Updated: Sep 15, 2020
I know I can’t be the only one who has struggled with the constant need to make sure everything is perfect for myself and the people around me. I don’t half ass things – if I make you cocktail, it’s gonna be the best damn cocktail you’ve had all year, if I plan a trip, there will be an itinerary (complete with a weather report) …the list of things that I bend over backwards to make happen goes on, but you get it. The thing is, life is easier with a plan and I do think that most people appreciate perfection. The problem is; it’s f*cking exhausting. My constant type-A behavior was killing me and was making life so un-enjoyable.
So I decided to detox from being a perfectionist, and while I’m definitely a work in progress, I’m so much less stressed than I was… and guess what? Still getting shit done! Here are some things that I’ve been doing while ‘in recovery’.
A lot of times, when you’re a perfectionist, people ask you to plan trips, host dinners and organize the group gift for your co-worker who is getting married. They ask because they know that you’re responsible enough to get it done and that you’ll do the best job. While it’s flattering to be relied on, it’s really nice to just say, ‘no’. How? Let’s practice –
PERSON: “Hey, Devyn – can you order that gift from her registry and then just collect money from all 15 of us?”
ME: “I’d love to be able to do that, but I have so much on my plate right now – let me know what I owe for the gift!”
My perfectionism knows no bounds and doesn’t discriminate – whether I’m working on a project for a client or making dinner for a friend, I attack it with the same level of ‘this needs to impress’. Lately however, I’ve been realistic about what is actually important – if my manicure is chipped or my chicken is too heavily seasoned, I’ll live and so will everyone else.
GETTING RID OF GUILT
Two months ago, if you told me I had a typo in an email, it would haunt me for 3 days. Now, I feel zero guilt about making mistakes or sending things out into the world that are imperfect. This goes back to knowing the importance of things, but also just realizing that I’m a human (not a robot) and other people probably know that. It’s all good, girl - note your mistake and keep it moving.
I never really stepped back and realized all that I was handling/capable of because I was just so caught up in getting it done perfectly. Now that I’ve taken a deep breath and stepped back a bit, I can appreciate my effort more than the result. Not going to lie, it’s pretty fucking satisfying.
Devyn Penney is a certified life & intimacy coach and the author of, "Mastering the Art of Internal Intimacy". This blog is dedicated to ending small talk by having Big Conversations, "the only way we connect is through love, empathy and an open line of communication".