My Struggle With Perfectionism
“But I am learning that perfection isn’t what matters. In fact, it’s the very thing that can destroy you if you let it.”
That’s a truth that I struggled to grasp for long time.
Of course I knew that my mom, my dad, my brother and sister, my closest friends, my boyfriend… they all loved me. But for some reason that was never enough. I had to be loved, admired, respected, and envied. I had to be the smartest. The bravest. The prettiest. The savviest. I had to be top-notch, 100%, and number one at every thing I did.
I had to be perfect.
And let me just inform anyone who struggles with the same belief… let me just save you the trouble: it is truly freaking impossible. I would know – I gave the effort my heart and soul for years. The thing that really sucked was no matter how much effort I put into being perfect, I always came up short. I was never good enough to be universally liked or praised. There was always someone who didn’t approve and even more people who just didn’t care at all. Mostly, I was just stressed out, worried and fearful. I was like a small animal peeking around corners and ducking for cover.
“Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order.”
– Anne Schaef
I put on a good show – I had a trusty mask of confidence I kept close at hand. I’d wear it to school, to work, outside, inside… didn’t matter. I was an actress, playing a negative 2.0 of myself. I wasn’t connecting with others on a personal level. Every conversation was a nail-biter… what are thinking about me? Truth is, most of the time they were not thinking about me at all! I worried for nothing! And all I could ask myself was, “why?” This was all to prove something to the world, right? My self-destructive journey was all to show the world exactly who I could be: perfect.
One word: WRONG.
It took a long time, too long in fact, to realize that not only was the goal of perfection impossible, unflattering, and exhausting… it was also self-serving. It was selfish. I was sacrificing everything I am and everything I was meant to be for nothing but half-hearted approval of others. I wasn’t focusing on my real life and I wasn’t focusing on the lives of others, either. I was stuck, two feet straddling the line of reality, in my imaginary world where there was no end game. I couldn’t achieve perfection. There was no answer to my unending questions.
I couldn’t achieve perfection. No tutorial, no brand, and no compliment could fill the gap.
But a certain lukewarm relationship could.
I wrestled with my thought-process and ultimately faced the truth: the only one I could truly turn to for answers was God. I struggled with balancing my life – was I being too vain? No. It was what guided my heart that was the problem. Jesus died for me, for you, for us. My strive for perfection was short-lived, silly, and unsound. I didn’t need to search for the acceptance and love of people who didn’t bat an eye. I needed to saturate myself in HIS love, HIS light, HIS holiness.
The entire time I was vying for love and acceptance to validate how I should feel about myself, I should’ve known that I was already utterly and completely loved and accepted by God. With that truth came FREEDOM. My mask, my carefully constructed mask that exhausts me just thinking about it, could be tossed aside! I could be myself… my true self!
My true self being the driven, happy, silly, smart, and beautiful person God created me to be.
I’m happy to say now, that while I still enjoy acting, I quite like being me. Unapologetically myself. 🙂
– Jenni xoxoxo