Being perfect. A no-win situation.

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

It seems a big part of my process over the last year is giving myself grace.  In particular, grace to make mistakes.  To admit when I am wrong.  To say “I’m sorry” and to genuinely mean it.  To humbly acknowledge my humanly-flawed-self.

For the most part, I have walked away feeling lighter.  Feeling freedom.  But sometimes, sometimes – i still feel the shame.  I still feel like I’m so broken.  And not in a free way, in a hopeless way.



















Enter perfect:  Lately, the word “perfect” has been bubbling to the surface.  It’s in what I read, it’s in conversation.  I recognize that a part of my eating disorder had to do with perfectionism.  I thought (and I will stress thought) that by having the perfect body, the perfect grades, being the perfect friend….I thought these were the reasons I was accepted, loved and chosen.

I’ve never allowed this concept I have of perfectionism and this journey toward giving myself grace – I’ve never allowed the two to meet eye-to-eye.

And so it seems, the next step in my process is to be able to name the part that perfection has played.  To allow myself to dissect perfection out of my heart and out of my soul.  So that there is even more room for grace.

Because the truth is, I don’t have to be perfect.  And the truth is, I don’t even want to be perfect anymore.  It’s pretty boring.  It’s overrated.  And for myself, it’s a gateway to shame.

And here’s why:  when I do feel shame after making a mistake, it’s almost always connected to the lie that I have to be perfect to be okay.  To be chosen.  To be loveable.

Nobody wins when I expect myself to be perfect.

I will never win because I can’t ever be perfect.

Nobody else will ever win when I expect myself to be perfect.  Because when I put pressure on myself to be perfect, I also put pressure on those around me to be perfect.  So unfair.

So where do I go from here?  I’m not sure.  But I can tell you, something has shifted.  Being able to name my shame and its roots wrapped up in this false belief that I have to be perfect…well, there is freedom in that.  I feel lighter.  I feel like I can breathe.

Goodbye perfectionism.  Hello more freedom, more healing, more wholeness.

What about for you…do you hold onto this false belief that you have to be perfect?  Perfect in some way in order to be loveable?  In order to be accepted?  In order to be chosen?  I’d love to hear from you.  xoxo





4 thoughts on “Being perfect. A no-win situation.

  1. Beth

    May 13, 2015  |  04:08 pm

    You hit the nail on the head!! When a child is raised to try to be perfect for their mother to get acceptance and love, it unfortunately carries over into adulthood and affects everything. Post discovery of my husband’s sexual addiction, my feeling of failure to be the “perfect” wife that should have been enough to keep him from acting out, as a perfectionist watching her world crumble around her and be absolutely nothing she thought it was, and agreeing with the negative voices in her head that said that because you didn’t have a perfect body he went looking to find one somewhere else, all culminated in the feeling that he would never truly love me , accept me, or choose me. Oh, the struggles and excruciating pain this has caused and is still causing me!!!! I am working hard to heal my heart from these ridiculous expectations. I read in a book that said basically that when a devastating event happens, the light shines on all of the holes in your soul. Those holes can only be filled by God. Lots of work for God to do in me. Lots of grace I need to give myself. Thanks for speaking to my heart Shelly!

    • rlforwomen

      May 13, 2015  |  09:17 pm

      I completely agree with what you read. I feel like it’s through the pain and difficulties that we begin to really see ourselves clearly. Thanks, Beth for your words of encouragement and for your “me too”. It’s healing for me to know I’m not alone. xo-Shelley

  2. Caroline

    May 16, 2015  |  12:47 am

    “…because when I put pressure on myself to be perfect, I also put pressure on those around me to be perfect.”

    In a word: a PILL

    This phenomenon is perhaps the biggest motivator to throw off perfectionism.

    A standard of perfection drives both falseness and isolation. This is especially hard on our children. As Beth shared above (so sorry Beth) because it feels so normal, we drag it right into adult life and relationships.

    No one is allowed close enough to see either our reality or expose their own. So we will freeze to death with a perfect smile on perfect lips, rather then let anyone near. Cold lonely distance defines the life of one who will not release their iron grip on this lie.

    Perfectionism paves the way to accept outlandish blame that is clearly not our own in our marriages, and it makes healing from interpersonal-relationship trauma near impossible. How can we allow ourselves to be healed from a wound we “deserved”? It is through perfectionism we took the responsibility for whatever garbage came because a “perfect” wife could have saved the day…like mighty mouse. Blaaaah.

    Before we can accept the grace of God, we must admit we need it. Only through knowing His grace ourselves can we offer it to others.

    • rlforwomen

      May 20, 2015  |  08:25 pm

      Amen. I’m with you on this entire post. I’ve lived the cold, lonely and distant life. It’s so not worth it. Although to be clear, living in honesty, vulnerability and imperfection isn’t easy. 🙂

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