Debunking our Obsession with the Perfect Life

Amanda Hunter

Amanda Hunter

Can we have it all? And what does having it all actually mean? What is the definition of having it all? Our own individual interpretation will be different to the societal definition.
What is the purpose of your life?
 
Could the response really be as simple as “to live my life?!” Because maybe when we stop worrying about everything around us as actually just live in the present, we begin to feel and understand our purpose.
 
Most of us live in the when, then frame of mind. By this I mean ‘when I land that job or when I get the promotion, then I will be happy’. Living in this frame of mind allows us to be influenced by externalities, which determine whether we are truly living.
 
“When xyz, then I’ll feel successful…”
 
See how that sounds? You know what happens – when we land the dream job or get the promotion, we’re still not happy! There will always be a new hurdle to overcome.
 
Instead, by living in the now, we begin to realise that we don’t have to do it all!
 
What we need to do is step outside our comfort zone. You know the one – that little box in which we feel comfortable and safe. Our comfort zone is familiar and where we have a sense of control. Interestingly though, the control we feel we have is merely an illusion that our ego lets us think we have. We have choice but not control.
We need to bust out of our comfort zone to learn who we really are!
 
Our lives are based on a belief system which we’ve created – usually from an early age. It becomes the story we tell ourselves and develops into the compensatory strategy that we create in order to make-up for what we think we’re lacking. As humans there are circumstances in our life which lead us to develop core misunderstandings and create negative self-talk.
It could be that we don’t think we’re good enough; we’re not worthy or lovable. We could fear there is something wrong with us or think it’s not worth the risk to think big and simply sell ourselves short.
 
Deep down we know this self-talk isn’t true but there is still a small part of us that fears it could be.
 
In turn, this becomes part of our story and drives our definition of who we are. Most of us have lost touch with our true selves because we are so driven by our compensatory strategies. We don’t need to prove anything to anyone!
 
The compensatory strategy creates an identity around something else that you feel is achievable. Something that you can control and make occur. You become addicted to it and hang on to that other thing.
 
For me, it was the feeling of needing to be successful and the desire to ‘be the best’ at whatever I tasked myself to.
My studies – if I received anything less than an A in school, I would be disappointed.
Athletics – I had to be the fastest or jump the furthest.
Dancing – I would be disappointed if I didn’t win – if I came second, I felt I had let myself and everyone around me down.
 
I held myself to ridiculous standards in anyone’s language. I wanted to have it all!
 
I was (and still am but I’m working on it) – an overachiever. I was addicted to achieving. I believed that ‘if I achieve this, then I will prove myself as worthy’.
 
The thing is though, insecurities will follow you wherever you go.
 
We always feel we need to be somebody to prove to the world that we are worthy. We only feel this way because we’re not connected to ourselves.
 
Even when you have it all (or so it would appear), you won’t feel any better about yourself. You could have the perfect job, the nice possessions, be the perfect dress size and still not be happy.
 
That’s because you’re basing it on external influence (having it all), rather than focusing internally and being it all. If we cling to external factors for security and control, it can be stripped away in an instant and we’re left with nothing.
 
We have two voices inside of us. The voice of the ego and the voice of the authentic self.

The voice of the ego is all in our head. It is about ‘protecting’ you from what others may think or say about you. It will ‘keep you safe’ by stopping you from taking risks…but in fact, it restricts you. When you take a leap of faith, your ego will look for anything it can to grab onto to stop the fall and pull you up short.
 
Your authentic self is a voice of love and expansiveness. It comes from the heart and allows you to be vulnerable. It allows you to honour yourself and be true. Your authentic self will remind you to stop trying to be perfect and not worry what other people think. It’s both impossible and exhausting, so don’t be concerned with pleasing the world.
 
Remember who you are! You already know how to love yourself, it’s a matter of just remembering it.
 
Ask yourself these couple of questions…
Who am I?
What do I want?
How do I get it?
 
Who we are so often becomes a list of roles – this is what we do, not who we are. For example, I’m a coach or teacher, I’m a mother, I’m a carer. Sure, these are things that I do but it doesn’t define who I am!
 
As a culture we have become obsessed with what we do. Whenever you meet someone new, what’s typically the first questions that arises in the conversation? It’s almost certainly – ‘what do you do?’ Why should my occupation define who I am! Why don’t we ever ask anyone ‘what inspires you’ or ‘what brings you joy’?
 
