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Show Notes:

Welcome to Hello Rebecca Ray, our collective home for courage, growth, and human to human connection. I’m your host, Dr. Rebecca Ray, human, clinical psychologist, author, and educator. I know only too well how fear, comparison, and self-doubt can stifle your potential. This podcast is all about brave and meaningful living, and how you can make your authentic contribution to the world today, and everyday.

Hi, lovely ones, welcome to episode 68. In this episode, I want to dive into my first book, Be Happy. Be Happy: 35 Powerful Methods for Personal Growth and Well-Being. You know, I was so surprised actually, I was in Sydney just last week. And for those of you that are not aware of the ins and outs of the publishing industry, books don’t have a long shelf life unless you write something that is an absolute best seller and manages to imprint its way in the hearts of your audience and be super helpful for them or super transformative, then you know, the shelves of bookstores, even online retailers are precious in terms of their space. And so if you write a book, then you can’t necessarily expect it to be sold a year or even years later. And so my first book, Be Happy was published, just around the time that I had Bennett actually and Bennett’s just turned four. And so this book is still alive and well would you believe? Which I’m so excited to say. I mean, occasionally someone will share a picture of it on social media. And if you’ve got it, please know that I love seeing my books find homes with you when you share pictures of the covers with you on socials, so please tag me because I bloody love it and I’ll share it in my stories. But I went to Kinokuniya, a, one of my favourite bookstores ever actually in George Street in Sydney, and I went in there and they had a copy of Be Happy. They had copies of all my other books as well, which is so wonderful, but especially be happy because it wasn’t just published yesterday. So really, really grateful.

But I wanted to share with you peace from be happy that I just think is incredibly useful right now, about imperfection. And it’s a topic that I speak on on a regular basis, because I think it’s incredibly important that we continue to remind ourselves that perfection is impossible. But I want to speak to this right now because I think that it’s really important that we dive into it in some depth. So here’s a few pages from Be Happy.

Making space for imperfection. Perfection is a coach with a chip on his shoulder. No matter how hard you work, he sits there blowing his whistle, telling you to do it again. Get it right, make it perfect. He threatens you with embarrassment if you don’t follow orders. Sometimes it promises a break and a nice long rest, as long as you can prove that you make the grade. And by the way, the grade is 100% all the time, with no special consideration clause or exceptions recognised for prior learning. But perfection doesn’t only have demands, it also has a list of performance benchmarks that it will gleefully point out that you’re not meeting. All the ways in which you are not good enough and don’t measure up make a colourful bullet point list. You don’t think perfection will let you get away with thinking that you did it all right, do you? Because you’d be sorely mistaken if you thought that was the case. Perfection is a time waster. It paralyses you through procrastination, self-criticism and fear of failure. Think about all that perfection has robbed you of. Time, money, self-esteem. Definitely energy right. Maybe it’s robbed you of relationships, especially the relationship you have with yourself. And maybe it’s constantly dragged you out of the present moment and kept you in your head. Panicking about all the ways you failed in the past and how you will prevent them from happening in the future. Some people allow perfection to convince them that it has special powers that will help them to reach their potential. They believe that if they stop striving for perfection, the gods of enough will reject them as failures. Perhaps they don’t believe exactly that. But they believe they won’t be the best version of themselves if they lower the bar, as if the only other option is below mediocre.

I don’t know about you. But this just doesn’t fit with what I know to be true. Neither in myself or in my clients, people who are perfectionistic and not motivated by reaching a state of perfection, maybe only about 5% of their striving is about that. The other 95% is about the promises that perfection makes. They are motivated by the fact that perfection promises to have them be the best, to belong to the cool group, and to be stamped with approval as being worthy. In my experience, the rigid and derisive nature of perfectionism doesn’t contribute positively to well-being. In fact, it’s damaging to self-worth. Letting go of perfectionism requires us to change when befriending ourselves is our foundation. The possibilities for growth are wider, richer, and happier. So to make a habit of making space for imperfection, I want you to try these things. Perfectionism myth, here are some ways to find the space for your natural imperfections.

Permission to try. Give yourself permission to try. Without permission, I guarantee that perfection will either burn you out, so you have to stop anyway or have you paralysed on the starting block for a very long time. Take an attitude of progress. Go for progress, go for being part of the process. It’s this attitude that allows you to acknowledge every part of you that is trying. Think of perfection as an illusion. Because that’s what it is. Unless you’re an Android and you’re not right. Ask the hard questions. Has perfection ever brought you the result you were seeking? What promises is perfection making that you know to be false? What is everyone else chasing that you think they have but you don’t? What has perfection convinced you to believe about your own self-worth? That’s the end of this piece from Be Happy, lovely ones. But I’m just going to repeat those questions again, because they’re so incredibly important.

Has perfection ever brought you the result you were seeking? What promises is perfection making that you know to be false? What is everyone else chasing that you think they have but you don’t? What has perfection convinced you to believe about your own self-worth? I hope this piece reminds you of the power of taking action, even when it’s imperfect. Step forward lovely ones. The only way is to start. I believe in you. And I’ll hold this belief while you’re developing it for yourself. I’ll catch you very shortly for the next episode of Hello Rebecca Ray.

Lovely ones. Thank you so much for listening to Hello, Rebecca Ray. If you’ve got something meaningful from this episode, then the most meaningful thing you can do is jump on over to wherever you listen to your podcast episodes and leave a review. Because it’s those reviews that help this podcast stay here. Make sure to subscribe, and if you’re generous enough to share this episode, thank you so much. I love seeing your shares on social media. So please tag me, catch you next time.