Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Permission to Be Human (hope for the perfectionist part 1)

I am a perfectionist.

If you wonder if you are, too, that probably means that you are not. Perfectionism is hard to hide.

For me, the problem with this label is that I am completely aware that perfect is unattainable. And most of the time I’m not setting out for perfection. It’s not usually an obvious goal.

But there is this little tug when I’m doing anything – a voice you could say – that speaks dissatisfaction.

Issues have cropped up in my life recently that were hinting deeper investigation into “the voice”. But it was sealed when in a moment of conflict, my dramatic eight year-old bellowed,

“But we’re not perfect!”

And that statement rang and rang and rang in my ears the rest of that day. Because in my heart I know this -- no one is perfect. But in my head…well, that might be a different story.

I am all about grace. I have learned its beauty firsthand. But grace and disappointment often walk hand in hand. And that can be very hard.

Grace is almost always easier to give to someone else. But what about me?

Do I give myself permission to be human?

Honestly, I don’t think so.

I have placed a weight of responsibility and expectations on myself. And I carry it with me into relationships.

Perfectionists also tend to be control freaks who want things to be just so. I think because that’s what feels safe. And for me, there are reasons why I self-protect — valid reasons why safe and secure feel like oxygen to me.

But if that’s ripped away – well, I sometimes wonder how I’ll breathe?

To be continued…

To read Part 2, click here.

Linking today with the Soli Deo Gloria Party at Finding Heaven.


Kim said...

Permission to be human. . .
I hadn't ever thought of it that way. Although I have never considered myself to be a perfectionist, there are too many times when I've pulled back from something out of fear of not doing a good enough job.
Thanks for that fresh perspective!

Amanda Conquers said...

Honestly, I never saw myself as a perfectionist... I can be a bit fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, free-spirited-hippy, but I have found myself feeling so crushed by the weight of my own expectations. I think I set the bar way too high for my life. I'm not okay being mediocre... I want to be the best. Eeek! So yeah... I think I'm struggling with perfectionism. I'm not really sure how to move forward from this realization. Guess I will come back for the next part of this ;) Thank you for your words!! xo

Unknown said...

Kim: I am glad this post resonated with you. And I agree, fear is a motivator. Thanks for visiting!

Unknown said...

Amanda: Welcome to the perfectionist club! No worries, you are in good company. And it's okay to sit with this realization for a while. Please do come back! I hope you will find encouragement here!

Courtney said...

Christy - Just want you to know I've been praying for you. I have perfectionist tendencies, for sure. It is something I work on - which is sort of a perfectionist thing to do! This constant self evaluation; sometimes I also struggle to just let myself be human. My dad gave me some good advice recently, with regard to some stress and anxiety I've been having about another family member: Just be yourself, and try to be cheerful. Meaning, if I start off trying to be cheerful then being myself becomes more acceptable. Somehow, that has released me. Hope it helps you in some small way too. Hugs.

Katie (@agracefulgirl) said...

I most definitely could have written this. I refuse to allow myself to make mistakes and, although I allow everyone else to make mistakes without judgment, I don't allow myself to. It makes absolutely no sense! haha

Thank you for your words here!

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