Authenticity trumps perfection every time.” ~ Jennifer Dukes Lee
I recently attended the Hungry for Hope conference in Franklin, TN and had the privilege of hearing the above quote from Jennifer. It touched me in such a profound way.
For you see, I have struggled to be this perfect being my whole life…the perfect child, the perfect student, the perfect daughter, the perfect sister, the perfect everything to everyone. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized this is an unattainable goal. And one that I don’t expect from anyone else.
I also realized as I’ve gotten older that I’ve had hormonal imbalances/issues since I first started my cycle. I was 12 years old when I first started, and I can remember having irregular cycles, starting every couple months with debilitating cramps and heavy flow that lasted for 10-14 days.
At age 15, my mom determined that was enough…she took me to the doctor and put me on birth control pills. Ahhhh…that fixed everything…right?! Oh, how this was so wrong!
I think my perfectionist traits started when my parents divorced when I was 5. I don’t know if I blamed myself, but I had to make sure both my parents were happy with me and approved of my decisions at all times.
I mean, I still do this now…just recently, I asked them if they would still love me if I didn’t have any children of my own. Seriously?
Of course they would love me…what kind of silly question is that?! But that’s how my brain works.
I also had to get straight As…Lord help me if I got a B or worse!! I put so much pressure on myself to be this “perfect” being. My room had to be spotless, I had to look great all the time, I had to be the best in everything I did.
I mean, I started working out in middle school…I can remember waking up early on Saturday mornings and doing step aerobics (yes, I was *that* girl).
And here’s the thing… I was so hard on myself if I wasn’t. I would lay in bed at night replaying conversations in my head…beating myself up over how silly or stupid I sounded. I would call myself stupid or worthless and would berate myself over and over again.
Does that sound healthy? Would we talk to our friends or family members like that? Of course not!! They would smack us…or stop talking to us. But probably smack us first.
This, unfortunately, is the bane of all perfectionists’ existence. We aim to please and we aim to be “perfect,” in everybody’s eyes. This, however, is so completely draining and taxing on our bodies. We stress ourselves out because we have to be “on” or everything to everyone or “perfect” at whatever we do.
Everything has to be in its place; we have to say yes to every invite; we have to help our friends and/or family when they ask; we have to write the perfect papers or give the perfect presentation. And in the end, all we do is go over and over it again in our head, critiquing ourselves and beating ourselves up for that one *teeny tiny* little mistake…that I can almost guarantee nobody else noticed!
And this constant pressure and stress causes anxiety and sleeping problems. I’d get in bed at night and go over everything that I had screwed up that day, wishing I could go back and change it. I would stress over the things I had to do the next day, and envision how they would go.
If I needed to have an important talk with my mom or one of my friends, I would stress about it and go over and over how I thought it would be in my mind. Most of the time, the conversation would go just fine and what I imagined was so over the top. But I would be stressed out and anxious leading up to the conversation.
I worried, I fretted, I was anxious, I was drained, I was tired, I was making myself sick. I suffered from anxiety, insomnia, night sweats, adrenal fatigue, brain fog, chronic fatigue, low energy, depression, and acne.
And I 100% believe my perfectionist tendencies led to a lot of these, if not all of them. All the stress and the worry and the heartache over what *could* go wrong jacked up my body. I couldn’t sleep or function right, so of course everything in my body was affected.
There’s no part of my life that didn’t involve striving for perfection or some sort of hormonal imbalance. And there’s no part of my life that didn’t involve being stressed out or unhappy or tired or depressed.
Until recently. Until I learned that I will never be perfect. Ever. And until I learned to be okay with that. 110% okay with that. I am human. And I make mistakes. I’ll always make mistakes. And that is okay.
That’s how we learn and grow. And I’ve also learned to laugh at myself and know that my imperfections are what makes me, me! I am perfectly imperfect in exactly who I am!! And that’s exactly who I want to be!
It’s taken me awhile to learn these lessons and to be okay with it. But I can tell you that I am so much happier and less stressed now that I have. I no longer suffer from hormonal imbalances or insomnia or anxiety or any of the other major issues I had.
Life is much easier too! I know that I am not perfect, that God loves me exactly as I am, and that my worries only drain today’s energy and positivity.
I don’t have to be everything to everyone. I don’t have to say yes to every invite. I don’t have to always be “on.” I will disappoint people in my life…that’s part of living. But it’s okay. I will survive…as will they. The beautiful part is that my track record for surviving thus far is 100%!!!
With love and wellness,
Whitney Cumpson is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and doTerra essential oils Wellness Advocate in Virginia Beach, VA. She is also a Crossfit L-1 Trainer. She became a health coach to fulfill her passion for improving the health and vitality of women who suffer from hormonal imbalances and its related symptoms. She helps women in their 20s and 30s transform their imperfections into their most beautiful asset.
Whitney is the founder and owner of her personal health coaching practice: Wellness Wisdom with Whitney. Whitney received her training at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City, she is certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, and she is a member of the International Association of Health Coaches. She offers individual health, nutrition, and lifestyle coaching to women who want to improve their health and lives naturally. Whitney also leads group coaching sessions for women, helping them to live their lives with vitality, health, and happiness.