Defining ourselves by external parameters creates a shaky foundation for who we are.
 
To figure the answer to ‘who am I’, think about something you love to do. Something where time stops whilst you are immersed in the activity. What are the qualities that you exert during this instance?
 
For example, I love hiking in nature – it’s one of the times I feel I am content with just being. Whilst I’m doing that activity, I am calm. I am grounded yet driven. I’m at peace and centred. I am curious. I feel connected with mother earth and those around me. I am free.
 
We get so caught up in the form of what we do (such as our title) rather than focusing on the essence of it all and the qualities that make us who we are. Instead, all we need to do is show up, learn, grow and do the things we love, and the form will take its own place.
 
Stop being driven by results and achievement, and instead follow our purpose. When it comes to making decisions in life, stop obsessing over whether you made the right choice. It takes you away from the present moment.
 
Instead, simply choose. Then move forward with your life and wait for feedback.
 
Don’t obsess and over analyse it! Don’t get stuck through fear of the wrong choice. Otherwise you’ll end up sitting in limbo.
 
Courage is all about feeling fear and moving forward anyway. Don’t let fear stop you from making a decision, just choose. And if something no longer serves you, don’t stay with it because of how you’ll be perceived by others if you choose differently. They don’t have to live your life, but you do.
 
Stop people pleasing!
 
Self-honour is one of the greatest things you can have. Other people’s feelings are not your responsibility. We need to be in love with ourselves and honour ourselves. We activate change in someone else through honouring ourselves and being the best example we can.
Others will want to follow.
 
Don’t be too vested in other people’s issues, worry about the past, or obsess about future. Having a busy mind takes away your precious mental capacity to be inspired or intuitive. When we allow our mind to be calm and still, we become more open and aware of the possibilities around us.
 
Be present, choose and trust ourselves. Be self-honouring.
 
Know that when things don’t go to plan or we are faced with adversity, we are on the brink of a huge transformation! This is often the point where people pull away. The ego steps in and tries to course-correct. Don’t see the situation through the eyes of the victim, otherwise you won’t grow. You’ll instead find the same block appearing repeatedly in different forms. Lean into adversity head on.
 
When we experience a difference between our expectation and our reality, we think in terms of the world happening ‘to me’. Be a student of your life rather than a victim and understand why something is happening ‘for you, rather than ‘to you. Ask ‘what am I learning from this?
 
We need to stop comparing ourselves to other people. Social media has created this society in which we are all comparing ourselves to others and obsessing that our lives don’t look like that. Know there is no one way to do something. Don’t copy others – follow your own inner guidance instead.
 
As humans, we spend much of our life avoiding what we don’t want rather than going after what we do want.
 
If you want a life full of abundance but are afraid of rejection, you’re only partially putting yourself out there instead of going all in. You’re spending your time avoiding the rejection which is taking you away from what you should be doing and feeling.
 
It becomes a different energy – moving away (pushing energy) compared with moving toward (pulling) toward what we truly want. If it all seems too overwhelming, know you only need to take one step. Then another step. Then another. This way there is no intense feeling of overwhelm (or desire to throw it all in) through focusing on the seemingly unobtainable goal. Be open to understanding what’s the next step that is most aligned with your path and have the courage to take it.
 
Live life with high involvement and intention, and with low attachment.

Don’t attach to your sense of worth and well-being to a result. When your identity depends upon a result, you are not living in the present moment.
 
Examine your story and understand your limiting beliefs. As mentioned earlier, the story you create is usually not true, but instinctively, people move and act from that misplaced belief.
 
How has that old story served you?
 
Remember that everything that has happened, has happened for us and through us (not to us!).
 
Drop your story to move out of fear and into love. Move from your heart and allow yourself to be pulled, not pushed. Step into the qualities of who we are. We have a unique expression that makes us all individuals. When moving from this place, it allows us to honour and respect ourselves. The form in which we go about life will take care of itself.
 
Life is a journey. Be aware of your limiting beliefs and avoidance traps. Reflect on how these impact in your life. Be able to change in the moment and break patterns to respond differently. Responding differently rewires our neural pathways and enables growth.
 
Being your all is a process not an event.
 
Live your life and you will inspire others and change the world in the process.
 
So, how are you living?

Amanda xx

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