freedom from fear

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.

1184eaeb50b7d34a55d5433f2745a3fdFor 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.

PeaceThe 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.

f843f88d0db582971afbef2b75846ebfYou 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…

-Emily

13 comments
  1. Ellie said:

    I think sometimes people get stuck. They live a life to survive and not to thrive. It’s a vicious cycle because 1.) they’ve been in it for so long and 2.) since the decline was slow and steady, they do not know they are in it. It’s hard to live in a different mindset if the one you currently have is the only one you know. Unfortunately, most people must crash and burn before they realize they need to make a change or think differently. It’s really special when someone can snap out of their misery on their own and change their lifestyle and increase their happiness 🙂

  2. Beth said:

    You described my personality/life to a Tee! I wish I could let it go….but the “control” holds me firmly stuck. Ellie’s post also describes me to a Tee. You ladies are so young to be so wise! I’m old enough to be your momma and I haven’t been able to embrace your wisdom yet!

    • Beth said:

      I suffer from an eating disorder as a result. 😦

  3. Lisa said:

    Love this Emily!
    I definitely struggle with the perfectionism as well. It’s on trait I wish I could change about myself, but there’s so many positives about being a type A as well, we just need to overcome those fears and bad traits and not let them rule our lives.
    You also describe my thoughts exactly!

  4. I struggle with perfectionism all too often and it definitely manifested in my eating disorder and need for control over something, especially at times where I feel like everything else is out of my control. But having that control made me more miserable. We have to accept that happiness won’t come from perfection, and instead look for happiness within ourselves.

  5. P said:

    I love this post, and am so glad that you are feeling better about freeing yourself from that “burden” of perfectionism. I used to be such a perfectionist when it came to grades, that I forgot what the purpose of taking classes was: to learn! College was such a humbling turning point for me, and while grades are still important to me, getting straight A’s was never going to be a reality like it was in high school, and I’m (mostly) okay with that 😉

  6. Yes!!! I’m a perfectionist, people pleaser, as well, so sometimes it’s hard to just let go and do what feels right for me. I’m glad that you were able to free yourself from your fears!

  7. I am a perfectionist too. I’ve been told so many times but never believed it til the last two years of college. Your words are like mine and this was much necessary reading! Gives me a new perspective. Annnnd I hope you’re having a great weekend!

  8. Heather said:

    Thank you, your post links back to something I realised the other day; that in life we should be fuelled not by a fear of failure but by a desire for happiness, something my own perfectionist tendencies make me forget too often.

  9. Girl I absolutely love this post! I think everything has to be prefect about my life. I worry and stress about every little thing. I want my mind to be free from these obsessive perfectionists thoughts.

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