by Eileen Campbell
Many of us as women try too hard to meet impossible standards of perfection. We always want to know the answers, do everything right, and never make mistakes. We try to look well-turned-out, stylish, and attractive, to be professional and efficient in our careers, to be good mothers, considerate partners, dutiful daughters, pillars of the community, etc. We’re so busy trying to be perfect and hold everything together, we become rigid and inflexible, losing touch with what we’re thinking and feeling, and less able genuinely to connect with others.
The problem is we’ve been conditioned to be perfect and are afraid of getting it wrong. We’re less likely than men to take risks, believing that we’re not good enough. Over thousands of years women have been conditioned to feel that their role is secondary to men’s, and so it’s hard to break out of the mould. Fear drives us – those subliminal whispers make us doubt our capabilities and tell us we’ll be found out as not up to the task in hand unless we do something perfectly. The competitive society in which we live can sometimes make us feel envious of others’ seeming good fortune – their looks, their wealth, their success etc. – and we compare ourselves needlessly.
For young women, with the pressures from social media, it can be particularly difficult – not only should they be having the most thrilling and perfect time of their lives, but they also have to have a successful career, be getting married, buying a house, and having children. Sometimes lives can spiral into chaos, when feelings of inadequacy and failing to make the grade become overwhelming, resulting in stress, anxiety, and depression.
We’ve got to learn to be comfortable with imperfection. We’re human, with all our faults and flaws. We’re not perfect and our life is a work in progress. Instead of beating ourselves up for failing to meet the high standards we demand of ourselves, we need to congratulate ourselves on what we’ve achieved. We need to be kinder to ourselves. Self-acceptance is one of the most important factors in producing a consistent sense of well-being.
Instead of being afraid that we’re not good enough, we need to learn to be braver and take more risks. That becomes easier when we feel at ease with who we are. We need to take care of ourselves in the fullest sense, by slowing down and turning inwards. When we appreciate who we are, where we are, and what we have in our lives, we can let go of the need to be perfect.
Eileen Campbell is a writer of inspirational books, including a successful series of anthologies described by the media as “treasures of timeless wisdom,” which sold collectively around 250,000 copies. She has studied with a variety of teachers from different traditions and brings a wealth of knowledge and life experience to her books. She is known for her pioneering and visionary career as a self-help and spirituality publishers, and has also written and presented for BBC Radio 2 and 4. She currently devotes her energies to yoga, writing, and gardening. She lives in England. Visit her at http://www.eileencampbellbooks.com.