deeper into my behaviors and thought patterns. I realized that while I do hold myself to a high standard, my perfectionism and unrealistic expectations are due to my anxiety. The noisiness of my mind and overanalysis of tasks/projects leaves me stuck.
This podcast has been an incredible exercise in doing things that make me uncomfortable and doing things imperfectly. I’m embracing being a novice and fully embracing not knowing it all. When I make mistakes, I quickly forgive myself because I acknowledge that I’m a beginner. One of my favorite lessons taught to me by a guest was the episode entitled Rest as a Form of Resistance. In that episode, Kayla mentioned that yoga taught her to be a ‘student of life’. Of all the beautiful things she said in that episode, that one resonated with me the most.
Anxiety will have us thinking that we must be perfect in every way. The reality is that our humanity lies in our imperfection.
I’m almost two years into my podcasting journey. And I’ve worked hard at just showing up despite being imperfect. My audio quality has varied (aka struggled). I’ve toyed with different segments and themes. I’ve even published episodes that I’m not completely proud of. This has been an exercise at showing up as myself and while it has been often 𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 uncomfortable – I’m grateful for my growth.
Even though the sound of my voice sometimes makes me cringe, or that I say “like” and “um” way more than I realize, or that I often fumble through my words- I’m proud of myself for slowly shedding the weight of perfectionism.
Instead, I’m committed to being better than I was yesterday and am taking it one day at a time. I hope you are too.
Be well, Sis.