Hello, my name is Sarah and I’m a recovering perfectionist. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that inside most of us is a little perfectionist, just waiting to punish us for not getting all the things perfect, all the time. Chances are, if perfectionism is showing up in one part of your life, it is also doing so in other parts of your life – on stage, off stage, on the mat and off. As with most issues, yoga is my guide for dealing with this. I’ve spent a long time in the awareness building phase, getting to know my inner perfectionist and am grateful to be at a point where I can begin to make other choices of how to approach situations.
Because I’ve spent time getting to know my inner perfectionist (IP), I know I can easily spend way too much time trying to “get it right” in just about everything in my life. Professionally, I’m quick to think I need more training before offering what I know. Perfectionism in performing came out in the form of me being an over-preparer and an underestimator of my own talent. I spent way more time than I actually needed to practicing in order to try and control the outcome and then held myself back from going for things by viewing myself as not quite ready or, in some cases, not quite good enough. Personally, I can go to great lengths to read/learn/prepare for our family and yet there are still fusses and tears and frustrations (hello, I have a 2 year old and 5 year old in the house) that can be hard for me to accept as normal and not a sign of my personal failure. In the past I spent time in many romantic relationships trying to be who I thought the other person wanted to date rather than just being myself (just a little side note that when I stopped doing that I actually met my husband!).
I will spare you the theories I have on how I came to be this way, but will say that my roots are in my childhood and, happily, I am almost at the point where it amuses me when I see myself going down the get-it-right path.
Most recently my IP was rearing her head as we looked for a rescue dog to adopt. We looked at a lot of rescue organizations and met some dogs at open meet and greets. However, we weren’t successful in any adoption attempts – getting rejected or not responded to. Then, I found a dog that my gut told me was just the right one for us. The actual process of filling out an application is relatively simple, but because we’d had several unsuccessful attempts at adopting I was determined to get it right this time.
Rather than trusting my gut feeling about this dog my IP took over and I found myself putting a ton of energy into answering the application questions in vague terms to make us appear to be best possible family to adopt this dog and giving broad parameters of what we were looking for, rather than the specifics that I actually knew. Fortunately, the Universe was on to me and after I hit submit I got an email from the rescue coordinator saying she had received my application, but it was blank. That just made me chuckle.
I got a second chance and this time I answered every question without worrying about how to answer them perfectly, I just answered from my heart with the specifics of what we were looking for in a dog. Turns out that works pretty well. The dog I’d found met all those criteria, we were approved and just had to wait a few weeks to meet him.
Fast forward to today and he is snoozing on my yoga mat as I write this. Meet, Reese, our rescue from Alabama, who is the perfectly imperfect (impawfect?) dog for us. Great things come when you let go of being perfect and just be your most wonderful, imperfect self!