The Pressure To Be Perfect

The Pressure To Be Perfect

By Lissa Rankin, Owning Pink

party_attractive_men_and_women_vector_fashion_154413When I wrote The Story Of An Imperfect Woman, I ran it by my hubby to get his blessing since it referred, not only to my quirks and imperfections, but to his. He gave me his blessing, but then he said, “I’m not sure it’s such a good idea to tell everyone all of these things.”  I asked him why, and he said, “But what about your reputation?”

I had to laugh.

I mean this guy knows me and loves me, in spite of all these imperfections that are a big part of who I am. He doesn’t expect me to be perfect. And finally, I don’t either.

I remember, back in my thirties, when I felt like I had to:

•    Never make mistakes at my job (after all, someone could die)

•    Be the perfect wife (or my husband might divorce me)

•    Keep a tidy house (or the neighbors would think I was a slob)

•    Look perfect (after all, those women’s magazines tell me it’s so important)

•    Be perfect in bed (or he might trade me in for a younger model)

•    Behave perfectly (or others might not respect me)

•    Be the perfect mother (or I might screw up my daughter)

Of course, even if any one of these had been possible, these things were mutually exclusive. By definition, to even try to be perfect at one thing, I’d have to be imperfect at another. It’s enough to make even the most awesome woman bonkers!

I now consider myself a recovering perfectionist, and I no longer expect myself to be perfect. And yet, when my husband said, “But what about your reputation?” I felt the old familiar twinge. Oh yeah. What about my reputation? What will people think?

Hmmmm…

I thought about it, checked in with my Inner Pilot Light, listened to the still small voice within me, and started to laugh. I mean WHO CARES about my reputation? Who gives a flip what people think? So what if patients decide not to come to me as their doctor because I refuse to be some plastic version of myself who never makes mistakes? Why would I want those people as patients to begin with?

Who gives a flying freak if some society woman doesn’t let me in her country club? Who cares if the neighbors think I’m a slob or the people from my church discover that I took a sex workshop or that I’m twice divorced or that I have a bit of a pooch around my middle these days?

I mean seriously? What am I trying to prove?

I know my husband means well. He wants me to be successful in business, pleasure, friendships, and life, and he supports me 1000%. But if someone like him can still question – after all I’ve done to put my truth out there on the internet – whether I’m crossing the line by revealing how imperfect I am, it only shows me how much further I have to go to help encourage you to learn to love yourself exactly as you are so you can free yourself from the burden of trying to be perfect.

Imperfection As A Screening Tool

The way I see it, sharing my imperfections with you is kind of the perfect screening tool. In other words, I’m not trying to please everyone. I only care about pleasing my people – and if you read this post and decide you don’t like me anymore, then you’re not part of my tribe. Good for both of us to know, right?

I met one girl with bright pink hair and hairy armpits and she said she used her hair as a screening tool. If people didn’t love her because she had pink hair and hairy armpits, they weren’t her people.

The more you pretend to be perfect, the harder it is to find your tribe. Why not make it easy for everyone? Why not let your freak flag fly and see what happens?

The Gift In Imperfection

I’ve learned an incredible lesson since I started Owning Pink over 2 years ago. It turns out that my imperfections are not only a good screening tool, they’re actually the keys to the kingdom. In my vulnerability, authenticity, fearlessness, and sometimes uncomfortable level of disclosure, lies the secret sauce. If I was writing this blog and showing you some vanilla version of myself, I suspect most of you wouldn’t be here. If I was telling you what I thought you wanted to hear instead of what was actually true, I doubt I’d have 5 million readers and over 100,000 Twitter followers.

People care what I have to say because when you’re brave enough to expose your imperfections, you give them courage to do the same. And when we can build community based on truth and authenticity, rather than masks, false perfection, and being phoney, we heal, connect, and thrive.

Are you brave enough to share your imperfections?

Tell us one imperfect thing about you in the comments here. (I promise, we’ll all love you anyway!)

Perfectly imperfect,

Lissa Rankin, MD

Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.comPink Medicine Revolutionarymotivational speaker, and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.
*Reprinted with permission from Owning Pink.

The Pressure To Be Perfect

Fit Mission: Get a Weight Loss Buddy

Diet & Fitness BuddiesIf you’re trying to lose weight, support from your weight loss buddies can be the key to your success, and luckily, there are several ways to get good support.

First, you could enlist the help of a friend.

Getting together a couple times a week to work out or even just discuss your weight loss goals and accomplishments can be a huge motivator to stick to your program.

You could also make a daily phone date to discuss progress.

Another idea is to join a weight loss support group. There are many of these available in most areas. You could join Weight Watchers and attend weekly meetings for a small fee or just use the online program, or any number of other commercial groups.

