Raise your hand if you would call yourself a perfectionist. Do you suffer from perfectionism?
Is this something you pride in yourself or something that you shy away from talking about?
Answer honestly, there’s no judging here.
I have had my history and even some current perfectionism rumbling beneath the surface that I daily have to bring out and put in its place. As Brene Brown calls it… I’m an aspiring good-enoughist.
In a culture that is filled with images with our best face forward. We are constantly seeing everyone’s best moments. Their highlight reel. It’s only natural that we would fall into the perfectionism, comparison trap.
And in response, try our damnedest to look perfect, live perfect, have the perfect looking family and body.
Diet culture plays a huge role in this. Think about diet culture for a minute. We’re constantly seeing images of super fit, perfectly shaped abs and workouts that look absolutely PERFECT. And what’s scary in the age of Instagram, these are “real people” – they’re not necessarily models. So, it feeds the thought in our minds – well, if they can do it. Why can’t I?
Maybe if I try harder, workout more, be more consistent, give up carbs, do exactly what they’re doing, I’ll end up looking like them.
I too can be perfect.
But these people aren’t perfect. They’re strategically showing you their best moments. They’re not showing you the picture that doesn’t show off their abs perfectly. They’re not showing you the moments when they’re crying. And for some, they’re not showing you the moments when they’re having an unhealthy relationship with their body and food.
They’re strategically showing you their perfect green smoothie, perfectly brushed hair, and cute workout clothes. They look and seem like superhumans.
Diet culture is a problem. And it’s really difficult to see through, especially when it’s on all of our social media feeds. How many of you are currently on a diet? How many of your friends are on a diet? Talking about a diet? Trying out a new diet? Thinking about trying a diet? Reading about diets? Reading about the next best workout? Calculating their macros?
We live in a culture that prides and pushes diets without educating the masses on what a healthy relationship with our bodies and food looks like.
I am on a personal mission to change this.
I’m tired of it. I’m tired of seeing all of these beautiful women comparing themselves to others highlight reels. And oh my gosh, I’m there with you. It’s so easy to fall into it. It’s something I need to remind myself about every single day.
So what does this have to do with perfectionism?
Diet culture feeds perfectionism.
When we’re consistently shown what “perfect” looks like. We too want to be perfect. We put our best face forward on our social media feeds and we strive and strive to achieve what these “perfect” people are achieving.
This is why you will NEVER see comparison pictures on any of my stories, testimonials, etc.
It has nothing to do with how someone looks. It’s about how you feel and that can’t be captured in a side by side bathing suit shot. Not truly. It automatically brings it back to the physical body and appearance.
Whether consciously or subconsciously we will inevitably compare.
That feeds diet culture too. And I won’t have any of it. No more. I’m taking a stand. Who’s with me?!
I want us to switch our perfectionism from negative to something we can harness and use for our own benefit.
There are places and times for perfectionism and I do not believe that being a perfectionist isn’t an inherently negative thing. Although, I feel like sometimes it gets a bad rap. Just like many things, perfectionism has its positive aspects and its negatives. But it’s a real delicate dance.
Let’s break it down.
When I think of perfectionism (in its negative form), I think of it as debilitating and causes you to not act at all out of fear. Essentially, it holds you back from living your life fully because you’re scared of failing, not looking perfect, and scared of being judged by others. Does this resonate with you?
On the flip side – it can also make you act. This shows up as strict restriction of calories, rigorous exercise in the name of body perfection and weighing yourself (for the sole purpose of validating your workout/dieting lifestyle).
Perfectionism is not the same thing as working hard at being your best. Showing up, working hard, and wanting to improve. Those are wonderful qualities. But… when it breaks from healthy self-improvement and striving for our best and being perceived externally and internally as perfect because we don’t’ think we’re good enough as we are it can dance a fine line with feelings of self-blame or feel like you’re not good enough.
That’s when we get into some serious muddy waters.
You can want healthy self-improvement and growth without crossing that line.
It can be done.
But it really comes down to the language that we’re using with ourselves throughout the process.
Positive Perfectionism and healthy self-growth is self-focused – How can I improve? What can I do better?
Unhealthy Perfectionism is outwardly focused – What will Others think of me? Will They think I’m pretty, thin, etc.?
What’s your internal dialogue? Do you harness your perfectionism for your own self-improvement? Or are you using it seeking outside approval?
Healthy Self- Striving Activity:
Write in your journal ways that diet culture is impacting your life.
Reflect on how this is showing up in your own internal dialogue.
Repeat these mantras when you need some help:
I am doing this for me.
It is safe for me to work on myself and my health without attachment to outside judgment.
It is ok for me to strive to better myself.
I am enough.
I am enough.
I am enough.