Do you constantly feel the pressure to revise, assess, and ensure everything is done correctly, even though no one is looking over your shoulder but yourself? Do you second guess and double-check a recipe you know well, question what you might have said in a casual conversation, or overthink a straightforward project at work?
The drive to be perfect can be debilitating. Being beholden to an impossibility is downright exhausting. What about making 2023 the year you drop the need to be perfect? It’s a tall order, but it can be done! Read on for some helpful hints on liberating yourself!
Personally, I have been working through this tendency for over 20 years and I am finally ready to let it go for good! Whenever I reach an impasse in the physical realm I always look to the higher realms for support. The Goddess Inanna exemplifies a self-acceptance that transcends the need to be perfect or to do things the “right” way. Through aligning with Inanna’s teachings, I have doubled down in my efforts to grow beyond this tendency and am even more inspired to be done with internal rigidity.
Perfectionism can show up in many different ways. In my work as a spiritual counselor with high achieving individuals, I have even seen this tendency stand in the way of dreams being actualized. In my own experience, beginning to share my voice on a larger platform (including this blog!) presented the chance to heal this tendency even further as every typo, awkward encounter, or nervous gesture now frozen in time on a recorded interview or presentation of mine could have easily pulled me back into the self-criticism that often accompanies perfectionism.
Only you can free yourself from yourself. This self-liberation is an opportunity, a process by which you can lean into a deepened sense of self-acceptance. High standards of internal accountability will make for an endless list of things to worry about. By consciously electing to reframe the concept of perfection into a chance to liberate the self, you can soften your relationship with yourself, and make room for more play and joy, for taking things less seriously, and for being more present. In fact, the following suggestions can be applied to any resolution you might be making for the New Year because they are all about self-awareness and the willingness to be honest with yourself.
In reclaiming the archetype of the unapologetic heroine through the Goddess Inanna, I have made great headway with dropping inner judgment. Inanna is unafraid to be honest with herself, she never holds on to something she has done or perseverates on what she hasn’t done, instead she finds a way to come into an open-hearted attitude with herself and all her actions. When Inanna makes up her mind, she takes immediate action, and you can too. Read on to find out how.
Go Back to the Beginning: What’s at the Root of Your Tendency Toward Perfection?
Through inner exploration in a therapeutic context, find out if this is the young you¾ your child self. Is it from past life, or from mistaken expectations you acquired as a teenager or young adult? When you know what is actually behind the tendency, you can address that part of you in the context of a therapeutic dyad, in meditation, or through prayer and begin the first step of resolution.
Start by grounding yourself. Find a quiet space where you can settle undisturbed for a few minutes. Imagine roots descending from your feet into the earth. Ask for the Light of protection to surround you and then consciously engage whatever part of your past you have identified above as the origin of this tendency. In your mind, imagine this former aspect of self sitting across from you and literally talk to this part of yourself. Explain out loud that as an adult you have their back and they are safe and protected by you. Alternatively, write a letter to yourself and read this letter out loud as you would read a story to your own child before bed. If it resonates instead to use a mantra, you might consider the following:
The world is a safe place for me to be who I am.
If an old and outdated pattern or tendency continues to show up even when you have resolved to heal it, notice when and how it is activated. Feel what comes up for you and then reprogram yourself while in the midst of those triggered and resistant emotions by using a new narrative, stating aloud something like “I am human, and this [whatever is the situation you are judging] is no big deal”.
For example, if you fumble in a presentation, instead of holding the energy of self-abusive criticism, try instead to roll with it while feeling uncomfortable. Try letting it go. You can be sure that every person watching your presentation will have experienced their own version of your perceived imperfection. Reframe it as a training opportunity to release the need to be perfect and move on.
Have Compassion. You are Trying Your best!
If you have aligned your intention and attention to release a tendency that you have outgrown, be compassionate with yourself. If you notice that you are having a hard time shifting out of an old pattern, transform any inner judgment around feeling challenged, into having compassion for your courageous self who is tackling a sophisticated growth opportunity. Be proud of you. The more you can keep your heart open to yourself through every step of this journey on the earth plane, the freer you will be. Be inspired by your pursuit and let that inspiration motivate you to hold a compassionate stance for all you are going through and feeling.
Finally, remember that when you choose to do that which is aligned with your wholeness, your highest good, and your evolution, support gathers around to assist you on every level. Expect that this is so and look for where it shows up. Liberating yourself is one of the greatest teachings we have come to the earth plane to learn and when you are ready to take it on, it is a time to celebrate the magnitude of what your soul is endeavoring to accomplish.
It is my prayer that each one of you is blessed with the fortitude to bring about your resolution and goals in the New Year in a way that feels light, joyful, and expansive. May it be so!
*Inspired by the wisdom of the Sumerian Goddess Inanna, this blog is an invitation to live as she does, like an Unapologetic Heroine.
Seana Zelazo, LICSW is a psychotherapist, spiritual coach, and intuitive channel committed to helping us live unapologetically, by restoring balance within and without through the wisdom of the Sumerian Goddess Inanna. She is the author of The Way of Inanna: A Heroine’s Guide to Living Unapologetically. seanazelazo.com