“Your life doesn’t have to be perfect to inspire people. The world needs to see you as human, not perfect,” Power of Positivity. I’ve struggled with perfectionism for years, always worried about how people would perceive me. I played the game of trying to be exactly what was expected at all times. Charm the room, be who they want you to be. That may be one of the biggest regrets of my life: being anyone but myself for so many years.
Perfectionism infiltrated my life and made me hard and brittle and bitter in my constant pursuit to be right and to be liked. It tore me down on so many levels. I could no longer relate to people—I genuinely didn’t give off any kind of receptive vibes to anyone. The people I did let in used me for their own gain so I became distrustful of everyone. Then I truly started to buy into the lies I was telling myself and thought that I needed to be perfect at all times. I got angry at people for their lack of attention to everything and for not hearing what I said.
I see now how much of my perfectionism was/is tied to my anxiety. When you’re an anxious person you often feel terrified that people will leave you at the drop of a hat do you become the chameleon with everyone, adopting whatever identity you think they want to see. That messed with my head terribly because as I tried to break the habit of needing to be perfect, I confused what I always did with my true voice so making decisions became agonizing. I’d become paralyzed trying to figure out what to do. There was no identity to claim because I had fragmented so much of myself along the way.
When I had my son I was still in the throes of striving to always be right because THAT was the identity I chose: the woman who knew it all. Anyone with kids will tell you there is NO order to anything anymore. There is no way to know everything especially when you’re learning someone new. It has taken me years to integrate the knowledge that I am not in control and knowing everything isn’t just impossible—it’s a joke.
Children go against every structure we have set up because they are well aware and understand that there is NO real structure to this world. There are patterns, seasons, ebbs and flows, storms and sunshine—but any structure we speak of is man made. That is why it is so painful to children when we can’t stop and play with them or when we make them adhere to any kind of schedule: it isn’t in them. We are given time with these amazing gifts of life and light and we indoctrinate them with the same routine and expectations as early as we can. How tragic. Because children are also the perfect example of needing humanity over perfection. We may feel like we are failing and falling apart and those kids will still come to us like we’re a lighthouse in a stormy sea.
I’m trying to be gentler with myself. The more I let myself get in flow the easier it is to see grace in simply living and to let everything fall away. And the world needs more grace right now. Grace in ownership and reconciling the past. Grace it letting it rest. Grace in acknowledging that it’s time to move on. Grace in welcoming a new foot forward. It’s going to be messy but life is messy and that is where we learn. We learn when we have to build something—and we learn to get stronger when we are authentic. To being authentic enough to let our perfection drop and love the perfection that we are…