Wellness Wednesday Part 1 – Imperfect is the New Perfect

Jumping on the #WellnessWednesday bandwagon after nearly a year of posting them for Elevate Wellness! Every week, one of the things I look forward to is writing these short Instagram posts that give a little glimpse into my life as a college student attempting to live a healthy yet balanced and realistic life. I’ve hit on all kinds of topics: exercise, healthy eating, mindfulness, habit change, sleep, and gratitude to name a few.

For this first Wellness Wednesday blog post, I was inspired by a few things:

  • This article from Building Brave that I read recently and can’t stop thinking about: Imperfection=Perfection. My favorite takeaway quote: “Being a whole person means having flaws and having strengths.” AMEN to that!
  • Be BonaFide, a business I love with a mission I strive towards. They’re all about getting real and embracing every part of yourself and your life, including the imperfections. I’ve briefly written about B/B before here!
  • Soul Scripts, a Christian blog that gets REAL about issues like comparison, body image, friendship, boys, you name it. This post: “An Open Letter from a Recovering Perfectionist” is pure magic and I suggest you read it now!

Now let’s go to the point! Nearly my entire life, I’ve had a severe case of perfectionism. My grades had to be straight A’s, I hated making decisions (big or small) for fear I would make the wrong one, I didn’t know how to relax because I felt like I needed to be productive ALL the time, and even the little things like having stuff on my dresser arranged ~just so~ were important. I think a lot of people relate to some of these tendencies, right?

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If you only knew how long it took me to attempt to make this look artsy… and… still doesn’t. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

When I came to college nearly two years ago now, this picture-perfect framework of a life I had tried to create for myself began to crumble…

  • My family was hit with some health issues and other hardships I had never really faced before. I started to truly understand the saying “Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about” because I was experiencing it from the “battle” side for the first time.

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  • I got behind in some of the prereqs for my major because I had to leave school for half a semester. Panic began to set in: What about my grades? I’m not going to graduate on time! Heck, will I ever graduate at all? Ahh the world is ENDING (Believe it or not, the world was not actually ending.)
  • I struggled to find the ideal balance of school and asocial life, as all college students do. School felt like more than I could keep up with, but I got FOMO looking at Instagram and feeling like all my friends were out having fun all the time while I was studying.
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  • When I started my Good Vibes Better Food Instagram after the school year, I was too embarrassed to tell anyone about it at first. Would people think I was weird for posting pictures of my food and healthy habits? What if I wasn’t clever and funny enough? I was editing my photos like crazy and always changing the captions, trying to find one that was ~just right~ and would get optimal likes.

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    The first friends I ever told about GVBF! And they still liked me after :’)

All this time, I had been following motivational Instagram accounts, doing my daily devotional and gratitude journaling, and even taking a class called “The Ecology of Human Happiness.” All the right things, right? But then it dawned on me that I had just been going through the motions.

As I began my sophomore year, I realized I needed to actually start practicing what I was reading (and preaching through Elevate Wellness). Slowly, I began to let some of my perfectionist tendencies slide.

  • I started finding beauty in character rather than perfection.Take my car for example: it’s been passed down through two siblings before me and has probably seen better days. It may be starting to rust and missing a fancy AUX cord outlet, but at the end of the day, I kind of love the way the engine runs a little louder than it probably should and the comfiness of the worn-in cloth seats.
  • I stopped beating myself up over doing worse than I hoped on exams as long as I had prepared myself the best I could. “Do your best and let God do the rest” became my motto for this. It helped me to learn from my mistakes and figure out how to study better for the next one. Besides, this is college and like 99% of profs curve the class anyway, right?

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  • I started taking social media posts with a (large) grain of salt. What I mean is that, for the most part, people only broadcast the highlights of their lives on Instagram, Facebook, you name it. I’m guilty of this too, but I don’t think the issue lies in what people are posting. The place this becomes problematic is how posts are PERCEIVED on the other side of the screen. A few important things to keep in mind when you’re scrolling through your newsfeed:

1) Maybe it looks like everyone else is doing crazier, funner, or more adventurous things than you do on the weekends. But STOP wasting your energy trying to live their lives vicariously through your phone screen and START using that energy to liven up yours! News flash: no one can possibly having that much fun ALL the time (heck, for all anyone knows they could have just posted that picture from their cage in the stacks of the library).

2) It may have taken 300 tries to capture that cute “candid” pic (hint: see pics below)

3) The girl with the perfect hair, clothes, body, boyfriend, and Instagram aesthetic probably doesn’t look like that all the time. And who knows, maybe she’s looking at your profile and wishing she had your life, too.

  • I stopped obsessing over every bite I put into my body and every movement I made.Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 12.00.21 AM I tried to fight the “Freshman 15” by checking the dining hall’s nutrition website for every meal and pacing around my dorm room like a maniac to hit my Fitbit’s 10,000 steps each day. When I realized that thinking about what my body looked like was causing me nearly as much stress as my school work, I knew something had to change. So the food tracking app when bye-bye, and I started working out for stress RELIEF rather than letting it stress me out if I didn’t work out 5+ days that week or work out hard enough.
  • I started laughing at and brushing off my mistakes. This is the most important one of all and has stuck with me the most to this day. I’ve learned a lot of this through my baking/cooking attempts!

Exhibit A) This banana bread recipe I tried to create for the 4th of July that was crispy on the outside but a gooey mess on the inside. 
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Exhibit B) These breakfast egg cups I tried to make last night – I didn’t spray the pan enough so they all got stuck, plus all the tomatoes sunk to the bottom so I had to flip them upside down to stay assembled!

One thing I’ve been working at is learning from my mistakes rather than being discouraged by them. So what did I do with these less-than-successful cooking attempts? I wrote down both recipes anyway so I can tweak, test, and try them again until I get it right! Both of these recipes may have looked like flops, but they still tasted great (I ate nearly the entire loaf of banana bread and I intend to finish the egg cups very soon), and it’s what’s on the inside that matters, right?! 

Blogs like Be BonaFide, Soul Scripts, and Building Brave have introduced me to this notion of not just accepting, but embracing all of who I am and what my life is. Because in the words of Be BonaFide, “It’s not meant to be perfect.” If you’re looking for some more feel-good, real life, authentic inspiration, check out some of my favorite Instagram accounts: @empowerista, @beautiefullthings, @beauty_redefined, and @proverbs31ministries!

There’s a lot I could add on to this post, but it’s quite long already and I have way too many thoughts on this topic to condense coherently into words. So basically, there are still ideas floating around in my head of what I wanted to say today, but they didn’t quite make it down in writing. But hey, my blog does have to be perfect because imperfection is the hot new thing now, right?

If you liked this post, let me know and I’d love to start doing Wellness Wednesdays more regularly! Happy Humpday and have a great rest of your week 🙂

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