I have a friend, let’s call her Jen. Jen has always been used to being the best of everything she’s tried. She strives for perfection and always has since her childhood. It’s just her normal.
But lately, that normal just isn’t possible anymore. Life is getting the best of Jen and she feels like a massive failure. Nothing seems to be working out and it’s causing a potential mental breakdown on a daily basis.
The thing is, this isn’t just a problem for Jen. It’s a problem for a lot of us, myself included. We all have our own levels of perfection we strive for. Those develop from years of pushing from family, friends, teachers, society, even ourselves. As we grow, everyone tells us what is right and wrong, what we need to be doing to succeed in life.
When you come to college, life just gets thrown off track. Everything you believed in and grew up thinking was correct gets thrown out of the window. We’re left with the feeling of loss, thinking to ourselves, “well, now what do I do? I had a plan. Why isn’t it working.”
But plans don’t always work out, especially when life takes hold and we no longer are in control of the steering wheel.
I spoke with Jen and had a moment where reality kind of hit me. We can’t keep doing the same things over and over just for the sake of feeling like we’re doing the right thing. Following that code of success we always believed in.
Yes, we may feel the need to keep some crappy job that brings in a pay check every couple of weeks, but also brings us to the brink of insanity. Just because keeping the thing that brings in money seems like the right thing to do, doesn’t mean it is. It is okay to take the time to find a job that gives you what you need while also letting you keep your mental health. We shouldn’t put our own health and happiness at risk. I’m not saying it’s okay to just sit back and bring in unemployment checks because working is too hard for you, because that’s just taking advantage of those around you.
However, it’s okay to take a couple months finding something that makes you happy and keeps you healthy, instead of pushing yourself hourly to keep something that destroys your inner joy.We may always feel like we’re failing, we may struggle daily trying to convince ourselves that things aren’t as horrible as they may seem. We all are our own worst critic and are thrown off when the train we’ve always been on starts taking a different route than what was planned. It may just be one of the worst feelings in the world for those of us that are perfectionists.
Take a deep breath and try your best. Sometimes that is all that you can do. More often than not things work out in the end.