Lifestyle · Spirituality

Perfectionism: A Silent Killer of Dreams

In my first blog post I made a joke that “I have a tendency to not make any move in any direction until I’m 250% sure that everything is perfect”. It was, of course, a little bit of an exaggeration, but only a little bit.

One of the things my father use to say to me when I was growing up is, “only the best is good enough”. Typically, this mini lecture followed the arrival of a report card with one too many B’s on it. I understand now what his intentions were. He simply wanted me to do my best and he probably felt that I could’ve done better. And frankly, I could’ve done better. However, after a while those words seeped into my sub-conscious and over time slowly transformed me into a perfectionist…to a degree. My perfectionism extended only to those things that I would have to present to others for critique or approval. When it came to things like my hairstyle, makeup or fashion choices, good enough was good enough.

When I was thirteen years old I decided I wanted to be a writer, at sixteen, an actor, at eighteen, a rock star and by twenty-two I wanted it all! I’m a dreamer, I always have been. But my dreams would always seem to crumble whenever I got to the point of presenting myself, and what I had to offer, to the world. I would stop myself at the moment just before the presentation and I’d pick it all apart and rip it to shreds, because I would tell myself, “only the best is good enough and this isn’t the best so therefore it’s just not good enough”. I did this over and over again. Systematically destroying my own dreams because I strived to reach an unrealistic goal of perfection that could not be reached in a million years. I ended up leaving a lot of my dreams by the wayside, deciding finally that I just didn’t have what it took to be “the best” at that particular thing and opting to save myself the trouble and the shame of being criticized for my laughable attempts to get it right. I was pretty tough on myself.

Many things changed after I met my boyfriend almost eight years ago. At the time I was back home, living in my father’s basement. I hadn’t had a job in over a year and my pride felt damaged beyond repair. I’d given up on every dream I’d ever had before ever really trying to achieve them. A couple of months after we’d started dating, my boyfriend gave me some advice that actually stemmed from his frustrations about my obvious disinterest in trying to do anything; my general disinterest in life. He told me, “You have to start somewhere and build from there”. It sounds so simple, right? But I’d never thought of it. Maybe that’s because I hadn’t wanted to think of it, but I didn’t want to lose the relationship we were building. That was my prime motivator at the time. So I decided to change a few things, starting with my way of thinking. I stopped waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect job, the perfect time of day, whatever the case might’ve been. I took on a “do it now” and a “do it anyway” approach to everything.

Within two months I was working again, as a cashier at Kmart. It wasn’t my dream job, but it was a job, after a year and a half without one. Within a year I’d enrolled in a Dental Assistant certification program. Again, this wasn’t my dream but I kept my boyfriend’s words in mind, eventually taking them and turning them into other words that resonated even more with me: “This is one step along the journey” and “I’m building a foundation for my dreams to stand on”.

It’s now almost eight years later. I’m running a small business and I’m writing again, with plans of publishing my first novel within a year. I stopped waiting for the perfect moment and although I still struggle with my need for perfection, it doesn’t stop me from trying, it doesn’t stop me from presenting to the world what I desire to. I do it every day now. Every time I ship an order out to a customer, there is this inner struggle about whether or not it’s good enough, if it’s the best. But I put my heart into the work—any work I do—and just trust that it’s good enough. So far, so good.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to do your best. That’s great! That’s the way it should be. However, it’s important to recognize the difference between wanting to do your best and wanting to be perfect. Perfection, in most cases, is practically impossible and highly improbable. If you keep waiting for the “perfect” time, the “perfect” moment or the “perfect” person, you’ll very likely be waiting forever. So just do it now! Do it anyway! You might very well be happier for it. Take care!

❤️Trace the Wolf Spirit❤️

Lifestyle · Spirituality

Life: Are We Doing It Wrong?

