I witnessed how people compete for perfection and how some people close to me pressured me to be one. When I was younger it was something that I wished – to gain perfection, to be perfect. I had that thought that if I would be perfect, I would fit in this world. The desire made me put myself into a quest of having a perfect body and a perfect life. I became extreme to myself. I had the thought that I would do whatever just to be perfect. I went through extreme diet and workout which resulted to an eating disorder and distorted body image. Although my intentions were to have a healthy and fit life, I became obsessed with feeling better and being better, until I lost the two. I went to extremes thinking that it would push me harder to perfection, but I didn’t realize that I was not anymore taking care of myself and enjoying life.
I reached the point when I was hit by my own realization about what I was doing. Although I reached the weight I desire, I was exhausted, stressed, unhealthy and miserable because I wanted to be perfect and the worst is, I didn’t know exactly what perfect was for me. Eventually, with self-help and prayers I was able to recognized my mistakes and take action. The destruction brought by aiming perfection in my life took time to be healed, but it is healed in time. I am no longer aiming perfection, but improvements. I work to attain the lifestyle that will make me happy and that won’t create stress in my life. However, like anybody else I also have moments when I lose my track but the difference now is that I don’t pressure or hate myself for those moments.
One thing I do is chasing improvements while putting everything in balance. I used to spend a day in cheat days, but that doesn’t sound healthy for me anymore. There is no cheat days in having a balanced diet, if I want to eat a doughnut I will eat it but with awareness of what nutritional values and health consequences I can get from it. Having a balance in life won’t make me hate myself whenever I choose to skip a workout session to have a quality time with my buddies. Letting go of the idea of perfection and achieving balance in everything, doesn’t give me any unnecessary stress and anxiety. I don’t panic anymore about how many calories I would have in lunch, or how I would look in my clothes. I find having a stress free life more productive and happy.
One of our assets is our imperfections because through these we are able to improve continuously and that’s how life is. Imagine if all of us are perfect, there will be no room for improvements, learning and fun. It’s alright to chase a fit life, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a sin to grab a medium bag of potato chips and a slice of pizza. It’s alright and it’s normal. Let go of the idea of being perfect but engage to a series of improvements one at a time. It doesn’t have to be 100% proper. Tiny improvements are improvements. If you think this way, you will achieve the best version of yourself possible.
Najmah is a Clinical Nutritionist, Med student and Writer. She is the founder of The Muslim Bricks. You can also find her blogging on her blog, By Najmah, where she writes about wellness, personal excellence, and her journey to white coat.