In Pursuit of Perfection
Where does perfection start? We are all perfect when we are inside our mother’s womb. When a baby is born, you might first hear someone say, “he or she has your nose, your eyes, he or she looks just like you, he or she is perfect!” I feel we are doomed as human beings right from the start. As we go through the stages of our lives from childhood, to the teenage years, to adulthood, attaining perfection in all areas of our lives is ingrained in our psyche.
I know as a child into my early adult years I strived for perfection. My home life was less than perfect(compared to other friends of mine), so I had to make the other areas of my life look perfect, especially when it came to school and sports. Even when I became a mom to my two wonderful children, I felt the stress of having to work the 40 hours per week corporate job, commute an hour each way to work, make dinner, keep up with the demands of the house, make sure I spent enough time with them so they would remember who I was, still try to find time to exercise and eat what I thought was healthy food choices at the time(Did you notice I didn’t put sleep in there).
Why was this stressful for me, because I needed to show everyone just how perfect I was, how perfect my life was, even though I was starting to become physically sick and suffering close to a breakdown. However, I consider myself lucky because that was before the SOCIAL MEDIA CRAZE. If anyone would have snapped photos of me (to post on Face Book) running around like a lunatic, waking up at 4am in the morning to get a workout in before I had to wake my sleeping babies to get them to the babysitter, they would see my life was less than perfect.
Why am I telling you this? Because today’s world scares me. The youth of today have so much to contend with. The competitiveness of school, being the best athlete, verbally committing to colleges by the time they are in the 8th grade, wondering if they look good, wondering if they are thought of as “popular”, and on and on I can go. Not only do they hear it in school, they also have to handle social media and the disjointed conversations they have with one another via texting. This new world of trying to look perfect behind the lens of a cell phone, has created massive amounts of stress for all ages.
I recently read that 62% of High School students feel stressed all the time. I mentioned that to my son, who just finished his first year of college, and his comment was “they have no idea what stress is until they go to college.” If High School students feel this level of stress now, how the hell are they going to handle the stressors and demands of college life and then the adult working world?
How do we even begin to reverse some of the effects of what this world is experiencing? Maybe it’s time to stop following the fads, stop trying the newest “diet” trends, the newest “fitness” trends, having the most likes and retweets on social media. Don’t get me wrong, a little competitiveness is good for the soul, however, the excessiveness this generation is going through will not be a positive outcome for them or their future.
What can one do to help themselves stop the obsessiveness of pursuing perfection? To help lower the levels of cortisol (that hormone that is released during stressful periods in your life) before it breaks down muscle and tissue in the body?
What I have found that works; movement that sets our soul on fire, eating food that nourishes the mind and the body, becoming mindful in our words and actions. Finding our breath and being ok with who we are. That’s what living is! Let’s live and not just exist! Time for this world to break free and start enjoying life!!
Is that too much to ask? Maybe…… But I am determined and hard driven to show our youth and our adults, (from stay at home moms to corporate executives) that there is a better way. That life can be less stressful if we choose to stop striving for perfection and pretending all is “ok.” It’s ok not to be one hundred percent, one hundred percent all the time. It’s ok to feel an emotion and “experience” that emotion. It’s ok to “love” yourself for who you are and not what someone else wants you to be.
Life can be all “you” want it to be once you stop living by the terms of “perfection.”