Chasing perfection


The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

-Robert Frost

These are my favorite lines from Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. I think of these wordings whenever I need a motivational boost or am lacking energy. Ever since I was a kid, I wished to be perfect at whatever I did. Every situation was “all or nothing” for me. This also created a false idea of perfection in my mind. I didn’t know where to stop. My efforts always felt incomplete and the final result was never satisfactory to my critical mind. What could have been a decent attempt was considered absolute trash by my mind. I never applauded myself on the journey and severely criticized for not achieving a “perfect result”.

It took a lot of time for me to realize that these were caused due to my low self esteem issues. I had absolutely no confidence in myself. My mind set unnaturally high standards for all aspects of my life in order to achieve a fair sense of self worth. Needless to say, I was never able to live up to my mind’s expectations and ending up wallowing in self pity most of my childhood and teenage years.

I’m glad that I eventually got past this phase. It took a long time and continued effort in healing my inner child to begin loving my existence on this planet. How did I do it? Rome wasn’t built in a day, I brought these little changes in my life and consistently applied it on a daily basis. I had given up at the time I started doing it and didn’t mind trying anything new without expecting a favorable result.

  • I paid attention to my negative self talk : I realized that I dealt with a level of criticism and hate towards my own self that I wouldn’t even subject my enemies to. I have always been patient towards my friends, family or even a stranger when they commit mistakes or do something wrong unintentionally. But when it came to me, my mind never spared a chance to make me realize how my existence was futile on this planet. Once, I understood my negative self talk pattern, it was easier to find a way to deal with it.
  • I started appreciating myself : You know the little pat on the back we used to get from our teachers or parents during school days on doing something right, I mentally pat my back on completing any task (big or small). What felt ridiculous in the beginning somehow became a thing I looked forward to each time I felt like I did something right. We don’t have to wait for the big achievements to celebrate our efforts. Every small effort is important in building our personality and growth in life. These efforts deserve an appreciation and I didn’t shy myself from giving it.
  • Attempted difficult tasks : There were few things in life which I considered absolutely impossible to attempt. Once I started appreciating myself on the small wins, I developed enough confidence to attempt few difficult tasks in life. My weight loss journey was one such task. I tried to disassociate myself from the result and celebrated every small milestone on the way. This was a revolutionary attempt as it ended up changing my life. Since I attempted (and ending up being successful at) a task that I considered absolutely impossible, my self confidence and esteem got a great boost. It made me the motivation to achieve such tasks in future. My inner child slowly became proud of myself.

Life is unpredictable and we unnecessarily tend to beat ourselves down for no reason. I’ve learnt to be more compassionate and give myself second chances whenever I need it. Let’s try to be the reason of our confidence instead of cause of it’s destruction.