I wonder if Michelle Obama ever struggles with perfectionism.
I mean, when she held one of the most highest seats in the land, as the first African American lady of the United States, did she ever lose sleep over not measuring up? Was she scared to make mistakes? Did she care a little too much about other people’s opinion? Did she look to past first ladies and seek to emulate them?
My guess is that perfectionism, for Michelle, is a battle that is not worthy of her. When you are the first African American first lady, a woman, or woman of color we cannot afford to fight such tiny battles.
When you are making waves and the first anything to dare to do something extraordinary that can change the course of the future, you do not get the luxury of caring what other people think of you. When you are being watched and scrutinized by those who are just waiting for you to slip up just once, proving yourself to this small minded group of people is a futile effort.
So what if we focused on the truth instead? The truth being, maybe perfectionism doesn’t exist.
The yardstick for what constitutes as perfect is literally based on a binary of inferior and superior.
One color is superior than another.
One gender is superior than the other.
Able bodied is superior than a disabled one.
Sexual identity is superior than another.
Success as defined socially is superior than the success you personally define for yourself.
Understand and make no confusion about it: perfectionism is a mental construct that we made up.
And likewise we can dismantle it. We do so by questioning our own mentally constructed standards of superior and inferior. We do so by re-evaluating behavior and thinking that supports oppression of one group and pedestals another. We do so by calling out judgment, bias, and the need to classify something or someone as right or wrong.
We do so by committing to and falling in love with an authentic, uncompromising telling of our own truth as messy or imperfect as it may seem.
So the next time you’re tempted to click on an article on ‘How to Overcome Perfectionism’ or ‘3 Ways Perfectionism is Stopping You’, think twice because honey, that battle is not worthy of you.