Throw Everything Out There

[3-Minute Read + Audio] Perfectionism is a solution the mind offers up when it fears a lack of control but Rebecca Gisborne has found an escape route.

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I’m escaping the grip of perfectionism

Perfectionism is a solution the mind offers up when it fears a lack of control but Rebecca Gisborne has found an escape route.

Listen to Audio Version – I’m Escaping the Grip of Perfectionism
Source: Rebecca Rose Reviews

A rose on the sea of sameness

I don’t remember how I first discovered Rebecca Gisborne’s Instagram page, Rebecca Rose Reviews. I remember feeling instant joy when I saw Rebecca’s rose-red hair and bold style, which set her apart in a sea of Instagram sameness.

Rebecca is a 33-year-old, Perth-based writer and model. I wanted to interview her for Inside A Bold Mind because I’m curious about why she moves through the world with such a unique beat.

When I picked up the phone to call Rebecca a few weeks ago, the conversation moved in a direction I hadn’t predicted.

Rebecca’s battle for boundaries

Early in our conversation, Rebecca shared the parable of The Elephant’s Rope.

In the story, a trainer conditions a young elephant to believe it has no power.

From birth, its trainer ties it to a post with a heavy rope. The young elephant tries to break free, but eventually, the rope breaks its spirit, and the elephant gives up.

From that point on, the trainer can restrain the mighty elephant simply by tying a string to its leg. The elephant would only have to slightly tug to gain its freedom, but it doesn’t.

Rebecca used the story to help me understand the first two decades of her life.

From a young age, another person had controlled her every move and decision.

The removal of personal boundaries is a common tactic applied by abusive people.

Personal boundaries are a line of demarcation between you and the rest of the world. They create a safe space for your self-esteem and identity to grow.

Abusive people erode personal boundaries through consistent criticism, intimidation, and gaslighting – a bundle of behaviours referred to as coercive control.

Eventually, the person subjected to coercive control reaches the same point as the broken-spirited elephant. The abuser can then dictate the boundaries within which the other person lives.

They dictate clothing, conversations, friends, life choices – every fine detail of the other person’s life.

Photo Source: Rebecca Rose Reviews

For children, coercive control is particularly damaging because they never develop their own identity.

When Rebecca reached her teens, she noticed her life wasn’t like that of her friends. They had greater freedom, while Rebecca’s life became increasingly restricted.

Discipline became Rebecca’s go-to coping mechanism.

She created a sense of personal space and power by establishing tight routines within the boundaries set for her.

One of those routines centred on selecting, preparing, and consuming food.

The rise of Rebecca Rose

In Rebecca’s words

The boldly-coloured, confident woman that caught my attention on Instagram is stronger than I had ever imagined.

“In the last 12 months, my proudest achievement is finishing treatment for my eating disorder. It was unbelievably scary and required much bravery, resilience, and fortitude.

My eating disorder was a very complex, negative coping mechanism. During treatment, I had to face things head-on without being able to use that mechanism. Over time I discovered that I could have control of my life and personal power.

As I reached my 20s, I intellectually knew I had physical freedom from the controller, but I didn’t understand that emotionally. My brain was stuck in fight or flight mode and misinterpreted threats.

In recent years I have started testing my boundaries and going beyond what is comfortable. I tried making big changes, but that caused more fear. It works better for me to take small actions, and it’s heightened my tolerance for discomfort.

Learning about my personal boundaries has been instrumental in me gaining confidence. My sense of self-worth is growing as I understand what’s acceptable in friendships, romantic relationships, and business relationships.

I’ve learned that part of being in control in life is recognising just how out of control everything is. I was trying to mitigate trauma and dire circumstances through more control.

Recently, I read a book that said the most successful people in life cope with trauma by being adaptable and flexible. Ironically, you have more control when you’re relaxed and versatile because you feel centred and can release the need for control.

I don’t have any fixed goals right now because the possibilities are endless. I love creating and being creative, and I don’t want to put a limit on that.

When I was younger, I considered a career as a journalist but didn’t want to work at a newspaper. Then I contemplated writing a book but thought my life was too boring for people to pay to read.

However, I’ve realised writing was much more than journalism or penning an entire novel, and I’ve woven it into everything I do.

I used to put limitations on what I could do, but now I want to explore and open up to my true capability. Maybe I’ll write storylines, tell stories through video or writing, and express my creativity using different methods.

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese worldview that embraces the beauty of imperfection and transience. Right now, I’m learning how to fail, to move beyond my perfectionism and throwing everything out there.”

Discover more about your bold mind every Monday

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