How to be Well and Happy … Not Perfect
To be happy is an innate human desire, slightly different but no less important than food, sleep and shelter. Like a ray of sunshine or the first spring rain, happiness is the nectar that allows your mind and spirit to be nurtured and to grow.
Pick up a copy of Be Happy Without Being Perfect: How to Worry Less and Enjoy Life More to take back control of your life … in a very, very good way.
For some, though, the quest for happiness becomes a mission toward perfectionism — a journey that pushes them to eternally higher standards — and thereby becomes their own undoing.
It’s Probably Impossible to be Perfect and Happy
Do you strive to be the best you can be, to the point that you will struggle to complete a task, lest it be imperfect? Do you find it difficult to keep up with your work assignments or personal obligations because each new task must outdo the one before?
Do you hold yourself to self-imposed standards of achievement, and scold yourself if you come up short? Do you feel you have failed if someone is better at something than you?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s likely that perfectionism may be having an impact on your life. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with striving to be your best, perfectionists suffer because their “best” never gets reached. They are constantly pushing to be better, to be perfect, and in so doing never really feel they have succeeded because, of course, no one is perfect.
In their struggle for perfection, perfectionists even have a higher risk of postpartum depression, anxiety disorders, low self-esteem, and eating disorders, which signals the immense toll that unrealistic expectations can have on your life.
As Irish novelist and poet James Stephens said:
“Finality is death. Perfection is finality.
Nothing is perfect. There are lumps in it.”
This is why, on your road to wellness, your first stop along the way should be to dump your desire for perfection at the curb. Letting go of the desire to be perfect will free you to feel the happiness you crave.
This is also the premise behind the book Be Happy Without Being Perfect: How to Worry Less and Enjoy Life More. Written by psychologist and Harvard Medical School assistant professor Alice Domar, it’s an excellent guide for helping anyone, but especially women, to develop more reasonable and attainable expectations for all the important areas of their life, from career to relationships and even your body.
As iVillage Health recently shared, Dr. Domar’s book has a surefire plan for helping you to throw caution to the wind and live a carefree, imperfect, and more importantly, happy life.
Top 11 Tips for Finding Your Happiness
Regular exercise, healthy eating and a form of relaxation will help you to bounce back from stress-filled days.
11. Be Forgiving: It’s important to forgive your friends and loved ones, yes, but here we’re mainly referring to the forgiveness you need to give to yourself! You’re human and you’re entitled to make mistakes, so don’t be so hard on yourself.
10. Be Realistic: It’s great to set goals and standards for yourself, but make sure they’re attainable. For instance, if you need to lose weight, resolve to lose one pound a week, not 10.
09. Live Healthy: Rather than obsessing over the number on your scale, forget about your weight and focus instead on exercising regularly and eating foods that will nourish your body. We recommend integrating “me time” into your daily life too, such as taking time out to exercise both your mind and your body to feel empowered and ready to conquer your day.
08. Decide What’s Most Important to You, then center your life around those items (this probably means cutting out other activities to make room for those that count the most).
07. Delegate. If you can’t figure out how to do it on autopilot, think about who might be able to complete certain tasks that you do now. Then delegate everything and anything you can. This includes sharing housework, caring for the kiddos and cooking with your spouse.
06. Keep Your Home Clean, Not Spotless. A clean home is important, but it shouldn’t keep you up at night if you’re a day overdue to vacuum.
Adequate “me time” is an essential part of being happy. And don’t you dare feel guilty for taking it!
5. Learn to Say No. This is not selfish: it’s about survival … and living your life the way YOU want to.
4. Make Your Work Schedule Work for You: As much as possible, see clients in one geographic area on the same day of the week or schedule presentations for the time of day when you’re most alert. You can also set aside an hour or two for returning phone calls and voice mails, and time for a closed-door policy that allows you to concentrate.
3. Parent Positively: Let your kids know that you’re proud of them and highlight their achievements rather than their failures. Also, as you celebrate your child’s strengths, accept them as they are – including their weaknesses.
2. Think Only Positive Thoughts About Yourself, Your Life and Your Value for Others. If negative thoughts enter your mind, stop them, let them go, and instead allow yourself to feel good. “Replace negative with positive thinking. Focus on the positive actions and desired outcomes instead of listening to demoralizing, demeaning self-talk or negative chatter.”
If you wouldn’t think it about your own best friend, then don’t allow your mind to think it about yourself!
Practicing daily affirmations after you wake up, before bed or anytime during the day can also help you focus your thoughts to only on the bright side. When you feel stressed out, affirmations can also help you to relax, calm your mind, soothe your emotions and create a state of deep relaxation in your body.
1. Just Breathe. It takes just seconds of taking slow deep breaths to experience the benefits. A very simple form of meditation, deep breathing has calming effects and is especially during stressful situations (a few deep breaths may very well stop you from saying the wrong thing you could well regret).
How to Celebrate Your Personal Beauty With Inner-Confidence
As you let go of perfectionism in all aspects of your life, don’t forget to surround your body with thoughts of acceptance and love.
Realizing your greatest wealth, health and happiness “is easy, by doing what matters vs. neglect” says Jim Rohn. Learn to live in the moment as then “its easy” to do what’s important.
“If you will change… everything will change for you.”
Help your mind to slow down by appreciating every moment as it comes, even if you’re doing something you’d rather not be doing. By living in the moment, you only think about what’s going on right now, not what you’ll be doing in 10 minutes or what needs to get done by 5:00. By living in the moment, you get to experience life as it happens … not miss it while you’re worrying about what else needs to get done.
Work harder on yourself than on anything else.
If this article has been helpful and inspiring, I encourage you to share it to help and inspire others. By forwarding this article you’re helping share your mutual values teaching life-skills that loved ones can use.
iVillage.com Be Happy, Not Perfect