Video: how I lost 100 pounds with Weight Watchers.

You could join a group at your church or community center, such as Overeaters Anonymous. This could cost you nothing but time.

I have found that online support works pretty well for me, which is how I met my Fit & Fabulous Girls and ultimately, part of the reason I’ve been able to lose the weight up to this point.

Meet my girls, right here.

I also find support locally with a group of close friends who are on the fitness trail–we call that group Fitness for Life. I’ll share more on that one in the near future.

Don’t forget: you can join the Project Blissful group on Facebook for live support right now.

Do you a weight loss buddy?Have you had one before, and if so, did you find that it helped you stay on track?

If not, will you seek one now? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below.

The Pressure To Be Perfect

What Would Happen If You Gave Everything to Yourself?

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from a dear friend and a long-time weight loss buddy I’ve been connected with for nearly eight years. She’s one of my “Fit and Fabulous” girls. You’ll meet others in the coming days and weeks. This post is one she shared in our private group, and with her permission, I’m sharing it with you. Get ready to get motivated!

By Stacey Celaya

The Lovely Stacey CelayaI met a woman who just went through a rough divorce after 17 years of marriage and decided she wasn’t going to live life afraid to do things anymore. So she signed up for a bikini fitness competition and has spent the last year training for that.

She talked about how she is so focused on her goals that when invited to dinner by friends and family she generally takes her own food because she wants to stick to plan.

And she talked about how she gets a lot of shit for that. (By the way, this woman is the best friend of Jacqueline from Real Housewives of New Jersey – since they were teenagers, which is just a really cool thing.)

Anyway, what was so amazing about that conversation was that I had just become obsessed with a blog from a woman that started at 230 lbs and is now ALSO training for her first fitness competition. And you KNOW I don’t believe in coincidences.

At the same time as all this I had a conversation with my hubby in which I mentioned that I was afraid that he wouldn’t want me at some point if I could never get skinny. (Left over shiz from my first marriage.)

And he literally stopped short and couldn’t understand what being skinny had to do with him wanting me or anything else for that matter.

He actually SAID that.

I was stunned.

How could he not understand that? But apparently I am the one that didn’t understand. WHAT AN EYE OPENING EVENT! How skewed my perception of my worth was!

So I literally couldn’t stop thinking about these ladies or the conversation with my husband – I went to bed thinking about it all and I woke up thinking about it all – for DAYS.

I started thinking about my own life and what I was afraid of. I started thinking about what I really wanted out of my life and this journey that I am on. I started thinking about how much I have struggled this past year with weight loss.

And here is what I realized.

Part of what has been holding me back in the weight loss department was a sort of dare for my husband.

An “I dare you to leave me” or a test maybe. In my warped mind – no matter how wonderful a wife I was, the weight thing would eventually make or break the relationship.

When he was stunned and confused by my linking my weight with his wanting me or valuing me as a wife, that made me realize how ridiculous my thought process was.

Another part was that I bought into the bullshit about being 40 and over.

It’s harder, I am middle aged, I am too old to expect too much from my body. Well BULLSHIT. I realized this about 6 months ago and I called bullshit on myself then – but I don’t think I REALLY believed it was nonsense until now. And trust me – that IS nonsense!

But here are the BIG ones!

I spent the last year working towards average results. I am not average. I have NEVER been average.

Quite frankly, I want to be better than anyone else when I am doing something.

And when I say better than anyone – I mean anyone…random people, strangers, TV folk…ANYONE.

So by working towards average results I was actually working AGAINST my nature.

Plus I spent the year TRYING to lose weight. TRYING leaves the door open for the possibility of failure. So NO WONDER I couldn’t get it together.

And finally here is the MOST amazing realization I had:

I have given my EVERYTHING to being a Mom for the last 21 years of my life and I am good at it. I gave my EVERYTHING to my first husband for 10 years. I have given EVERYTHING to my husband now for the last 13 years and I know I am a great wife. I give EVERYTHING to school everyday and I have rocked a 4.0 or close to for most of my academic career.

So what would happen if I GAVE EVERYTHING to MYSELF and what I want?

I TRULY believe that in a former life I was a fit athlete – that feels familiar to me even though I have never completed achieved that yet.

So what if I GAVE myself the gift of this year. This year to give EVERYTHING to ME?

What can I do with ONE YEAR for me?

So that’s what I have done. I GAVE myself the gift on 2013.

This is MY year. I am not going to try to become fit – I WILL be fit. I am not going to settle for average results. I am going to not only lose weight but I am going to lean out and build muscle. I am going to be my dream girl. And THAT’S IT. There is no other possibility.

And I am going to do it bigger and better than anyone else…because that is who I am and what I have ALWAYS done.

So stay tuned, because you ain’t NEVER seen the like of me or what is going to go down this year. It’s going to be EPIC.

