As I made preparations over the past few weeks to host a Black Girls Brunch event in Evansville, I started each day repeating “the pressure to be perfect has the possibility to rob you of precious moments.” Sisters, it’s summer and if it’s one thing I have learned in this season is that perfectionism will constantly leave you on the shore, logging into social media watching instead of experiencing the ocean.
My inner perfectionist, has stifled me over the least 5 years because if it wasn’t perfect then I wasn’t willing to participate. Period. It became a living and breathing mantra. But why? Isn’t being great enough? Operating in excellence isn’t sufficient? As I travel, I am intentional about having conversations with women and it seems to be a common conversation – this desire to perform perfectly and the pressure of it all. Many of my sisters are cracking under this pressure.
I had to figure out where along the journey did the standards change. More importantly, I had to ask myself (no worries I didn’t answer back!) is this even a realistic expectation we place on ourselves. So here’s my final conclusion:
Striving to have everything perfectly put together was a lot easier in my younger 20s because I could burn the midnight oil “perfecting” things and still find energy to perform the next day. The pressure became too heavy. So I opted for sidelines. Subconsciously, if I couldn’t do it the “right way” then I wouldn’t do it at all. I was in need of a new perspective because being perfect wasn’t realistic and being stagnant wasn’t fulfilling. I started simply by changing the words I used. My mother is a woman of the cloth and she constantly reminds me to be intentional about the words I used because my tongue has power. While, we normally wouldn’t consider 'perfect'to be a negative word, I found it to be the source of my paralysis.
So, this summer I took the trip even though it was last minute, wore the bathing suit at the beach even though I still hadn’t shed the winter body, planned the event despite my crazy schedule, attended the outings although my outfit and hair didn’t come together how I envisioned, sent emails even though I didn’t have the exact words and guess what? I didn’t have one regret. Start simple – change your words it will change your thoughts and will eventually shift your perspective. I promise your behavior will soon follow.
In the words of India Arie, “Cause the words that come from your mouth, you’re the first to hear.” So choose wisely. You got this!