Perfectionism and Contentment

How do we define perfection, how do we even know what that looks like?  Is this something that we will ever reach, or when we reach that point we think looks perfect, will it be enough? I have struggled this fight with perfectionism for as long as I can remember.

It has just been recently, I have really sat down to examine the word itself. How can I strive for something I have no idea even what it would look like? I tried to sit down and think if I could be perfect, if my life was perfect, what would that look like?  I have looked back and thought about the goals I had set and the times I had said if I could get to here, then I would be happy, if I could just accomplish this, then I would content. I will use the example of this, I wanted to lose weight, I was done, I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror, it made me so mad to see that I had allowed myself to get to this point. One day, I remember saying enough is enough, I can’t do this anymore, if I can get down to a size 5, I will be happy and my life will be better. So I cut everything out of my diet, I worked out, I got to a size 5, it wasn’t enough, I got to a size 3 and yet I still looked in the mirror disappointed by the reflection in the mirror. I thought it would make the person I was with at the time love me more, be more proud of me, I thought I would be happy, I thought the size would make all poor body image go away. The problem is, what we are striving for in being perfect and if we had this or did this or if I could just are all reasons we are seeking for a type of perfection or a form of contentment, yet its not a tangible in the way we think.

Is it tangible to be perfect? What is perfect, because everything is really based on perspective and if you are striving to be perfect in another’s eyes, you won’t because we all have different perspectives. What someone else deems as their idea of perfect is not what you deem as perfect and really none of us know what perfect looks like? How many of us thought if we reached a certain job title, a certain status in society, a certain look, a certain body size, etc and once we got their still found that it wasn’t enough.

The only way we can accomplish contentment not perfection is to be comfortable being perfectly flawed and learning to find contentment in all things even our failures. This is a hard thing to swallow and I am still trying to swallow my own message. For years, I had the mentality he would love me more or would never leave or cheat on me if I could just be the perfect wife. Let me tell you where that got me, I worked by butt off to provide for our family, I had two kids and worked a full time job, went to school in hopes I could eventually give my family a better life. I came home to make sure my house was spotless, lived off practically no sleep, I got up hours early each morning to lay out clothes for my now ex husband, make him breakfast, pack him a lunch, start him a shower, wake him up, get kids to school, work all day to move up the career ladder striving for a job title with money, come home, start dinner, get kids to sports practice, find time to work out for the figure I thought would make him love me more or keep him faithful, come home feed the family, do the dishes, clean the house, to be told I don’t do enough, the harder I tried the more discontentment there was. I continued to think okay I will do all that I did today and tomorrow I will add to the list of things he complained about today. This went on for  years and years and guess what I never reached the point of perfection and the expectation just became more and more and more. The lesson in this was that no matter how much I strived to be this perfect mom, perfect wife, successful business person and all at the same time, it didn’t change the outcome of what I thought it would, I was still cheated on over and over again, I was not valued in that persons eyes the way I thought obtaining this perfect image would give me, it didn’t give me satisfaction, I was missing out on life all together and missing the things that were really going to matter later. I was so blinded by this state of perfectionism thinking it would rescue me and prevent me having to face all the things I feared the most, yet it didn’t do any of that. The sad thing about perfectionism is, is that it really isn’t even about us, it’s about what others will think of us and others will perceive us, it’s about being accepted, about being loved, wanted and needed but it truly isn’t because we want that it is what we think it will bring us, the desires of our hearts, the desire of humans is being loved, wanted, and accepted.

Instead it lead to destruction, call it self destruction, call it whatever it may be. I couldn’t maintain the pace, I was exhausted, I was miserable, I had raised the bar so high in my relationship I couldn’t meet the expectations, I failed daily, it became a matter of control for my ex, he knew he could expect more each and every day and I would do it in attempt to do whatever I could to be this perfect image, when I didn’t reach perfect which was never as its not tangible, it became emotionally abusive, I would never be good enough for anyone, I was to fat and ugly no one would ever want me. I was too selfish as I was working long hours to try and provide for my family, go out and be successful but your a piece of crap. It became a vicious crazy cycle. Not only did this affect me but that expectation began of being perfect began to fall on my daughter and son. Maybe it was in my weakness of striving for to be perfect, he began to expect my kids to be perfect instead of being kids which led to them constantly feeling they were a disappointment and couldn’t get it right! I pray every day that they will see me in my new journey to strive to be myself and not acceptance that they will not live their life that way on the future. When you seek perfection to gain the acceptance of another you are giving someone the power to tell you what perfect looks like. You are giving someone to define who you are including your value and your worth. You allowing someone to take away the very core of who you are. You become a robot not a person. When you give someone the power to make you spin around and around knowing that it will never be enough is when you need to take a step back and realize what is it you are really trying to be!