The Pressure To Be Perfect

Fit Mission: You Are What You Think

“Most people define themselves by this finite body, but you’re not a finite body… I mean even under a microscope you’re an energy field. What we know about energy is this… You go to a quantum physicist and you say “What creates the world?” And he or she will say energy. Well describe Energy. Okay. It can never be created or destroyed. It always was and always has been. Everything that ever existed always exists. 

It’s moving into form, through form and out of form. Okay, great. You go to a Theologian and you ask the question “What created the Universe?” And he or she will say God. Okay, describe God. Always has and always has been, never can be created or destroyed all that ever was always will be always moving into form, through form and out of form. You see it’s the same description, just different terminology. And so, if you think you’re this meat suit running around , think again. You’re a spiritual being. You’re an energy field operating in a larger energy field.” ~James Arthur Ray

I came across this excerpt while flipping through The Secret awhile back, and I knew I had to share it with you.It occurs to me that as our society becomes increasingly tolerant of certain differences, it also becomes more body-conscious–which can have the unfortunate effect of causing many people to feel inadequate or unattractive in comparison to society’s ideal body types.And, while I’m sure there are a few of you out there who have no complaints about your physical bodies, I’m willing to bet you’re the minority. Most people have at least one thing they don’t like about their physical appearance, and many have more than one.

The connection that Mr. Ray makes between ourselves and the divine seems to indicate that science and religion may be getting closer to the same page–and, on a similar note, seems to affirm the law of attraction.

That said, the final couple of lines is really what grabbed my attention here–the idea that our bodies are not, in fact, “meat suits” and that in reality, they’re spiritual beings in and of themselves.

So what does this mean for our body images? Well, quite simply, we’re a product of our thoughts. That is, when we spend time lamenting on the things we don’t like and ignore those things we love about ourselves, we manifest more of those things we don’t like.

For example, if we want to get thinner and healthier, we set out to lose weight. We think about losing weight, we talk about losing weight and we focus on losing weight. So, we lose weight…and we then talk about having lost it, and so on.

However, this kind of thinking can lead to temporary success at best–because when you’re focusing on LOSING WEIGHT, you are bringing the need to lose weight back into your life, if you catch my drift.

Focusing on health instead, focusing on fitness, on feeling good…this is how to get there. Think in the affirmative–about what you WANT, not what you don’t.

This idea can be applied to any area in your life, of course.

In relation to your body specifically though, it seems simple. Want to get rid of pimples? Focus on having clear skin. Hair getting a little thin? Focus on having thick, beautiful hair.

It’s really a lot less complicated than you might expect.

If you cannot learn to love (and be grateful) for your body as it is today, and as you hope it will become one day, you cannot achieve your goals. Focus on what you WANT, not what you don’t–it’s that simple.

Be grateful for your sight, your hearing, your sense of touch. Enjoy tasting foods, walking around in the world, being able to talk to your friends. Remember that your body works hard for you every day, and be grateful for all that it allows you to do.

Remember, your body is not just a “meat suit”–it’s a spiritual being. It’s as divine as your soul. Beginning to recognize it and treat it as such will bring you closer to your own personal fulfillment and to a new level of enlightenment.

So, your Fit Mission today is to be conscious of negative body thoughts and words that creep into your day. Make the choice to change your mind in relation to your body image issues. When you have a negative thought or speak negatively about your body, intentionally change it. Focus on the good instead, and be grateful for it.

 

The Pressure To Be Perfect

How to Stop Feeling Like You’re Not Good Enough, Part 2

 It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.  ~Sally Field

As I was checking my email today, I received a notification that a new comment had arrived on a post I did on this blog about how to stop feeling like you’re not good enough. This comment touched me so deeply that I felt the need to reach out to the commenter, Kate, and anyone else in her position.

Kate wrote:

I have been doing what that article recommends. Unfortunately, I’m feeling even more inferior every time. It is getting worse, day by day.

Now what?

The first thing I want Kate to know is that she’s not alone. According to Dr. Joe Rubino, approximately 85% of people have experienced feelings of inferiority at some time in their lives. That’s nearly EVERYONE. I realize that doesn’t make it all better, but sometimes just knowing you’re not alone can help one begin the healing process.

And, for Kate and anyone who feels like they’re not good enough, I’d like to offer a few more suggestions, in addition to the ones made in this post.

Remember That You Are Freaking Fabulous

If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.  ~Vincent Van Gogh

Often times, when we feel like we’re not good enough, we are focusing on all of the things we think are ‘wrong’ with us. We worry that people won’t like us, or that they’ll think bad things about us. We feel like we don’t look good enough, that we’re not smart enough, that we’re just generally terrible people.

