Written by Brittany Turner, Certified Life Coach Practitioner
Founder at The Courage Collective: thecouragecollective.ca
I used to proudly wear the title of perfectionist. I thought it was a positive part of me that proved to others that I was hardworking, meticulous, and well...perfect. Not only did I want perfection in all that I did but also in all that I was. Because of this, I spent hours obsessing over other people and things I didn’t have. My self talk so commonly compared myself to others in a really toxic way. I would scroll through Instagram endlessly looking at women who I desired to be more like. My tummy was never flat enough, my legs never sculpted enough, my hair never full enough or shiny like theirs. In my mind, if I could only act and look a certain way, I would reach the ultimate pinnacle of perfect and find true happiness. This mindset caused enormous stress for me. Perfection is a seriously unrealistic standard to hold yourself to. I think we can all agree that it’s close to impossible to achieve and yet there I was, still pining for it.
The voice in my head. The voice that is right there in my ear. The one that I have a conversation with everyday, all day long. That voice was saying things like, “You’re not good enough; you are not enough; don’t embarrass yourself; try harder; be that way; be this way.” I can’t tell you how many times I grimaced when I looked in the mirror or how many nights I spent crying to my mom, stressed about getting something done in time and it not meeting the expectations I thought everyone had of me. I had myself so tightly wound that I was operating, almost all the time, from a place of worrying about what others thought and questioning how well I was doing.
The change in me came in waves over the course of a few years. It wasn’t the type of shift that happened all at once. I’d say it all began with my first long term relationship came to an abrupt end. It tore me apart and left me to put myself back together again. I’m eternally grateful for this process because in that putting together, I revealed more of who I was and what I truly value. A little layer of that perfectionism was shed. Then came the real world. I mean the real world after University. It placed me in a job where I was surrounded by people trying to be someone they weren’t. It allowed me to step back and evaluate if I wanted to live like that or just simply and shamelessly be myself. And then there were some solo travel experiences that really wiped away a big layer of “I need to be perfect.” First of all, travelling is messy, so there’s that. And second of all, being completely alone in a foreign place allows you this unbelievable freedom to be yourself from the very moment you meet someone new. And not to mention, that the being alone part really wakes your mind to reflecting on how you want to better yourself and develop as a human being. And lastly, the final letting go of perfectionism happened this year when I started The Courage Collective. For the first time, I could really articulate what I wanted for myself and the ways in which I was unhappy in my present life. I embraced courage and sent perfection out the window. I decided to make myself vulnerable to those around me and help others to do the same. Now, in being a Life Coach to other 20 and 30 somethings and an advocate for positive self compassion, I get to be reminded of my new, clearer and more fearless mindset everyday.
And then something really amazing happened. The majority of the negative self talk that I described earlier has been replaced with really positive thoughts that help me to continue on this non-perfectionist, no-stress, all self-love journey. I always keep in mind that the way I should be talking to myself is the same way I would lovingly talk to a friend or family member. I am not exempt from that compassion and understanding. Oh, and it doesn’t stop there. As soon as you decide to treat yourself like a worthy human and stop pressuring yourself to be perfect, the people around you will start to do it too. All of a sudden you’ll have this loving, accepting reciprocal thing going on with those around you. And the people who don’t jump on board are not worthy of your awesomeness and become easier to say goodbye to.
So here’s what I’m saying... In the face of some deeply embedded self talk habits and perfectionist tendencies, it takes time, compassion, and courage to peel back the layers. Not easy, but doable. And here’s a hint for all of you under 30 years old. Guess what? Your brain is still malleable and growing. Lucky you! If you want to change something fundamental about yourself, now’s the time to do it. Wait no longer to pull in the reigns on that negativity, stress, and unacceptance. You are a complicated, beautiful, and ever-growing human who is worthy of so much love. Don’t wait for someone else to show it to you - be the first one to alter that inner voice and make it one that whispers courage in your ear.
If you’d like to learn more about Brittany and The Courage Collective, please click here. For those of you who can’t wait to positively change your self talk, check out the coaching packages that will help you do just that.
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