When I find myself in moments like this, it’s apparent to me that there are a few points I’ve forgotten. First, entirely contrary to popular belief, perfection is truly not an option. Not ever. Perfection is not a human characteristic. And this is something many of us forget all the time. If someone told you: “I can’t love you. Not until you sprout wings and fly,” you could laugh at them… right? Well, I feel like expecting perfection from ourselves, and refusing to practice self-love until this ideal is reached, is really no different. Just like flying, perfection is just not something that is possible for us humans.
The second thing I so often forget, that is so important to remember, is how much other people might need my imperfections. In a recent bout with perfectionism, I found that I was trying desperately to hold it all together. I would meet with friends, and listen to what was going on with them, hearing their problems, and offering support. But I refused to open up about what was going on with me. Finally, one day, I realized I couldn’t handle this on my own, and I opened up. A friend I chose to open up to reminded me, in words plain and simple: “No one benefits from you pretending you’re perfect.” It struck me on a profound level how right she was. I mean, I clearly was not benefiting, as the internal struggle was getting worse by the moment. And no one around me was benefiting, because I was robbing people of the opportunity to relate to me. As I once heard it put, we cannot connect to Teflon. People need edges. We need grit to grip on to, otherwise we slide away. I reflected back to all the conversations I’d had in the weeks preceding. It was totally true! When I speak to people who aren’t letting me in, it’s hard to connect. But when I get real with someone, and talk about what is truly going on, we reach a beautiful level of intimacy that is scary, but also so warm and loving.
Perfectionism is a daily struggle for me and many woman (and men) like me. In being a little bit more honest about my struggle, I’ve found that I can connect to more people, and actually help people more too.
Have you struggled with perfectionism? What else might you be struggling with that you’re keeping to yourself? Share it here, and be of service to someone who might be dying to relate.