It's been quite sometime since I have written down any thoughts in this space, but lately I have been focusing on my own false security in perfectionism. As I talk with friends about my struggles, I realize that so many of us struggle with this same shame filled way of thinking. Furthermore, I have been reading Brené Brown's "Rising Strong" in which she divulges about her own tendencies towards perfectionism and how it translates into other seemingly unrelated areas of her life.
I am a perfectionist. Because I am a perfectionist I fear rejection, because rejection means I was not perfect. Because I am a perfectionist I fear not being enough. I fear failure. I fear being out of control and perceiving that I have no control over a situation. Generally, I avoid any and all situations that may or may not trigger any of these feelings.
I'm also very good at making everything seem perfectly fine on the surface. I struggle with admitting to needing help, because needing help means I can't depend solely on myself - being in control - and means I am not perfect. I wear it like a big rubber mask.
When I started putting these trains of thought together for myself - my fear of failure, rejections, being out of control - thoughts of shame and where they originated began making more sense. A lot of this journey towards "healing" is attributed to Brown's research. In her newly released "Rising Strong" (which I recommend you to read right away, then "Daring Greatly" then "The Gifts of Imperfection" READ THEM ALL) she explains that in order to rise above what has knocked you down it is important to find the false story that you are telling. In recent experiences I have been able to trace them back to basic roots which in turn points right to my propensity to perfectionism.
I always want things to work out. I avoid conflict. I say "yes" because "no" may hurt feelings, or let someone down. I haven't yet taken my second certification test for fear of failure. I procrastinate and distract to avoid facing potential failures or admitting that things aren't perfect.
We live in a culture obsessed with perfection. That's why models are on magazine covers and America picks the perfect idols and the ones who've got talent. That's why we love indulging in every detail of the Duggar scandal or reading about the Kardashian's latest mess up. We crave to know that someone is more messed up than we are. We love to judge our story against theirs because we take comfort in knowing that someone else is just as imperfect as we are. It's why PhotoShop and Editing and the delete function are so amazing. We don't like that picture? We don't post it, we untag from it. We Instagram the perfect, we sardonically Instagram the imperfect to elicit a chorus of sisters going "me too."
We crave vulnerability from one another. For someone else to walk up beside us, take of their mask, help us take off ours and say "me too." The two most powerful words. Empathy.
I'm not ever positive about what to do with my perfectionism because I'm certain I don't have the right answers. But I think a good step for me is tracking my stories of imperfection. Being cognizant of the times where my reaction is to run. To realize that perfectionism has only been attained by one living Being and even that Being wrestled with fear (Luke 22:42).
I think I just still need a lot more Jesus.