Dr Ruth Briant-Jones
Is the Perfection Misperception Standing in the Way of Your Happiness?
The majority of my coaching clients are busy professionals; driven, ambitious, and generally pretty successful. They tend to be the types who've done well in life, but for many of them, they reach a point where they feel they're just 'surviving' - getting through each day, rinse and repeat: managing. I think this happens to this demographic because people who are 'good' at life, who have busy, responsible jobs and people to manage, can often get stuck in this life of doing everything for everyone else, plus everything they need to do to keep things afloat at home, at work and socially, plus all the other pulls and demands on their time, and they prioritise all of these things because of their work and personal identity. They are the one who is relied on, they are the competent one, the one who holds everything together - that is the value they think others place in them, and the value they place in themselves. But, in the rare times of reflection, in the dark hours when they're trying to calm that busy head down to get some sleep, something tells them 'I'm not happy', 'I'm not everything I can be', or 'is this it?'. Busy people, busy lives - full to the brim with work and social activities, and yet still, something is missing.
I remember one coaching session in particular, where I was with a new client. A busy professional mum who was just, well, miserable. Her life was crammed. A super smart, organised woman who planned everything within an inch of its life, she knew what she was 'supposed' to do to stay on an even keel - and so she had also carefully planned her self-care regime. She gave herself a hard time when something else ran into her self-care time, when she wasn't focusing enough on her self-care, when she didn't feel revived from the activity she had chosen to do, when she woke tired, again, in the morning; in fact, she just ripped herself apart at any opportunity. When we spoke about how she might re-allocate some of this busy schedule to doing less, to focus on simply enjoying those moments with her family, to making a mess, to curling up with a book, she threw her hands up in the air and spat 'what time, I have no bloody time! I don't even have time to make time!'. And that's where we started to get to the heart of it for her. She, like many of us, had become completely sucked into the illusion of who she was supposed to be, and she, like many of us, had planned herself into oblivion, to the point of not being able to think straight, to not having any real space at all. She had allocated herself some 'self-care' time, but not from a place of self-love. The point of self-care, is to simply spend some time loving yourself. It's time spent in the moment, doing something that brings you joy, peace, growth (you can plan that all you like, but if you're sitting there in your carefully prepared self-care time thinking 'I need this to make me feel good', then you're not doing it right). Her image of perfection was destroying the opportunity for joy in her life, and the value she placed on being and appearing perfect was overriding her deeply-felt need to be happy. Mistakenly thinking that perfection and happiness were one and the same, she was using up all of her energy chasing something that was never real.
She is in no way alone. We are often told that to live a happy life we must live a full life - to use all of these precious hours we have. We place importance on being efficient and successful and perfect. So we plan, and we fill it, and often, we plan for those around us too: we create for ourselves this blueprint for our perfect life. And then we live it. Except, it's exhausting, and soon we've run out of steam and the schedule starts slipping, and then suddenly, we're just clinging on by our fingernails and wondering how we got here and if this is what life is meant to be. Sound familiar? Those who reach out to me for coaching have usually got to this point and they want to find their spark again - to find the passion they may have once had, to find purpose, to feel fulfilled and happy. They want to feel alive again.
"Without the time for growth and nurture, we lose the joy of actually living"
So here it is: we need personal space, quality time, and time for personal growth. Without the time for growth and nurture, we lose the joy of actually living. We lose our foundation, we lose touch with who we really are, and when we do that, we lose our direction. Ultimately, by giving ourselves the time to give ourselves the gift of self-love, we choose happiness. And in choosing happiness, we can truly bring happiness to those around us. That's the real perfect. Ditch the rainbow-chasing perfectionism, and ditch your idea of who you're supposed to be to the world around you. Instead, be who you are, and focus on loving that. Give yourself time, and love, and nurture. I promise, the rest will follow.
Do you need some help to find your happy place, or to find your spark again? I can help you find the time you don't think you have, to give yourself the love you deserve. Book online now for a free consulting call.