Do you ever feel that push to be perfect? That inner voice that says, “If it’s not worth doing right, it’s not worth doing at all.” I do. I hear it repeatedly in my head at work, at home, everywhere – I have all my life. It was my father’s mantra and it’s psychologically wired into me. While it’s made me an exemplary employee and a spiffy housekeeper, it’s done a job on my confidence and creates a lot of anxiety – not a fun head game to play on one’s self.
During the summer, I spent a lot of time thinking about what will make me a happier person, and one key element is getting rid of this idea of perfection. Now, I’m not saying that I’ve begun neglecting my job, my kid, etc…, but I’m loosening up and it feels better. It starts with small things, like leaving the pillows and blankets from last night’s movie fest scattered all over the living room without caring that it looks like a pack of hobos slept there. Walking past it on my way out the door in the morning and saying, “Meh, it will still be there when I get back,” is liberating. It’s not worrying about piles of laundry that need to be done or that nutritious meals haven’t been planned for the week – I can always swing by Trader Joe’s for a microwave zap-and-eat meal or order pizza online.
But it’s more than that – learning how to not give a s**t doesn’t mean you never give a s**t about anything. It just means that when you give a s**t, it’s voluntary. You have a reason. It’s about figuring out what’s most important to you and focusing on that, not all the extraneous stuff that fills in your day.
I’m still working on it…it took more than 40 years to program this into me, so I recognize that it’s going to take longer than three months to re-wire it out, but awareness is the first step and I’m starting to make some strides.