My daughter decided she needed to make this “scary” mask to frighten me into resting.
Even while quite sick the past few weeks, I’ve had a hard time slowing down to give my body the rest it needs to recover – a tendency common among perfectionists. It took this reminder from my 5-year-old, full of messages to “Rest!” to stop me in my tracks.
I’m learning that, even when we reduce patterns of perfectionism in our lives (as I’m working with so much intention to do!), we’ll still find ourselves defaulting back to those patterns from time to time – as I have the past several weeks.
But I actually find that comforting. We don’t have to discard our perfectionist abilities altogether in seeking to let go of the patterns serving us less well. We’ll still have that perfectionist muscle in our back pocket when we need it.
And these past few weeks were a time I decided with intentionality to activate my perfectionist muscle. With several exciting projects and deadlines I wanted to meet, I decided to tackle my work with urgency and precision.
But because of the work I’ve been doing to reduce the grip perfectionism has on my life, I was able to notice and accept when I was letting this perfectionist approach go too far - and choose a different approach in its place. The signs I noticed this time around:
—>My mind racing while trying to fall asleep
—>Sneaking in work during time I’ve set aside to be present and playful with my kids
—>And lastly, my daughter (and later, my husband) reminding me in this over-the-top way that I needed rest
So I took a couple of days and recharged by lying on the couch, allowing my family to take care of me, doing things I enjoyed in place of work, letting my body heal.
I'm so glad to know I can still use my perfectionist muscle when I want — but that I can spot the signs that it’s going too far and confidently switch gears.
And more than anything, I wish for my daughter to always be the creative, assertive, playful and confident person pictured here. I know that modeling rest, presence, and self-care will support that far more than modeling “perfect” will.
What signs help you notice that you're letting your perfectionist patterns go too far?