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“Fear is a perfectionist.” ~ Danielle LaPorte
For three weeks now, I’ve been lingering on Danielle LaPorte’s #truthbomb since I saw it posted on Instagram:
I was looking in my Word docs the other day and discovered 27 articles I started writing but never finished.
I laughed out loud at how many times I had freewritten about significant topics and ideas, only to shut down because they weren’t “good enough” or “inspirational enough.” Instead, I allowed fearful assumptions to decide what people want or don’t want to read:
They referenced God, so people will dismiss them if they had a poor religious experience.
They talked about peace, so people wouldn’t recognize what I was even saying because our society often idolizes competition and aggression rather than calm presence.
They promoted the healing benefits of forgiveness, so people would reject the practice because it sounds too idealistic and lacks accountability.
They mentioned surrender, so whoever read it would run fast in the other direction because surrender sounds so scary and counterintuitive to our win-at-all-costs culture.
They talked about the importance of meditation and creating space in our lives for the truly important priorities, so the readers would balk at my new age and minimalism mentality.
Rather than a reader taking what they liked and leaving the rest, I was looking to please seven billion people! Seriously. No wonder I never finished; fear and unrealistic expectations were leading the way.
So today, this article is submitted, and I’m allowing faith instead of fear to lead the way. I’m saying “yes” to sharing authenticity instead of fearing imperfection.
There’s no such thing as perfection. We’ll never be perfect. It’s a moving target that more often depends upon pleasing others than it does on being true to ourselves.
Perfection is reserved for God, not people. The more I expect perfection, the more I’m trying to be God.
The hard part for me is that perfectionism is sneaky. It looks so many different ways. It can creep in slowly or rush in like a bull.
Here’s how it might look:
Procrastinating. Overthinking. Avoidance. People-pleasing. Planning down to the minute. Rewriting. Playing a scenario over and over again. Anxiety. Analyzing that conversation that didn’t go the way we hoped. Focusing on the future to “get things right.” Controlling. Obsessing. Keeping the status quo. Unwillingness to change. Expecting others to change instead. Judgment. Pushing an agenda.
How does it show up for you?
I’ve come a long way since asking my higher power to help me let go of “perfect.” However, it looks like perfectionism snuck up on me in a new way with this creative stalling pattern I found myself in. There must be some lesson I need to learn and that someone else can benefit from through my experience.
Here’s what I’ve learned through my “fear is a perfectionist” revelation:
1. Authenticity often is the message. Showing up real rather than trying to guess what others may want is where it’s at. Can this be scary? Yes. But it feels so worth it.
2. Expecting a result steals my joy. When I’m hoping things will look a certain way, I lose my joy and creativity. When I let myself have fun and go with the flow, I’m enjoying life and things have a way of turning out for the best.
3. Relying on my own strength is exhausting. I’m energized and things feel so much easier when I’m letting God and other people help me. When I think I need to do things myself, fear is the reason behind it. We weren’t meant to go it alone!
4. Peace, joy, and love are my foundation. When they’re missing, I’m living in fear instead of faith. Trusting my higher power and allowing that presence to guide me gives me the assurance that all is well even when chaos surrounds me.
5. Prioritizing how I want to feel creates fearless decisions. When I’m my highest self, I do things because I want to, not because I feel like I have to. “Have to” is the same as fear in my world. That “have to” cue gives me the moment to pause, step back, and check why I’m doing what I’m doing. I get a chance to see things as service, love, and joy. And, I can choose to say no, too.
6. Fear isn’t a bad thing. Staying fearful by fighting, fleeing, or freezing is when problems happen. That’s when authentic Sarah decides to hide out or people-please instead of being courageous.
7. Progress, not perfection. Each step in the right direction is a miracle. Success doesn’t look like a straight line. Failure is learning. How I choose to see things is just as important as what’s actually happening. My mind is very powerful, and when I feed it truth and hope instead of fear, life is much easier and I’m much more chill.
8. Just do it, already! My procrastinating, rewriting, editing, assumptions, and controlling held me back from getting into action and out of my head. Whoever is meant to hear a message will receive it. I need to trust in my part to take the next step and let the rest simply be.
What are you holding off sharing because you’re hoping for perfection rather than good enough?
The world needs our authenticity to shine through. The world needs our imperfect gifts and creations.
We need to give ourselves grace and compassion moment by moment to show up with self-love and to extend that love to others, so we all feel comfortable allowing our true selves to be seen.
Expecting perfection steals our happiness and peace of mind.
The world needs our authenticity and love—not our fear.