Perfectionism is a harsh, controlling, fearful energy that is lacking in warmth and compassion. Perfectionism comes from the ego/mind; compassion comes from the heart.
— Catherine L. Taylor
Perfectionism is one of the greatest obstacles to weight loss. Expecting yourself to rigidly follow a plan or diet to the letter, not taking into account changing daily circumstances, having unrealistic expectations, and being critical and judgmental with yourself, leads to frustration, quitting, and overeating.
Perfectionism is a terrible burden to carry, as well as a losing game since nobody is or can be perfect. The greatest gift you can give to yourself and others is the freedom to be who you are. Each of us is on a journey, ever evolving and growing. Perfectionism is anti-growth and anti-life. When you let go of your perfectionism, you can allow life to unfold and flow in the way it’s intended to.
Instead of going for perfection, strive for excellence or good enough. Don’t judge today by yesterday’s yardstick. Do your best each day and let the rest go. Some days your best will be simply getting through the day; other days you will be able to do much more. Life happens in cycles. To expect yourself and others to perform at peak performance each and every day is to invite dissatisfaction, depression, burnout, and illness. You need to allow downtime and play to recharge your batteries.
A perfectionist doesn’t allow room for error or being in the learning curve. The best thing a perfectionist can do is to practice the 80/20 approach. This means that you aim for making good choices around 80% of the time and allow the other 20% of the time for splurges, lapses, vacations, etc. If you’re just starting out, it may be more realistic to aim for 70/30. Then, as you get in your groove and get some momentum going, you can then try for 80/20.
If you’re not doing anything at all, even 50/50 is better than nothing. It’s not black or white. You have to start somewhere, and then allow yourself to improve over time. Since no one can follow anything perfectly all the time, the all or nothing approach of a perfectionist means they never achieve any consistency or lasting results.
If you’re a perfectionist, your challenge is to learn to embrace your humanity, which means to accept your faults, weaknesses, and frailties. They do not evidence that you’re defective; they’re simply facets of your humanness.
Perfectionism breeds a lack of compassion, and this leads to perfectionists being filled with self-loathing, and being intolerant of their mistakes and frailties, as well as those of others.
Your task here on Earth is to learn, and if you were perfect, there would be no need for growth or change. Each of us has been given a specific set of strengths and weaknesses. It’s our responsibility to develop and build upon those. How well you play with the hand you’re dealt determines your satisfaction and success in life.
In simple terms, you get more of what you focus on.
Where’s your focus?
Are you busy investing in and building upon your strengths or are you too focused on what you’re lacking?
Maybe it’s time to shift your focus.
What if you could embrace the idea that your life is perfect right now as it is?
What if your current challenges, weaknesses, and obstacles (including your weight issue) were all here for your evolution and growth?
Can you see how viewing your life in this way makes for a more expanded view and opens up possibilities for learning, growth, and change?
This view calls for a growth mindset which breeds resilience, curiosity, motivation, learning, and success, instead of a fixed mindset, where you view your traits as fixed and therefore never changing. This type of mindset is rigid, unmotivated, perfectionistic, and doesn’t produce success.
It’s often expressed when people say, “I’ll never be able to lose weight.” Or, “Why bother. I’ll fail anyway.”
What lessons are your current food and weight challenges trying to teach you? What is life currently asking you to learn?
Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.
― Eckhart Tolle
As I journey through recovery, more and more I learn that accepting myself and my idiosyncrasies — laughing at myself for my ways — gets me a lot further than picking on myself and trying to make myself perfect. Maybe that’s really what it’s all about — absolute loving, joyous, nurturing self-acceptance.
Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.
― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.
― Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
Are you ready to learn how to move past your perfectionism and lose weight once and for all?