Am I doing it wrong? I’ve asked myself this question countless times in the past. I don’t do that very often anymore. These days, when I do ask myself this question, it’s more about whether or not I’m sticking to the plans I’ve made, relative to reaching the goals I’ve set for myself. It’s asked in the spirit of brainstorming and strategizing, as oppose to worrying if I’m making the right decisions for my life.

We can spend our whole lives questioning and second-guessing ourselves and our choices, but frankly, that’s just a waste of time and a waste of a life. I’ve spent a whole decade thinking about all the things I did “wrong” in the decade prior; all the choices I made that led to chaos, and those that led to insurmountable brick walls. I wasted so much time beating myself up because my life hadn’t taken the course I’d originally plotted, and putting myself down because of the choices I’d made. Then a few years ago, I suddenly realized what I was doing and how it was negatively affecting me in the present moment. Most importantly, I realized how misguided my self-criticism had been. Because, over time I’d started to separate myself from my past experiences. And before long I’d become a stranger on the outside of my own life, looking in, and being a judgmental little jerk. I had to remind myself of all the reasons why I did the things I did, why I made the choices I’d made. And in doing so I was reminded that almost every choice was made after careful consideration and was in fact the best decision, for me, in that moment. This was true for almost all the things about which I’d been criticizing myself. For every job, project, friendship or relationship I’d ever walked away from, there was a very good reason for doing so. I’d weighed the pros and cons and had decided what was the best course of action for me at the time.

What I needed to do was accept that, for better or worse, this is where my choices have led me. In order to ensure my own happiness and peace of mind, I had to reconcile with that and try to build a meaningful life from that point onward; using my past mistakes as a guide. And that’s precisely what I’m doing now.

So, are we doing it wrong? The easy answer is: No, wrong or right is relative. The not-so-easy answer is: Yes…and no. Yes, because sometimes we make mistakes and those mistakes frequently make things difficult for ourselves and others as well. But no, because for the most part, I believe we make our decisions based on what we know; the information we are given or have acquired on our own, and the tools and resources we have on hand at the time. That’s what it means to survive!

The fact of the matter is we’re human, we can’t know everything. And for that reason we will undoubtedly make mistakes. Lots of them! Things won’t always go the way we’d like or the way we’ve planned, but when we do the absolute best that we can with the resources that are available to us, that is when we’re doing it “right”. Take care!

❤️ Trace the Wolf Spirit ❤️

Lifestyle · Spirituality

Welcome!

I’m Tracey-Ann. For well over a year now I’ve felt an overwhelming urge and have been wholly inspired to start a blog. I wasn’t entirely sure about what I wanted to blog, but I just felt that it was something I must do. So, as it is my custom to do, I’ve spent the better part of a year researching the how’s and the why’s of blogging, the best and the worst platforms, the best and the worst content, etc., etc., etc…I have a tendency to not make any move in any direction until I’m 250% sure that everything is perfect. Which of course is ridiculous because things are never perfect, right? Right! So, what I eventually had to do was schedule the starting of this blog. I had to write it down in my planner, set a date, make a commitment and shake on it( yes, I shook my own hand). And here we are!

So, what’s my blog about? Well, a little bit of everything really. But mostly I’ll be posting about things that are seemingly unimportant, often overlooked but in my opinion, very necessary, nay essential parts of being human and navigating our human world. I’ll share my experiences and give my advice through the lens of those experiences. I’ll share with you the things that inspire, motivate and drive me. I’ll also share my favorite bread recipe(because…why not?)

The road to this point in my journey has been winding and often bumpy as I’m sure it has been for many of you. Although it is my belief that some bumps and bruises serve to strengthen one’s character, there are some that serve no purpose whatsoever and in fact just hurts like hell. One of the things I aim to do with this blog, is provide a road map of my journey, in hopes that whoever happens upon this map will avoid some of the bumps and bruises and also experience some of the many moments of joy and peace I’ve felt over the years.

So, welcome to my blog, How To Human. I hope you’ll find some answers here or, at the very least, something to make you smile. Take care!

❤️ Trace the Wolf Spirit ❤️