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Navigating The Waters of Perfectionism


Staff member
Dec 14, 2023
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There is nothing like the abundance and dare I say, gluttony, of the holiday season to force you to bump up against your current beliefs systems. Temptations abound and the stories that hold me back rear their ugly heads.

One of the deepest challenges I have to navigate in this life has been my propensity towards perfectionism. I have been through may indurations of this story in my lifetime. In my youth it was achieving the highest grades and always striving towards being the best. This drive caused a lot of stress and illness in my life, as nothing was ever good enough. No matter the grades, I could always do better.

When I entered motherhood, this story morphed into all the ways I failed my son. That time I gave him a soother, or a baby food pouch that wasn’t homemade. Each of those moments burned into my mind as some sort of deficiency on my part. There was always an opportunity to do and know better, so of course that meant I was never enough in those moments.

Today I am dancing between what feels like two opposing points of view.

The first being the concept of perfectionism being a toxic behaviour pattern. The notion that I am never good enough or strong enough, is an ever-moving goal post that I will never achieve. No one should live their life this way and if you do, you will be in a constant state of poor self esteem and self punishment.​

Aside: I am learning that self punishment is actually a wonderfully destructive way that us humans hold ourselves back! Fun eh? We dive into what we call death programming and self sabotaging behaviours in my monthly membership platform Weavers of Plant Wisdom.

But here comes the duality and dichotomy of what I am moving through. Is the belief that perfectionism can never be achieved, just another story I am telling myself to justify poor decisions? “Since I will never be perfect I should just eat those cookies.”

Well holy heck… what a fun and magical place to be in dancing between these two realities that are likely both false.

That’s right, neither of these stories are actually truth and the healing comes when you find the place where truth lives.

But You Said Something about Gluttony…​

So back to the wonder of the winter holiday season. Cookies and chocolate abound, I knew heading into this time would be challenging. For the last seven weeks I have been drastically cutting back on almost all sugars in my life. For seven weeks I was without processed sugars of any kind. No maple syrup or honey either. If I was having fruit, it was first thing in the morning, with the rest of my meals compromising of vegetables, proteins and some good quality grains (although rarely).

So as you can imagine, heading into cookie season has been challenging!

I decided that the occasional indulgence in something that was good quality with clean ingredients would be fine, especially since I had done so well for the seven weeks proceeding it. However, this decision bumped right up against my stories about needing to be perfect.

Was I lacking in authenticity by consuming these? A “good” herbalist would never give into desire. Will people judge me if they see me eating a cookie? They came in fast and furious and it made me realize just how much work I still had to do on these tendencies towards perfectionism.

Truth Lies Somewhere in the Middle​

We’re back at the dance between these two opposing realities. Do I believe that always striving towards perfectionism is toxic? Yes, I do. However, do I believe I was using that story as a loophole to ‘get what I want?’. Well for me personally, the answer is no, but I cannot speak for you and your patterns, and this is radical honesty comes in (something else we talk about in Weavers).

Full disclosure, five years ago me would definitely have used food as a way to slow down my progress, sabotage my health and steer me right off the path that best served me. Thankfully I’ve embraced that former truth and have worked through it.

So as I come to the awareness of these patterns of perfectionism no longer serve my highest good. This experience is allowing me to practice something I share with my students and something I will be teaching them later this month. The idea of allowing space and grace for our human decisions, while also walking the path of authenticity. It’s a fine dance and one I am grateful to share with you all.

In good health,

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