don't have to be perfect to be loved).
my entire life, I have been known as the "good girl." I always
get good grades in school and now in college, teachers and professors
love me, I never get into trouble and never have. I was the "quiet"
and the "good" child. I was praised at a very young age for my "good
manners" and my smile, and if I ever were to do something wrong,
it was as if I had just irreversibly shocked and disappointed my
I grew older, I developed very irrational and yet equally real fears
of disappointing my family. I knew that my parents were having difficulties
and I was always terrified of adding to their problems And if I
knew that a member of my family was hurting or angry I took the
blame for the problem because I would much rather have the blame
be placed on me rather than have them angry at one another. Sometimes,
I even invented crazy tales about how certain things, which
I had not even been a part of, were my fault. And I hid behind a
masked smile and an automatic "I'm fine" reply to those people who
asked if I was okay.
the pressure to be "perfect" and to live up to all the expectations
that I felt were placed on me and which I placed on myself became
too great for me to handle and I began to do things to myself that
were detrimental to my health. I did not care. In perfect honesty,
I didn't even realize it because, by that time, I had become so
focussed on maintaining harmony in my home and among my friends
and being "Miss Perfect" that my feelings were buried and I didn't
even realize that I was acting in seriously harmful ways towards
thought everyone was looking to me to keep their world in balance.
I suppose now it was somewhat a selfish thought because intellectually
we all know that one person cannot hold together everyone else's
life. My fiancée brought it to my attention one day when
he attempted to rub my shoulders and realized that I was incapable
of relaxing. "Hey, listen," he said, smiling to take the truth and
the sting out of his words, "I know it's hard for us to believe
but the world will be okay if you take a moment and stop holding
it together." He is the first person, and the only person (or so
I believed) in my life that has never expected me to be perfect.
When I make a mistake (and I make hundreds of them) he talks to
me about it and then. ... It's over. He doesn't treat me any differently
than he ever has.
A lot of us think that the people in our worlds expect certain
things from us. They expect us to be perfect, to never fail
and to always be calm and collected. At least, that's what we think.
But you know what? I don't believe that's true.
are our own harshest critic: no one else expects as much out of
us as we ourselves do. If we can come to believe this is true then
we can start living more joyful and fulfilling lives. When we have
so many expectations on us and feel as though we must be perfect
to be loved (which isn't true at all) then every day seems to be
a duty, an obligation, rather than a privilege. Some say, "I work
best under pressure" and that may very well be true. I myself am
one of those people. My mother says that when placed under pressure,
I remind her of a bloodhound that will not quit until the task is
done. But just because our work is the best then doesn't necessarily
mean that that's when we're at our happiest.
in my opinion, has too many good surprises that we'll miss if
we only concern ourselves with reaching perfection. Not only that,
but no one knows better than we ourselves do that we fail constantly.
Perfection is not attainable: we will not go one day without doing
something we should not do because we are human and so when we fail,
if we are perfectionists, then we must live daily with guilt for
not making that A or not being able to accomplish whatever we felt
we should have.
is without a shadow of a doubt the hardest emotion to face, so if
we could look at ourselves and what we expect out of ourselves more
honestly and realistically then some of our guilt could be diminished,
leaving room for more happiness and joy.
our belief patterns and our expectations is very difficult but
it can be done. Use the determination that helps you accomplish
so much perfection to say, "I'm not going to worry today. I'm going
to go to the park and enjoy myself" Write a list that lists all
the good things about yourself and that will help you balance your
mistakes with your achievements. Talk about your emotions and fears
to someone. I promise you, they would much rather you tell them
how you really feel than for you to harm yourself, as I did. Surround
yourself with friends that you feel comfortable with and that you
don't feel as though you have to impress. And remember that God
knew you were going to fail often and He still created you. He still
loves you and He's not the only one. Relax and enjoy the gifts of
life rather than attacking it. You're loved just by opening your
eyes each morning.