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Searching for Perfection

What is perfection? Why do we get so hung up on it? What psychological damage can it do? is it worth it? Can it ever be achieved? Is there such a thing as perfect?

This blog will be looking at these questions.











What is perfection?

If you look in the Oxford English Dictionary, perfection is an adjective meaning everything is necessary, complete, and without faults or weaknesses. In perfect condition, a set of perfect teeth for example all white and straight with no cracks and all aligned correctly, no fillings.

Fear of failure/or not being good enough.

When and why do we begin to become afraid of failure? When do we stop trying new things for fear of it not being right? Let's take a moment to think about a child learning to walk, they stagger, they fall, they get up and they repeat. They keep trying with a smile on their face. As we get older we strive for perfection so much more, and we drive ourselves very hard and give ourselves a hard time if we don't get something right first time for fear of being ridiculed. Our ego grows, it doesn't feel good enough to try our best and we strive more for perfection.

Is Social Media a help or hindrance? Social Media is full of fitness instructors and influencers looking immaculate doing challenging exercises They make them look easy without telling you how they got to that stage, how hard they have practiced, how much editing has gone into the video that you don't see. There is a lot of advice on how to get the perfect body, what to eat and what to do. Unwrinkled faces of women and men over 40 looking like they're 20 and being hailed as immortal and beautys amd sexy, amazing and gorgeous and defying age. I would love to see more wrinkled faces, face with blemishes, Even though most of us are level headed enough to not get pulled in, social media is designed to pull us in and get us scrolling without us even having to make a conscious decision about doing so. Then all of that information that we are scrolling past, not even looking at is fed into our brains and there it stays niggling away at us perhaps without us even realising. Psychological Damage

We all want to strive to be the best that we can be and that's really positive, without that we would all settle for a lot less and never strive to do well at anything. It's when it's taken too far that problems can occur, e.g exercise addiction, overdoing botox and implants, pushing through injury and dong long term damage to the body, or just setting the sights so high that the goal becomes unachievable.Unless we too are going to spend alot of money regularly on fillers and botox then it doesn't matter how much make up and anti wrinkle cream and hair products we use we will never look like we are 20 again.

The result of all this is people feel unhappy about the way they look and compare themselves to those wrinkle and line and blemish free faces and tiny waists and larger hipped women, and men with big chests and big thighs and bulging biceps with a wrinkle free forehead.We can feel like giving up on exercise, eat more to comfort ourselves or go on a extreme diet and exercise plan and buy lots of products that are full of promise to make us look good.For anyone lacking in self confidence or anyone young and impressionable this can have severe consequences.




Is the search and striving for perfection worth the time and energy and toll it can play on our mental health?

I will always will encourage people to focus on performing exercises with the correct technique to avoid injury and so that they can perform the exercise to the best of their ability. However what isn't healthy is to get bogged down with aiming for perfection. I have lost count of the times I've seen someone beating themselves up for not getting an exercise right first time. In searching for perfection the attention is lost on what is going well now and not even recognising when a goal has been achieved because a person is so set on the next thing. There is no next thing, the moment is here and now. We can use our exercise to practice on staying present and being ok with imperfection and we can take what we practice in our exercise and apply to other areas of our lives. Aim to be healthy, aim to eat a healthy diet and minimise processed food and save the sugary treats as just that a teat, aim to be fit enough to be able to walk at a steady pace without being out of breath. Aim to increase strength and flexibility.


Treat yourself as you would a good friend or family member and be a little kinder to yourself. This isn't always easy, when you are not used to it, it takes time and effort and commitment. Striving for perfection all of the time take up alot of energy particularly when the goal is usually unrealistic, unachievable or unsustainable. This is why we keep trying, and trying because we get close to the perfect goal we set ourselves and we move the goal post so we never quite reach it. That causes unhappiness and low self esteem and self doubt. Is anything that causes us to be unhappy long term worth it?


Focussing on effort, what we have already achieved, how far we have come how well we are progressing and not searching or striving for perfection.

We only have one life to live, we each have unique bodies, faces and have each led a different life up until this point with different traumas and experiences. When you bear all of that in mind why would two people look the same or two bodies shape the same or move in the same way? Would you want to turn back the clock and be your 20 year old self again? the lines on our face show the laughter, the love the trials, We are here despite all of tht, it shoes we have lived, we have had a bit too much sun we have made mistakes but we have come through them, stronger and wiser. With consistency patience and regular practice a stronger body, core, pelvic floor, self acceptance and a desire to focus on effort and give the best that we can in all that we do gives us a happier freer life, if we can take a different approach to looking at our reflection and look at our reflection with memories of all that we have experienced when we look at our lines, and our bodies, celebrate what we can do not on what we cant, we will become happier and freer in our minds with improved posture and awareness of the body with increased flexibility and strength.


Self Focus

Exercise is important for health, eating a sensible diet, minimising processed foods and eating foods that taste good as well as nutritious and yes, eating a little chocolate and a takeaway isn't going to kill us if it's not on a regular weekly basis. Appreciating what we have right now, family, friends, the home we live in now, the holiday we are planning for this year. Things that come and go do not define us as a person. Fads. and fashions have always and will always come and go, what is important to you? What makes you really truly happy?

All we have is the here and now, the past is in the past and that too can be seen through a soft lens making things seem better than they really were.


Summary

Long lasting richness and fulfillment rarely come from material things or looking a certain way or being able to master one exercise. It's family, friends, experiences that are shared and being content with what we have, accepting of things just the way they are , none of this stuff easy at all .It takes commitment, time a lot of practice. I had one of those moments this morning whilst walking ankle deep in mud at 6am with the dog. i was thinking to myself, I am so sick of walking in the mud in the dark in the woods The I caught myself and told myself this is the way things are right now I might not like it but this is my life and I reminded myself to accept things the way they are and not wish things to be different than they are. But to try my best to focus on the present moment. I forgot about the mud, I carried on walking and before I knew it the walk was over and I was washing my muddy boots and the muddy dog without even minding.


I meditate every evening before I go to sleep, in my Yin Yoga practice, I practice letting go of negativity and stuff that I get bogged down with and try to implement it into my life. I exercise and that usually gives me feel good vibes. this is also challenging mentally,when it doesn't go as well as I thought it would, I try not to have expectations and I have learned to be at peace with imperfection. Each day and each week my body and my mind are different, and I continue to learn to accept things as they are. As a result, I am a much happier much, more relaxed person most of the time but not always, there are times when letting go and acceptance are easier than others but the point is I don't give up, I accept that I am menopausal and there are a lot of things going on that are outside of my control. I love my job, I am most likely at my best when I am teaching/training, I love the people I teach and train and I feel so lucky to have what I have.






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