I’m a perfectionist. Plain and simple. And, although I’ve never been officially diagnosed, I know that I also have minor OCD. Throughout my life the obsessive habits have manifested themselves in a variety of ways: school, acting and modeling, exercise, my eating habits, organization and cleanliness, following a specific schedule and routine, the list goes on…
I let my desire for perfection and success consume me. I wanted nothing more than to please certain people (okay, one person…) in my life and, unfortunately, this person set ridiculously high standards for me. I disregarded my thoughts and feelings and found validation solely from external sources.
For those of us with extreme Type A personalities, there really is no escape. It’s a part of who we are and it’s something we’re forced to live with our entire lives. The key is to manage it in a healthy way.
When I was ‘working’ in the entertainment industry, every day was a mystery. Every audition brought on feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, and fear that I wasn’t going to be good enough. I wanted so badly to be successful so that I could make that certain person proud and I felt like a failure if I didn’t get the part. And you know what? 99% of the time I didn’t. That’s the reality of the business. It seems glamourous on the surface but it can be one of the loneliest careers on the planet. I was under-eating, over-exercising, and pushing myself 24/7 to cope with the fear that constantly lived within me.
The day I got a part-time job at a restaurant was the day that everything changed for me. It gave me an outlet- a place to channel all of my energy and completely forget about everything else. I began to realize that I had never been happy in pursuing a career as an actress and I had only been doing it because I thought I was supposed to. It sounds ridiculous but that’s the honest truth.
I feel like a lot of people can relate to this on some level. Sometimes we become so accustomed to an unhappy reality that we forget what true freedom feels like. We obsess over pleasing the people around us and doing the “right” things which aren’t necessarily the things that bring us joy.
Having an obsessive personality doesn’t have to be a negative thing. It can be managed and dealt with just like anything else. We just have to take an honest look within ourselves and understand where the need for control stems from. Once we do that, the thoughts have no power. We’re able to release them and take the reigns in our lives again. Constantly craving control is not freedom. We shouldn’t fear change and we shouldn’t let the desire for perfection keep us from doing the things that we love.
You have the power and strength to find freedom and happiness. It is within you. You’re not going to find true happiness in a career, a person, or an amount of money…it’s impossible. A “perfect” reality doesn’t exist- it never will- and that’s okay. That’s what makes life beautiful. So embrace the unknown, enjoy the imperfections, find joy in the little things, and- most importantly- find love within yourself.
Here’s to freeing ourselves from the burden of perfection…