Letting Go of Perfectionism

As the new year struck my newsfeed was filled with posts about people’s word for the year. My small group leader asked if we had a word for the year. I didn’t realize this was such a thing that people did. But it’s a really good idea. New years resolutions are hard. It’s easy to want to set lofty goals and crush it the first week and then die, but having a single word or virtue or phrase that you to be your focus for the year 2017 seems a lot more realistic. So I wanted to do this – naturally… gotta jump on the bandwagon. But no word was coming and I was in a dark, despairing spot in the days leading up to the 2017 kick off.

img_6336However, last week I decided to go get lost in the woods and lost in my thoughts. Leave it to me to go get lost in the woods and come out refreshed, renewed, rejuvenated and most of all inspired.

One of the things I realized is that this is the beginning of the rest of my life…

I know, I know… cliche, bear with me.

The last ~6 years have all been working towards the goal of getting through nursing school. Every break was focused on what I needed to do to gear up for the next semester. But last week I didn’t go back to school, for the first time ever. Because even the semester I “took off” I was still re-taking a class. And it was a very surreal thought to realize that in this particular time I’m not trying to prepare to get through the next step. I’m not stuck on go mode trying to reach this end goal. I reached the goal. Next up boards, then orientation, then figuring out how to be a nurse and keep my patients, and then the rest of my life… I did it.

SO what do I do now? My free time is my own. Yes, I will use my off days to recover from 12+ hour shifts at the hospital. And there will be days I don’t get out of bed for the most part and binge netflix because that’s all I can do. I mean, I’ve been in school since I was like 4 if you count preschool. This is madness.

But I digress

As I wondered through the woods, getting lost in my thoughts and sorting through them I realized just how much pressure I put on myself to reach the standards that people have set for me. Which as a whole are good. It’s good to look to people who are a few steps ahead of us in the walk of life. But it’s also important to know who you are, what you’re living for, what you want your life to look like. And I realized that most of the last 6 years was trying to get through nursing school and trying to please the people around me and meet their expectations.

I’ve struggled with perfectionism for many years. It is in my nature to be a people pleaser. I have this friend who frequently asks me for advice to give to his friends because he knows of some of my struggles with comparison, with perfectionism, with self-worth and I always laugh when he asks me how I overcame it because the truth is I haven’t. I’m really good at putting on a mask. But really it’s been a minute by minute battle… to let thoughts of worthlessness pass by, to let comparison be transformed into inspiration, to see perfectionism as the false idol that it is.

Facebook memories are bittersweet – there’s usually some sentimental good memory and usually some ouch that’s embarrassing. As the new year swung through I saw hope and joy were words for the past few years.

And I think as I sit here ready to grab 2017 by the horns, I think hope and joy will come as fruit of learning to let go, to let go of trying to be all things to all people, to let go of doing things just because somebody expects you to, to let go of the grasp of control. Life happens, shit happens. Cars slide on ice. You get sick twice in the same month. You rediscover the joy of gratitude, and writing down what you’re grateful for. You can take the life you’ve given and make the best of it, or you can spend it existing, complaining, and wishing it away.

So some of you may notice I changed up my title and blog design today. And I changed to the Art of Letting Go to reflect my goal for this year. And because this blog will probably hold a lot of my journey, and I thought it only fitting that the title fit the journey.

Cheers to new beginnings, to letting go, to figuring out how to live life and not just get through life.

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