Remember that game “Perfection?” You had to get everything just right and it seemed like the harder you tried, the more your hands felt tied. Being a perfectionist in your own home is like that, too. Watch this video to free your bonds. You don’t have to be perfect- just be good enough!
(Click here to watch on YouTube if you can’t see the embedded player. Or watch the video at http://bit.ly/tcdperfection.)
Hi. I’m Lorie Marrero, creator of The Clutter Diet Book and on-line program, and today I want to talk about perfectionism. I have a lot to say about this. First, I want to clear up a misconception, and that is because of what I do as a professional organizer, that somehow my house and my life is perfect. No way! It is definitely not perfect. My house is a living thing. You know, there are undone pockets of things at any given time, because I live here. There are things going on. I’ve got a drink out somewhere, or I’ve got a book that I’m reading out, and that’s okay. It’s great. It doesn’t have to look like a picture from a magazine all the time. So no, I’m not perfect, and my message is about being good enough.
The whole point of this exercise of organizing your life and your things is not to spend a lot of time organizing. It’s to spend more time doing things that enrich your life. Organizing is a means to that end. It frees you up so that you can find what you need to go do those other things. So, let’s just get clear about perfect not being the goal. It is unobtainable, it is impossible, there is no such thing as perfect that lasts. So that being said, let’s talk about the roots of perfectionism. One of them is a mindset called “all or nothing thinking.” It’s the idea “If I can’t do it perfectly, I’m not going to do it at all.” Believe it or not, some of the most extreme clutter conditions, things that you see on television of extremely cluttered houses, are rooted in this all or nothing thinking. They think “If I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all.” Then it starts to accumulate and at some point it becomes so overwhelming they just cannot face it, and they just give up, and they just starting piling more and more on it, because they just don’t even know what to do anymore.
So, that’s one piece of that problem. But all or nothing thinking can hit anyone and trap you into getting stuck and paralyzed. As they say “paralysis by analysis.” Right? So the key to unlocking all or nothing thinking is to break through inertia. It’s the tendency of a body at rest to remain at rest. You have to do something to bust through that and get started. Do one step. Take one small item and decide about it, or take 10 minutes, or do something small to bust through that inertia so that you create momentum and you continue going. Otherwise, it’s going to stay the way it is. You’ve got to do something.
Another thing I want to talk about with perfectionism is fear of judgment. It’s often rooted in that. “What will people think?” “I’ve got to be perfect.” I suffered from this. I was a perfectionist earlier in my life and having children and life events have mellowed me out quite a bit, and I’ve learned how to shift out of that. But what it was rooted in was worrying about what other people think, thinking that I have to have this mask on all the time so that people would accept me and like me and understand me. And they didn’t know the real me, and I was suffering needlessly, worrying about what everyone thought of me, when I really should have just been more joyful and relaxed. And I’ve learned how to do that. But you can let go, you don’t have to be perfect, because no one is. And let me tell you a secret, when you stop trying to be perfect, everybody else has permission not to be perfect. And since nobody can, how freeing is that for everyone else? You’re giving everyone else a gift when you give up being perfect. So try that on for size.
And if you’re really stuck, you can get help in our on-line program at https://www.clutterdiet.com/learnmore. You can find out about that and our expert team can work with you to help you figure out what that small step is that you can take to create momentum.
We’ll see you next time, and may you always be happy and grateful for having more than enough.
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