I was sitting on the couch with my daughter this past weekend, and a vacuum commercial came on. It was a minimalistic house with clean lines, stark furniture, and one toy placed as if to say kids live here.
I'll admit it had me for a moment. Ahhh, they were selling me a dream of what a house could look like, with kids! Everything was clean, put away - In other words PERFECT.
That's just when my daughter piped in "That's not my house!" She wasn't saying it as a jab against our house, but of the MANUFACTURER. (They had gotten it all wrong)
They were selling perfectionism, and my daughter wasn't having it!
At that moment the commercial went from a dream to the reality of subliminal messages. My daughter was keen to it because she is from the generation that
- Being a Super Model is not perfection.
- Barbie is not reality.
- Having an outwardly spotless life isn't either
She knows perfection comes from within, and everyone's version looks differently and is not about to have a product manufacturer tell her.
And so we come to today's topic
How often do we have unrealistic expectations, based on perceived ideas of what things SHOULD look like or be?
My point being that we talk about body image and the reality of perfection. Our kids see advertising they know we all look different, and we strive to be our best selves. We get that.
But how easily do we (adults) slip into the expectation of the SHOULDS?
Ahhh, the shoulds of striving not just to be our best but to be flawless in more areas than you would expect from anyone else. When we don't live up to this we begin to negative self talk, and question our choices.
It would be liberating to drop the expectation of perfection!
Think about it. If you stopped trying to live up to everyone else's ideas of what a perfect home, life, job, family looked like and did things YOUR WAY, what would change?
I know... I know! (you don't see me, but I'm raising my hand)
You would have
- Less guilt
- More happiness
- More energy for the areas in your life you enjoy
- Increased confidence
YES, increased confidence, and that right there is the unexpected outcome when people stop living by what is expected and start living by their own definition of a perfect life, job, family, relationship.
So why do we find it hard to buck the system and say THAT ISN'T ME!
Because we lack the confidence to go against what we have seen as mainstream. Since it isn't the norm, there are more unknowns.
And we all know, it's more comfortable to stay in a place we know but don't like, than to try a new place that we don't know but might love
Let's face it taking a leap of faith can be scary even if it is towards our ideal life.
But I'm here to tell you I did and it was the most enlightening, invigorating, amazing thing I ever did. Whenever I find myself falling back into old habits, (because we all do) I make that leap into the arms of my version of a perfect life and am rewarded.
So the next time you catch yourself living up to the expectation of someone else's version of perfectionism.
Stop yourself and ask Why?
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