Perfectionism, is trying to be something we are not, it is trying to be what we think other people want us to be, it is us feeling like we have to compete with others for our marriage, our careers, our friendships, our status, whatever it may be. Tangible, I would say not, everyone comes with different talents, different strengths, different views, yet we also all come with weakness, we all come flawed. Yes society has taught us to compete, we compete for job titles, we compete with people who think they will feel better if they can steal the attention away from a married woman or man, because that must mean they are better, we compete to be accepted, to have more possessions that another. Perfectionism, is it really creating and fulfilling the need to be content.

Even after all the hard lessons, the many times I have slammed my face in the dirt, I find myself sitting her trying to obtain that status again, striving for perfectionism and acceptance and being enough. There are days, I can’t even breathe, because I am consumed with the worry of being accepted, of being enough for the one I love. Sadly, it is something that just doesn’t go away and its a lesson that seem to never learn from or it’s just something that is so embedded in human nature that it is sometimes hard to take a step back and stay I will not be subject to this.

Although, the last two years of my life have been quite a struggle adjusting to a whole new world and enough change to last someone a lifetime, there are some valuable lessons I have been able to reflect upon the last few months. This journey has really opened my eyes to a lot and caused me to reflect upon the past as well and how sometimes, we truly don’t learn from our lessons completely and sometimes it takes us repeating the same mistakes or that we sometimes might slight improvements but it takes us a while to actually get to a point where we truly take in the actual message of a lesson.

In the last two years, I have given up a lot of things I thought brought me contentment or that I thought defined me or gave me a sense of worth. These things being my career, my desire to have a job title, how much money I could make, what material things I could purchase. I walked away from every sense of security I had created for myself, why my relationship I walked away from was toxic on every level and a good change to make, I also walked away from a community in where all my roots were, I left family and friends who I didn’t realize gave me so much support. I started over to start with nothing but everything new. Yes, its been a challenge and there are days I don’t even know how I am going make it thru and how I miss so many things of my old life. This town has not been kind, it has actually shown me how cruel the real world can be away from my own little bubble of home.

But I have learned an extremely important life lesson in this, I don’t want to strive to be perfect, I want to strive to be real. I want to be real in so many ways, I want to be raw, I want to be seen for being imperfect, I want to be seen for all my flaws. I want people to accept me not because I meet their definition of perfect, but so they can be inspired by my flaws and complete imperfection. I want to inspire others to dance in the beauty of their weakness, their flaws, their truths, not the façade or their endless disappointing and heart breaking journey to be perfect. I want to strive to be find joy, find peace, find contentment, and that does not come from a job title, what money can buy, it does not come from another person defining you, it comes from the moments when we can be real, be ourselves and in the moments of our true rawness we can spend moments doing the things we truly love and being able to share our true talents not those we think we need to force because it will give us acceptance. I want to strive on the beauty of the moment, seeking the beauty in each day, in the small things, in seeking and pointing out the beauty of others. I want walk in all my imperfections, I want to not let the harsh judgement of others sway me from walking in my imperfect self, I want to strive to be able to encourage others to not waste life seeking something that can’t be reached. We spend so much time trying to impress others or seek approval, we forget to live. I want to strive to embrace the moment, love others for all their flaws, their weakness and let them know they are beautiful and bring so much to this world as they are. If we could all strive to be what we are and not as we think the world wants us to be, there wouldn’t be a lot of bitterness because we would be no longer competing for things that truly don’t matter. We would be living in the moment and enjoying the beauty of now. When we die, we aren’t going to be focused on what we did for a living or who liked us or didn’t. It is going to be the moments of true joy we spent with those we love doing things that makes us soar.

I have learned no matter how hard you try to be accepted, try to be perfect, try to be the perfect wife, the perfect mom, the perfect anything, you will never. Those who love us will stay with us because they see the beauty of our imperfections, those who love us will be there to pick up and strength us on days we don’t feel it and those who love us will not judge us for being us, making mistakes, being flawed, they will see it as unique. Striving to be a perfect mom, does not mean we will have perfect kids or they won’t make bad choices. Striving to be a perfect wife, does not guarantee a faithful marriage.

So the message is to be you. Strive to be you. The right people will love you just as you are. Strive to be a better you but not be better because you want to be better than another. I want to learn to bravely and boldly be myself in every way, in every day, so I can start enjoying all the moments in life I have been missing out on trying to be something I can never be and striving for something I will never reach. I want to enjoy here and now and let tomorrow take care of itself, the past become a lesson, and enjoy the moment of now, with those I love and inspiring others to dance in their own beauty of imperfection. Love others, for who they and not what you want them to be, love people right where they are. Being kind, love hard, and keep moving forward, enjoy moments, without worrying about being perfect, just learn to be content. I am striving for this!!!!!!










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