Sunday, June 21, 2009

Are you trying to be perfect?

As a professional speaker, I have the opportunity to address large audiences about women’s issues. I will joke with my audience members that there are probably no women in the room who expect themselves to be perfect. This usually prompts loud laughter as each woman looks around and they realize that they are the same. Most, if not all, women hold unrealistic expectations of themselves. They would never expect such perfection from others but they continue to set impossibly high goals for themselves.

Setting unrealistic, impossible goals leads to failure – every single time. We are all human and, although it is wise to set challenging goals, it is self-destructive to hold perfection as the only acceptable outcome. If we continually set ourselves up to fail in this way, we can never feel good about ourselves. Instead we will feel discouraged and see ourselves as failures. This leads to self-punishment and often to the bakery or candy aisle. We then eat to soothe ourselves and, as you can see, much of our over-eating is emotional eating.

Some women spend years captured in this loop. They set themselves up to be perfect, fail, feel badly and then eat to feel better. They resolve to perform better in the future. Since they still can’t behave perfectly every minute, they set themselves up to fail again. Then they beat themselves up, eat to feel better, end up feeling worse and this cycle repeats itself again and again.

You do not have to continue to feel like a victim, failing to manage your life. You will be able to change once you understand how and why you have been harming yourself. Stop trying to be perfect. You already are!

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