Exaggerated expectations: Do I want to be perfect or complete?

I’ve been struggling greatly these last eighteen months with staying on track with what I want to do in life: my coaching business, writing, and my multiple other interests.

The revelation:

My struggles lies in trying to become someone that I’m not.

It finally hit me: I’m trying to be a “perfect person” (whatever that might be) rather than the best version of ME.

The best version of me is NOT at all a perfect person. Yes, I am perfectly imperfect. But I don’t come close to being a perfect person by any stretch of my imagination.

Because that perfect person has not lived my life, does not have my personality, and is not living in my life situation. They are simply idealistic, well-rounded and – of course – perfect.

Thinker, observer and philomath

I’ve done many different personality tests, which all point to the same result. I like to learn and to think.

My reality is that I live in my head – no matter which one of the tests you look at!

So, all those jokes about me being “a head on a stick” and “living with my head in the clouds” is pretty accurate. I do a great job of keeping my feet firmly planted on the ground and getting things done once I understand something well.

No matter what I do, I will never be great at networking and being with people just for the joy of sharing with others. I am energized by groups of people coming together to discuss and work on something meaningful to me; I am not energized by groups of people.

I love a meeting of the minds and learning: I have no interest in small talk.

The mistake was trying to become something I’m not.

  • Can I justify hiding away, living in a castle with an extensive library, away from the world? Not really, because that’s not bringing much value to the world.
  • Does that mean that I don’t need to get “embodied”? No. It’s exactly what I need!
  • Could I be an embodied thinker? Absolutely, yes.

Nonetheless, just because I’m learning to tune into my heart and take courageous action doesn’t mean that I will suddenly become a well-rounded human who naturally operates “from the heart”.

I will need to consciously choose to start with my heart. I might need to think about it rather than do it naturally.

Complete or perfect?

One of my favourite quotes from last year’s rich reading and learning was this one from The Heroine’s Journey:

A wise person once said that the goal of the masculine principle is perfection and the goal of the feminine principle is completion. If you are perfect, you cannot be complete, because you must leave out all the imperfections of your nature. If you are complete, you cannot be perfect...  Maureen Murdock, The Heroine's Journey Workbook
A wise person once said that the goal of the masculine principle is perfection and the goal of the feminine principle is completion. If you are perfect, you cannot be complete, because you must leave out all the imperfections of your nature. If you are complete, you cannot be perfect… Maureen Murdock, The Heroine’s Journey Workbook

While striving for perfection, I ignored those imperfect parts of me.

The outcome: I felt empty and incomplete.

One of the main places I noticed emptiness was in my writing! I wanted to focus my writing on my coaching and spiritual growth. As a result, I stopped writing short stories, political criticisms, and commentaries. Because I can be caustic and sarcastic when I get on a roll! Definitely not love and light.

Ultimately, I found myself arid without any inspiration or writing ability.

I kept telling myself it was writer’s block and came up with many reasons I wasn’t making time to write.

Then shortly after looking at all those aspects of my personality and accepting that I am a thinker, I gave myself permission to re-open the blog I’d closed down. I wrote a short opinion piece on some abstract question a friend asked me about.

Suddenly, all my writing has come back, and the floodgates have re-opened.

Why?

Because I had shut off part of me and said, “you’re not allowed to be that kind of person or writer”. Because that writer is imperfect (sarcastic, cynical and facetious). She writes with dark humour and twisted cynicism. That writer looks at what is wrong with the world and levels harsh criticisms at society.

That writer can be dark and unfiltered.

Definitely not the qualities you’re looking for in your coach for personal development, right?

So I told that writer to shut it. She wasn’t allowed to voice her opinions anymore because that wasn’t the image I wanted to portray to the world.

As an unwitting result, I totally stopped writing on all fronts.

"You're going to pay a price for every bloody thing you do and everything you don't do. You don't get to choose to not pay a price. You get to choose which poison you're going to take. That's it," Jordan Petersen quotes,
You’re going to pay a price for every bloody thing you do and everything you don’t do. You don’t get to choose to not pay a price. You get to choose which poison you’re going to take. That’s it. – Jordan Peterson

The price I paid for attempting to show a picture-perfect image to the world: total writer’s block!

I stifled my own voice.

And somehow, I thought I could ignore that dark side of me that looks at life and laughs.

Wisdom is expressed in action.

Wisdom that is not embodied in pragmatic action is not wisdom at all, it’s merely entertaining ideas.

Grant Soosalu & Marvin Oka, mBraining

It is not enough to learn more about the world around me intellectually. I grow when I do something with that knowledge (usually writing or creating videos). It comes through in my coaching by asking better questions and being willing to hold space and silence.

My exaggerated expectations

While I can spend time building relationships and have excellent networking skills, I will never be someone who thrives on serving others selflessly.

Compassion for myself and others can take many forms, and perhaps what I do best looks very different to what others might offer.

My light casts shadows.

I choose to be kind, but I’m definitely not “a good girl”. I don’t believe in “being nice” just to avoid tension or rocking the boat, so I come across as cold and uncaring.

I spend a lot of time in my head and thrive when I make time to get lost in thought.

I serve others best when I’ve had time away to recharge my batteries and digest new ideas. I will always love learning, reading and diving deep into rabbit holes of thought.

I had exaggerated expectations about my personal development and balance: it’s not about becoming perfect. It’s completely accepting myself and building upon my strengths.

I am constantly reading and learning about all these topics. My reading list for mBraining alone looks a little like this:

mBraining, book club, The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy, Deb Dana, Gut, The Second Brain, Dr. Gershon, The Body Keeps the Score, Gut Feelings, Three Brains, Gut Instinct, The Heartmath Solution, The Mind and the Brain, How the Body Knows Its Mind, reading list
What are you reading?

There’s a lot on this list about the gut (obviously), but I’m also very interested in how the emotional aspects of life and trauma impact the body. My healing journey is more than changing my mindset, diet and exercise!

A multipotentialite with a myriad of interests.

As you will have noticed on this blog, I talk about several different topics:

  • health, diet & fitness
  • personal development and growth
  • forgiveness and healing
  • motherhood

I’m interested in learning all this for myself, but then I want to share it with others.

There is an Indian proverb that says everyone is a house with four rooms: a physical, a mental, an emotional and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time, but unless we go into every room everyday, even if only keep it aired, we are not a complete person.  Rumer Godden
There is an Indian proverb that says everyone is a house with four rooms: a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time, but unless we go into every room every day, even if only keep it aired, we are not a complete person. Rumer Godden

For now, I’ll focus on being a well-rounded version of myself: living well from the inside out! Taking care of my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being, one day at a time. And yes, writing on four different blogs to cater to my diverse interests and priorities!

And I’ll be writing about whatever I feel like in the hope that it inspires you to live completely.

One comment

  1. Sorry to sound redundant, but changes will bring changes, and change is the only constant in the universe. I guess it is good to realize that we can always change things. You have been through a lot, and with your changes, you had to adjust. You have a lot to do and a lot to give.

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