I whisper this to myself daily. Still, I often find myself in a battle of wills between my heart and my mind. My heart is easily overwhelmed and cries at the slightest discomfort. My mind will normally respond with a pattern of logical reassurance. More often than not, the wires get crossed and my inner emotional state goes flying off track.
One of the fascinating things about growth is that it is not linear. It is unrealistic to expect to be on a continuous upward path. However, those of us with a perfection complex will claim defeat upon reaching a plateau and wallow in failure if we dare to dip below the line of progress. Growth is usually uncomfortable. I know my confidence takes a hit when I am thrown beyond my comfort zone. Let me just say this:
Confidence is not equal to perfectionism.
I have been going through a job transition the last couple of months. Hence, why this blog and my Instagram has stalled for awhile. I started off quite confident that I would walk in with a wealth of knowledge to immediately chart a course to success. After a few days, I realized that my acquired skill set wasn’t enough, and my heart concluded that I knew absolutely nothing and had no business being in my position.
I often wonder if I am the only one who feels things to such extremes; black or white…all or nothing. This week, I read something that struck me pretty hard, “your feelings are valid, yes…but sometimes your feelings are not true.” Feelings are defined by our perception of reality. Our perception can change based on our environment, based on influence from those around us, or by simply obtaining new information about a situation. So now that I have learned to give validity to my feelings and to give myself permission to feel them in the moment, I am also learning that they are more than likely to change and I shouldn’t completely commit myself to them.
The reality is that I had mastered the skills of my domain. Now that I have moved into a different environment…they have become a solid foundation to keep building upon. No one expected me to come in perfect. I placed that expectation on myself. I will most likely fight the curse of perfectionism for the rest of my days. Because just when I think I have conquered it, it sneaks up and ambushes me from behind.
At the end of my first week, I was dismayed. “Last week, I knew everything, this week, I know nothing.” Clearly, my absolute thinking taking hold. The transition from expert to beginner was not agreeing with me. Even with amazing, supportive people around, I still hated feeling like a little fish in a big sea. It is hard to accept that I don’t have all the answers. Even harder when people seek you out expecting that you do.
As I read this back to myself, I think “Gosh, I really sound like a conceited, know- it-all! Of course you don’t know everything, no one does.” Perfectionism drives you to believe that people will not love you, will not accept you, or respect you if you show weakness. That includes not having all the right answers.
I am giving myself permission to be a beginner. True confidence is knowing that in this moment I am open to learning and trusting in myself to adapt to situation at hand. I am not any less worthy of love or any less of a person because I lack a level of expertise right now. I will continue to tell myself “You don’t know everything…and that’s OKAY.”