Hi! I’m Dr. Menije.
I know it is cliche to say “been there, done it,” but believe me when I say I talked the talk and walked the walk. Like most of you, my relationship with perfectionism kickstarted in adolescence. It went unnoticed and often welcomed; after all, who would complain of having a teen who gets straight As and doesn’t cause much trouble. I didn’t realize how much my perfectionism would be amplified when I moved to the States two weeks before my 15th birthday. Many years spent fitting in, making friends, figuring out who I am, and being a translator for my parents, my plate just kept getting fuller and fuller. At the time, I was too young to say, “this is too much.” Instead, I said, “I can do it all; I must do it all.” From the outside, it seemed like I had it all together. Being in the states just for three years, I got accepted to UC San Diego. Four years later, I completed my Bachelor’s degree and got a job right away.
The thing about moving across continents in the middle of your adolescence is that you never feel like you catch up. It feels like you are in this marathon, and everybody else got a head start. Somehow you didn’t hear the whistle, and all you can do is keep trying to catch up. You always feel quite a bit behind, never have the equal footing. My perfectionism used this against me. It told me that if I ever want to catch up, I must do more, and I must do it well. I must be the perfect person for everyone everywhere. The untreated perfectionism got worse. It befriended anxiety, self-doubt, and insecurity.
Slowly, I started to get tired of the stories I was telling myself. I was getting tired of doubting myself, feeling anxious in social situations, and playing small. It was tiring to know in my heart that I deserved the love I gave to everyone else but failed to follow through. I started to discover that I have to love myself first. It is not my family’s or my friend’s job. Yes, they are there to support me, but it has to come from me.
I had my real awakening once I read the “Gifts of Imperfection” from one and only Dr. Brene Brown, the queen of all things vulnerability and acceptance. I realized there was a name to what I was suffering from. I was seeking perfectionism because deep down, I thought I wasn’t good enough. Since then, I have read many other books from incredible experts that shed light on my self-criticism and kept me company on my way to self-compassion and self-love. Let me tell you, perfectionism never completely goes away. There have been many new chapters in my life where it thought it could raise its head and be in control, like when I became a mom for the first time. Trying to be a perfect mom was tempting. So I learned that I always have to sharpen my tools and be one step ahead of my perfectionistic urges.
Now, I speak relentlessly on many platforms to share my personal story combined with my professional training to help women break-up with perfectionism. I know one can be a prisoner of their perfectionism. My hope for you is that you turn the judgment to compassion and ultimately live a life where you embrace imperfection rather than striving for perfection.
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Disclaimer: Courses and course material are for educational purposes only, and do not constitute therapy, a therapeutic relationship, medical care, or medical advice.