Struggling with Perfectionism

Whenever someone asks me about my year in Spain, instead of saying it was great, that it was life changing, that it was an opportunity that I’m so grateful for and I’m excited to be going back, my first answer is that it was really, really challenging and difficult and eventually go on to talk about how many mistakes I made and how upset I am that I did not do a better job.

What I’ve realized is that one of the reasons why I’m so hard on myself is that even though when I made the decision to move to Spain I knew that I was breaking away from the traditional career path after I had already gotten my foot in the door, I feel as though because I had such a difficult year it almost validates this idea that I made the “wrong decision.”

After seeking encouragement from a senior in faith, I realized what an error I was committing on my part for thinking this way. She pointed out that just because we have an experience that doesn’t go perfectly, the fact that it is something from which we can learn and grow and further accomplish our human revolution, means that it was a right decision.

As a perfectionist, I want to do everything “right.” But now I am beginning to question my standards of what is “right.” Education is my mission, and while I don’t necessarily see teaching English as my end goal, right now my mission is in Spain. I recognized that while I was in my school last year where I was able to tangibly make a difference in the lives of my students despite that fact that I was “only teaching English.”

And yet this sense of responsibility and borderline regret for breaking away from what we know as the “typical” path to follow still lingers.

This past year, if you haven’t been able to tell from my blog posts, haha, I have been so very caught up in my mind.  Very much so. To the point where I was eager to escape it myself. The mind is a very powerful, powerful thing, and it can easily take control if you allow it to. And that is what has happened pretty much every day up until two days ago for me, when I was just fed up. I was tired of being stuck in the rut that I couldn’t get myself out of, as it was putting a strain on my health and on my relationship.

I have many big decisions to make this upcoming year. But I have to realize that I can’t make them yet. And what I also have to realize is that I need to take off my head and set it aside for a while, and just tune in to what my heart is telling me. I have always been great at strategics, but the beauty of life and the fortune that I have to earnestly pursue what is calling me, would be thrown to the wayside if I tried to strategically plan out every aspect of my life.

Fear is a very present factor in everybody’s life, if you allow it to be. While there are those who may be able to conquer it easily, it is still a battle that I continue to fight on a daily basis. That is why I have my practice and that is why I continue to try to strengthen my faith. The important thing is that I never stop growing, that I never reach a point of arrogance where I say, “Well, here I am, that’s as far as I’m going. I’m pretty much perfect now.”

As I re-embark on this journey of living abroad for a second year, I go in wiser than last year, though not in the way that I had expected! I go in with major determinations: to learn to listen to my heart rather than be defeated by my mind, to live rather than strategize, to remember who I am always and not be swayed by my external circumstances, to contribute my light in order to help banish the darkness from society, and to always, always, always stay true to myself first and foremost. If my heart tells me that Spain is right for me for a second year, than it is, no matter what other people may deem is “the right choice.” My heart makes my right choices for me.

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