Is “perfect” on you list for the holidays? Is that image of how things should be planted so deeply into your mind that your only focus right now is how to create it? Do you have a big, long list of things to do to make it happen?
Deep down, most of us believe in the core pieces of holiday traditions: gratitude, peace, joy, and love.
We want to have the picture-perfect holiday so if we bend over backwards to try to make it happen. It’s so easy to let our inner critics take over this time of year and begin listing all the “should do” and “shouldn’t do” things in order to create that perfection.
Oh, the demon of perfectionism drives us further away from all those desired feelings in our attempt to create the Perfect Holiday Experience.
Let’s be honest about what perfectionism really is: at our deepest level, we desire to feel loved and accepted. We want to feel valued and cared for. We have a deep, human need to belong to something larger than just ourselves. Because this need is so strong and so deep, we believe we must put on masks and try to mold ourselves into what we hope someone wants us to be. We believe to be seen as worthy enough to love and accept as part of the group (or family), we have to conform.
We hope that if we are perfect, then no one will see our flaws, because we think the flaws might make us unlovable. We perform to seem worthy and get lost in the hustle.
So, we do more in that hustle. We get caught up on the trap of trying to be perfect with lots of DOing, especially during the holidays, because we should be perfect and should produce the perfect holiday. That way, everyone we come in contact will see us as flawless beings they can’t help but love.
The truth of the matter, my darling, is that we are born into this world perfectly perfect. We are wholeheartedly lovable for who we are, imperfect beings.
AH, Did I say “beings”?
I’ve begun to believe that maybe BEING is the answer to help us step away from the perfection. Instead, we try to make it happen by DOING.
Look, I’m a big believe in taking action as a way to achieve our dreams. But if you are always DOING in an attempt to feel loved, you don’t get to actually FEEL.
When we are so focused on all we have to DO, those feelings we desire to have – that gratitude, peace, joy, and love – don’t have an opportunity to surface, because it’s hard to tune into those soft emotions when we aren’t really BEING.
The ways I best deal with my own leanings of perfection is to focus on finding pleasure in the small, ordinary tasks. Maybe what makes us unhappy about our life is buying into those shoulds and feeling shamed for simple joys.
What if the perfect holiday was really in the BEing and the simple pleasures?
What if we gave ourselves – and our best friend and our partner – permission (or the MISSION) to find extreme pleasure and enjoyment out of the simple. Like sitting together with our first cup of coffee as we gaze at the lights on our Christmas tree. And feeling the crisp wind whip through our hair as we walk down to the mailbox.
I have the heart of a perfectionist, so I know this part of the story ALL too well. Just as I know that truth that perfection isn’t possible, it is soul crushing to strive for it!
Like my choice to go “Complaint Lite” for the holidays, I think I may need to ease up on my perfectionist tendencies by BEING more often instead of DOING more.
Because, the only way to move beyond perfection is to lay down the masks and be unapologetically who you are. It is by being imperfect and vulnerable to those we love and trust that we are reborn into our most sacred desire to feel lovable and worthy.
In order to BE and lay down the masks, we must offer ourselves a little grace and a lot of compassion. We soften up on that long list of “shoulds”: what we should look like, what our homes should look like, and what we should do to create a perfect holiday.
Let’s vow together to stop berating ourselves for all the things we should do and allow ourselves to BE more. What if we were to offer ourselves permission to enjoy the simple pleasures instead of pushing ourselves towards some impossible picture of perfection?