Ending the Pursuit of Perfection: Thoughts from One Mom

One mom’s journey to embrace self-love and end the pursuit of perfection.

By Nili Zaharony

Speak to your body in a loving way. It’s the only one you’ve got. It’s your home and it deserves your respect.

I recently joined a Conversation Circle with the HER Health Collective. It was a safe space, a small group of moms, some that I’m close with and other acquaintances and I have to say, the talk got real!


I joined not really knowing what to expect. I didn’t watch the TED Talk in advance (amazing by the way) and signed up mostly for the opportunity to lock myself in my office with a hot cup of coffee while the children ran amok in the living room.


First, I encourage you to spend 15 minutes with Iskra Lawrence on Ending the Pursuit of Perfection.


The conversation, while wonderful, put me in a bit of a funk after which has to do with 35 years of negative self-talk and disbelief that I’m ok as I am.


Aging has helped with that, having children, a daughter that I hope always believes that she is amazing and beautiful just as she is. But sadly society, puberty, and probably some of my own inhibitions, will be forces working against her confidence.


I clearly am still struggling.


Iskra argues that taking a journey of self-love and self-care can change the direction of our lives. It can allow us to turn away from all the negative self-talk that bubbles up when we look at movie stars, models, the media, or even the curated lives presented on our social media feeds.


These false realities condition us to believe that our success depends on how we look.


The detriment to our emotional and physical health as we strive for the unattainable is immeasurable.


If we instead focus on achievements, values, morality – we can challenge the societal ideal of beauty.


How can self-care change this reality that we live in?

The Mirror Challenge

I know the first thing I do when I look in the mirror is to see my insecurities.


The gray hairs, the wrinkles, the discolorations from a lifetime of loving the sun, the jiggly bits.

Iskra challenges us to list 5 things that we love about ourselves (not our looks). So here’s my attempt.


  1. I love my snark
  2. I love my compulsive need to find the silver lining in every situation
  3. I love that I will always do whatever I can to help my family and friends
  4. I love my curiosity about the world and different cultures
  5. I love my empathy


I’m not going to lie, there were negatives that popped up far faster than the positives but even just making this list has me feeling a little lighter.


The next part of the mirror challenge is to list 5 things that we love about our body for what it can do for us. So here goes:


  1. I love the stomach that, despite the jiggly bits, helped me grow two beautiful and healthy children 
  2. I love my hands that have enabled my love of writing and helped me build a successful business. 
  3. I love the strength in my legs that allowed me for years to play soccer, hike, rock climb, and now moonlight as a fitness instructor. They also help me schlep 35lbs of child up the stairs. 
  4. I love my arms that lift my smiling 2-year old out of his crib when he sees me each morning. 
  5. I love my eyes for helping me to see all the beauty in this world but also where I can be helpful.

The Gratitude List

As a teenage girl, you are 12 times more likely to die of an eating disorder than any other illness. There are over 30M in the US alone with an eating disorder.


90% of all children that die from suicide have a mental health condition.


52% of US teens have said they’ve been cyber-bullied.


The statistics are disheartening and a gratitude list may seem shallow, but it’s a simple thing we can do to invest in ourselves.


What are the things that we are thankful for? That makes us fortunate humans? Some of the things on my list are:


  1. I have 2 beautiful children that, for the most part, are melt your heart sweet, funny, kind humans that make me smile every day. 
  2. I have a husband who loves me. 
  3. I was able, despite all of my beliefs otherwise, to buy a beautiful home and provide stability for my family. 
  4. I have friends all over the world that I love dearly and are always just a text message or phone call away. 
  5. I live 5 minutes from my sister, nephews, and mom and the cousins are able to grow up together. 


I want to be clear, my life isn’t all cherry blossoms and rainbows.


Sometimes I want to chuck the children out the window. Sometimes the husband too. 


The financial stress of being a homeowner can be overwhelming. Sometimes being so close to family can be its own challenge. My cat just died. I’m recovering from an injury.


It’s not all good but all these realities (and non-realities for that matter, ahem, social media) are fighting our positive views of ourselves day in and day out. I included the bad so you can see, as I do, the importance of focusing on the positive.


We need to start investing in ourselves.


We need to learn and practice self-care so that we can begin to gift it to others. When we hear someone talking negatively about themselves, we can help them combat it with self-love.

Nili Zaharony
Nili Zaharony

Nili is mom to two children and a blessing on the way.

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