But what does this get us? More reasons to feel crappy about ourselves. So, I propose that we start focusing on the things we like about ourselves, the things that make us proud. Maybe you’re a good painter, or you can cook a perfect souffle, or you’ve never met an animal who doesn’t love you. Perhaps you have a beautiful smile, sparkling eyes or a great pair of legs. There is something special about every single person on the planet, and you’re no exception.

Sit down with a piece of paper and write down at least ten GOOD things about you. Write down things you love about your body (it gets you from point A to B, for example!), things you love about your personality (that sparkling wit of yours, maybe) and things you love about your life in general (you have good friends or a close-knit family, a roof over your head, etc.)

Then spend a few minutes feeling grateful for each thing on that list. Gratitude is a powerful tool, and when you focus and are grateful for the things you love in life, you draw more things to love into your life.

And Speaking of Gratitude

If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.  ~Frank A. Clark

Start a gratitude journal. You can even create a private blog for your gratitude journal, if you like. That’s what I did, since as a writer, I’m nearly always near a computer. Try to write in it each day. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated–just start each entry by saying “Today, I am so very grateful for…” and let it flow.

At first, it will feel a little awkward, but once you get going, it’ll flow like water. If you have trouble thinking of things to be grateful for, why not start with the fact that you woke up today and work from there. You can be grateful for your health, your senses, your friends and family, your home, your ability to read–the list goes on and on.

This practice alone can significantly improve your general outlook on life. And, as a nice little side effect, it can help to improve your self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. It works because as you spend more time focusing on the good things in your life and less time focusing on the things you want to change, the law of attraction works in your favor, bringing more reasons to feel good into your life.

Follow a Passion

“The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment.”~Earl Nightingale

Everyone has some thing or activity in their lives that they’re passionate about. For me, it’s writing. I have always known that I wanted to be a writer, and have followed that passion on some level for most of my life. The years I spent scribbling into a journal between meetings and writing corporate publications for the companies I worked for were a little tough, but I survived and lived to have the opportunity to follow my passion full-time.

One friend of mine  is passionate about helping animals. She blogs about animals, volunteers for the Humane Society and helps raise funds for animal rights and assistance groups. Another friend is passionate about helping kids–and after getting her Masters Degree in Social Work, she has become a school social worker. Both are very happy in their lives.

While you may not have the option to “quit your day job” right now, there’s nothing stopping you from finding and following your passion on the side. Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer. You could start by doing some research and taking some classes. If you already know how to design patterns and sew, why not start making clothes? You can set up a cheap or free website and start selling.

Nothing wrong with starting small–just do SOMETHING to follow your passion, anything at all.  Give yourself permission to call yourself a fashion designer (or writer, or artist, or actor, or astronaut, or whatever you want to be.) And then go and do, be and have what you want!

Studies show that people who follow their passions, whether in their careers or just as a hobby, are significantly happier than people who don’t.

Judge Not

“The secret of attraction is to love yourself. Attractive people judge neither themselves nor others. They are open to gestures of love. They think about love, and express their love in every action. They know that love is not a mere sentiment, but the ultimate truth at the heart of the universe.” ~Deepak Chopra

Most people unconsciously judge others. It’s human nature, and it doesn’t make you a bad person–but it might make you feel like one. When you are focusing, consciously or otherwise, on the faults in other people, you’re going to be more likely to see them in yourself too. The best way to change this pattern is to begin intentionally finding something good in every single person you meet.

So, for every person in your life and every person you meet, find at least one thing about them that makes them special. And be free with the compliments. Even if you barely know a person, you can find SOMETHING to compliment them about–and not only will you make their day, you’ll walk away feeling good about yourself too. Remember, what you put out into the world is what comes back to you. So if you’re walking around finding good and beautiful things and sharing the love by freely passing out compliments? You’ll find that you’re attracting the same back to yourself–beauty, love, compliments–and ultimately, a renewed sense of self.

To Kate

A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her.  ~David Brinkley

I hope that these suggestions help you as you move into a new place of peace and self worth. Know that you are worthy, you are special and you are an amazing person. Even (and especially) when you feel at your lowest, try to change your perception and see the beauty and good things all around you. Be grateful for your life, for your SELF, and for all of the good things in your life.

I have been where you are, Kate, and I know the pain and despair that comes with feeling like you’re not good enough. Nearly every person alive has felt just like you feel now. The trick is to decide that you don’t WANT to feel that way any more, and to start taking action to change it. And then, Kate, you have to BELIEVE that you can have the life you want. Believe it and trust that its yours, and watch as your life begins to transform itself to match your true divine desires. Keep your eye on the prize, my friend, it can and will get better!

And to the rest of my readers, have you ever felt like Kate feels? What sort of advice would you offer to a friend in her situation? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

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