Lessons on perfectionism from my pre-school self

Me on the left and my sister on the right

Me on the left and my sister on the right

When I was in preschool my mom brought cake to celebrate my birthday. Most three year olds would probably just get excited seeing pretty candles and then stuff their faces with sweets and call it a day...but I was different. 

My mom told me everyone started to sing “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Le...” and I was not having it. There was this little boy in the corner who wasn’t singing and it threw me all the way off. I tugged on my mom and kept saying “Mom, he is’t singing, he’s supposed to sing!” I just couldn’t understand why he wasn’t singing. Who knows, maybe that boy was finally waking up from a nice nap and was in a bad mood or maybe he just didn’t like singing...but I was disappointed.

I wish I could go back in time and talk to my 3 year old self and say “You’ve got the whole preschool squad supporting you, who cares about this lil boy, eat your cake and enjoy it”

I realized other times in my life, I’ve done really similar things to my own detriment. I let the opinions or actions of few influence tremendously my overall happiness. I ignored my own accomplishments or reasons to be happy because of negative outside influences. 

When you are a people-pleaser, perfectionist, or have a type A personality, flexible thinking can be hard and has to be learned for your own peace of mind. Perfectionists, unknowingly look for criticism and sometimes receive it from the wrong people who aren't being constructive. Perfectionists are hungry for both validation and criticism and this can turn really bad really fast if you let it.

You end up giving too much power to other people to define you, instead of validating yourself and knowing your worth on your own.

If you are seeking validation from EVERYONE, you will not get it, because some people just won’t be rooting for you and that’s okay. If you’re doing your best and a lot of people who love and support you are cheering you on, don’t fixate on the opinions or actions of few.

I say all of this to say, you are not a bad person because someone doesn’t want to cheer you on, when you don't get a promotion, when a boy doesn't love you, or if someone doesn't vibe with you. You never know their reasoning, their insecurities, or their personal struggles that have led them to treat you the way they do and you honestly don't need to, to recognize that you're doing your best and you are not defined by those things. 

You are imperfect, which makes you perfectly human. 

There will be those “little boys” who won’t sing on your birthday, won’t cherish you, or might dislike you for something real or percieved...but guess what? You don’t need to allow that to stop you from growing, loving yourself, and living your best life.

Eat your cake and stop worrying about little boys. 

xoxo Leah T

Leah ThomasComment