Friday, October 14, 2011

On Perfectionism

I'm not perfect, but sometimes I think I have to be. I put on a pretty good face for those around me: I'm formally educated, I wear high heels and suck in my gut, I curl my hair and wear makeup, and I'm generally pretty happy. But I don't have a full-time job, my body hurts a lot, I have some weight I need to lose, I've had grey hair since I was a kid, and I'm easily frustrated with the rate in which I am progressing personally and professionally.

I sense I'm not alone.

The polished me. The in-a-robe-before-bed me...not so perfect.

I had an e-mail conversation with my Grandad not too long ago about my lack-of-perfection frustrations. He told me that us "gentler folk seem to be in such a rush to perfection that you miss much of what life is all about."

I think he's probably right.

Too often we feel that if we aren't doing it all, like the woman in the excerpt of a poem below, we're failing. To make it even worse, we seem to always assume other women are managing perfection while we cannot.

"I grind my own wheat and I bake all our bread;
I have all our meals planned out six months ahead.
I make sure I rotate our two-years’ supply;
My shopping for Christmas is done by July!

These things are not hard; It’s good if you do them;
You can if you try! Just set goals and pursue them!
It’s easy to do all the things that I do!
If you plan and work smart, you can do them all, too!

It’s easy!” she said...
and then she dropped dead."

"The Girl in a Whirl"
by ‘Dr. Sue’
(a.k.a. Vickie Gunther)
*read the full version here

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, thinks us women are a little too hard on ourselves, too:

"God wants to help us to eventually turn all of our weaknesses into strengths, but He knows that this is a long-term goal...It's OK that you're not quite there yet. Keep working on it, but stop punishing yourself."

Ah...what a revelation: stop beating myself up over perfection. I am still wonderful and divine despite it.

At the end of my e-mail convo with Grandad, he told me something that warmed my heart and set me in the right direction:

You are amazing.

So are you, friends.


I'm hosting a giveaway on sure to check back! You won't want to miss it. :)


siddathornton said...

what a fantastic post! i think we all need to be reminded of this from time to time (especially me, haha). sometimes i get so caught up on trying to be 'perfect' that i sabotage my efforts to even be 'good.' it's a frustrating, vicious cycle, but reading things like this remind me i'm not alone & that it's perfect to be imperfect.

imperfectly natural mama said...

What your grandad said is so sweet, no one is perfect no matter how much they try to present that picture. I think it's much better to be quite clearly not perfect because then it is no shock when it all goes pear shaped!

RetroFlirt said...

You are certainly not alone in the need to be perfect feeling. Especially as a parent i get that overpowering sense that maybe my all is not my best. It's like you know it's completely illogical, but it doesn't stop you from feelin that way.

~Fellow 20SB member

Hannah said...

I definitely think as women we don't give ourselves enough credit. Which is ironic, because I think we put so much effort into telling other women that they are making it happen and doing our great job...but to ourselves, we are negative and nasty! It's definitely time we all give ourselves a little more patience, forgiveness, room to grow, and of course, compliments! Because seriously...if you're putting you're all in, what else can you ask for?

Anonymous said...

One of my friends once told me, "You don't have to be perfect to be loved." That's what I tell myself when I get too negative.

And for the record, I think both versions of you are lovely - but the loveliest part of you is your kindness, your testimony, your intellect, your compassion. I'm so glad that I have a friend with me in my own journey through perfectionism. :)

Hannah said...

Ah, are SO right! And isn't it wonderful that God loves us imperfections and all?!

And that definitely put a big smile on my face! I was telling one of my friends yesterday that compliments that are observations on my character always mean SO much more to me than compliments on my physical looks. I didn't have much to do with how I look, just luck, but I have put quite a lot of work into becoming a better person! So thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm glad to have a friend in you, too!

Emily said...

Seriously great post! Occasionally, I realize that I'm trying to be something I'm not. The best thing to do is just be myself — I'm not perfect, but I'm pretty good at doing that!

Hannah said...

Thanks, Emily! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...