Her kid’s parties were amazing. Each year I was blown away by the attention she gave to every detail. From the themed invites, matching lolly bags, colour coordinated decorations, to the gourmet catering and decadent cake it, all seemed so perfect.
“I don’t know how you do it,” I exclaimed taking another bite from a home-made dessert treat. “You must cringe when you come to my kids parties. I’m definitely upping my game this year, can I come to you for pointers?” I asked.
That was when the tears began to well in her eyes “You don’t want to do this,” she whispered. “Party month is like hell month in our home. I go too far and I don’t know when to stop.”
“Too far! What do you mean? You love all this don’t you?” I now tentatively asked.
“Love it? This torturous process of bettering last year, fussing over stupid details and driving across town for the right coloured straws to compliment the perfectly themed napkins? No!”
“Spending weeks agonising over food choices, baking late into the night and wastefully over catering because I’m so worried not everyone will like what I’ve made. It’s not great.”
“I’ve barely slept and yesterday I was yelling at the kids, the dog and anyone else who dared move a muscle once I’d cleaned the house. No one enjoys this.”
“It got so overwhelming this year I missed and entire week of paid work and even dragged hubby out of a meeting because the hire chairs were late and I was having a meltdown (he’s furious).”
“Why do it then?” I wondered and asked.
“It’s the one thing I know I’m good at and people expect me to throw the most amazing parties. What’ll they think if they show up to home delivered pizzas and an ice cream cake?”
And there it was, the awful truth. My friend wasn’t a blissful party queen, she was trapped, miserably trying to out-do herself year in year out and fighting a vicious cycle with her own perfectionism.
When tasks and events become your measure of worth its hard to step back, to simplify to go easy.
You need things done right to feel ok, so the details drive you to over think, over plan and over demand of yourself all in the hope of getting it ‘right’.
Your priorities are distorted because getting things ‘right’ becomes more important than having fun, connecting with others and enjoying the process.
And worst of all that feeling of worth never comes because when your aiming for perfection nothing is ever good enough.
Healthy self-worth doesn’t come from what you do and who you impress by doing it. Healthy self-worth comes from within.
From knowing what matters to you and aligning your actions to honour that.
From knowing your value, how your efforts count and how you make a difference.
From being respected not feared. Satisfied not resentful. Nurturing not demanding.
From valuing your relationships. Believing in others, in yourself and in the power of synergy.
If your feeling overwhelmed and like you can never do enough… if you do everything yourself so you can get things right.. if your so caught up in details that you never feel finished…. if tasks rule your day more than time with people… if house work is your nemesis… I encourage you to stop and reconsider what really matters to YOU.
Start demanding less of yourself. Plan realistically and allow for rest and play.
Do things you enjoy, even if you’re not good at them.
Understand that how hard you work, is not your worth. Challenge your perfectionism.
Ultimately let go and live more.