Today is brought to you by the letter 'P' - for Perfection,
Today is brought to you by the letter P…
...P for ‘pressure’, ‘perfection’, and ‘preachy’. And, quite frankly, those three Ps are really p-ing me off! Here’s why:
As a mother of a teenage daughter, this P-word gives me the fear. Society dictates from a young age that we should strive for beauty at all costs. We must have lustrous hair, good legs, a symmetrical face, fashionable clothes. I raise my fist to you, Barbie! Listening to a young girl complain she’s having a ‘bad hair day’ might sound mock-adult cutesy, but it’s actually the self-destructive seedling of someone’s battle with their internal valuation.
As well as your physicality, there’s such pressure to ‘be happy’ all the time. Us humans weren’t given a range of emotions to play with, only to be advised that happiness is the only one worth getting out of the dressing-up box. How can we know what being happy feels like if we have no experience of the rest of the spectrum?
How should we deal with this kind of societal pressure? Overcome perfectionism for a start. Which leads me nicely on to…
My (wo)mantra has always been to abandon the pressure for perfection. It’s a myth created by canny marketing folk who bamboozle us with science while filling our flat screens and glossy ads with flawless, poreless airbrushed beauties. But here’s a newsflash worth noting: you’ve always been ‘worth it’ - whether you have wrinkles, grey roots or carry a few extra pounds than you’d wish.
The pursuit of perfection becomes an addiction. And as someone who used to work as a research psychologist in the field of drug addiction, it’s all consuming. An addiction to beauty can be destructive, very expensive and not so pretty after all. The moment you start chasing that holy grail of no flaws, your self-esteem will take a pounding time and time again because enough is never enough.
I help my clients fix what’s inside, rather than outside. If you change your mindset - one slow step at a time - you’ll see that imperfection is what makes us human. It’s called self-acceptance and it will free you of a lifetime of anguish.
Leonard Cohen sang it well:
“Forget your perfect offering /
There's a crack in everything /
That's how the light gets in.”
Okay, well perhaps I have been a bit preachy here. But I promise you won’t find me preaching on exactly what you should do, eat, wear, think. You are different from the woman next to you, and one size does NOT fit all. Embrace your uniqueness, stop striving for perfection and work on being the best version of you.
And if help is needed, I’m here to steer you in the right direction.