How loving your tears will mend you life.
Overcoming perfectionism to liberate life.
"You need to throw that T-shirt away my boy , the neck's gone funny," my gran informed me.' I was quick to respond that it is meant to be that way, it's "vintage" Gran – get with da kids like. The notion of the old being 'trendy' in a world that encourages consumers to seek out the newest and greatest gadgets is somewhat of a paradox. I recall purchasing a D&G man-bag many years ago and the shop assistant saying that he thought it was a nice bag and will look great when the leather is worn in a bit. Life is one big contradiction that is often too complex for people to understand, and leaves them perplexed and exasperated trying to reach an amicable comprehension of life.
In my new book How To Heal From Trauma And PTSD I talk about perfectionism, the constant need to be always perfect. I was unaware of my endless longing to be perfect all the time as a result of suffering from post-traumatic stress. Perfectionism is a way to avoid pain/shame and conflict. People who experience PTSD or prolonged stress tip their body into a 'fear and protection' cycle. The human body is hardwired to survive under threat; when in PTSD mania, defences are raised, avoiding conflict is paramount. Perfectionism is sought out as a way to keep safe by avoiding pain or the need to justify why we behaved in an incorrect manner. Below I share an extract from my book further detailing perfectionism. Running the perfectionism mode is equal to always being On Stage when there is no dress rehearsal or room for error. Living a never-ending performance is exhausting and self-destructive.
I was not aware that my desire for perfectionism was a result of PTSD. I'd try to carry out tasks perfectly, and then as a result of not being able to do everything to the high standards I set in my head, I found it easier not to bother trying. In my eyes, this was safer than not doing things perfectly and getting it wrong; later beating myself up for being a failure. Do you recognise yourself in this picture?
You can still do things to a high standard without the need for perfection. This is called excellence. Doing things to the best of your ability, and knowing that you put in your best effort, is better than not trying and then reflecting on yourself as a letdown afterwards. It's not the winning that counts, but the taking part. - Eexcerpt taken from How To Heal From Trauma And PTSD
I reflect back on my gran remarking on my T-shirt because the neck had gone funny, and my telling her that it was supposed to be like that – it's designed to be imperfect as a 'style'. It's the same with the trend of slashed and worn jeans, tears at the knee are à la mode. If only a person could be like a fashion trend and see the depth that tears in the fabric add to the piece, stone-washed denim is a statement outfit on someone's catwalk.
In my constant desire to be forever perfect I almost missed my boat, sitting around procrastinating thinking up all the reasons why it was not for me to write this book. In my eye someone else could do a better job, someone else will get there before me, I'm not as good as an established writer and nobody will listen to what I have to say on the subject. I kept putting off and conjuring up excuses to keep me safe why I shouldn't pull my finger out and do the work.
Learning to deal with PTSD helped me re-focus my perception of life and thus that enabled me to edge myself closer to the periphery of my Comfort Zone. People say that life begins outside of your Comfort Zone. By recognising PTSD and my own anguish from trauma I have been able to get out of my safety rut and do the work. It was no easy ride but my book has been attracting fabulous reviews and even though I perceived it as not 'perfect' enough for my liking, my ship has set sail on a mission to spread knowledge to help and inspire other people.
Like a fashion trend, some people might like ripped jeans and others will not. If we learn to love our perfect imperfections and see how not always being Spot On can create depth of character. We could get a lot more done if we are more concerned with the outcome rather than the journey. If you wait for all the lights on you intended route to turn green and the weather to be just right before you head off, you might never get out there. Quite possibly you might encounter something unexpected and magical waiting at a stop light along the way. You'll never know until you try. So, don you best ripped denim and get on with it.