Anyone else ever feel like they’ve been hit by a train after therapy? Or a big self-revelation? Like you need bed rest, IV fluids, and maybe some Jello?
Today I got hit with some train-sized hard truths. I’ve done a ton of work around self-love and yet I’m still clinging to perfectionism. It has to go. It might have served me before, but it is certainly not serving anyone right now. I can tell myself all day how strong and resilient I am, but by not letting myself ever make a mistake I’m proving that I don’t really believe it. Refusing to test the theory that I can mess up and still deserve to be loved and to love myself shows that I have a lot of work still to do. The only alternative to perfectionism I can see is failure, still.
That’s not what I want. It’s not what my head knows is true. I would never say that to a stranger, let alone a friend, but I say it to myself on repeat. I even tell myself that I can’t be a perfectionist because I’m not perfect, as if I’ve failed at that too. I don’t value perfectionism in other people, yet I hold it as the only standard for myself. If my daughter learns that from me, and that becomes part of her inner voice, there’s going to be even more therapy in both of our futures.
So what’s the plan? I’m going to drop some balls. I’m letting up on the reigns. I’m loosening some…other stuff. I have to test this ice to find out how thick it is and where its thin spots are.
What are you afraid to let go just a little? What are you sure will mean the end of your world if you gave it just a bit of breathing room? Money? Your image? Food? Work? People pleasing? Perfect parenting? Or on the other end, what do you ignore completely? Giving it no thought whatsoever out of fear that even a little acknowledgement will give it control over you? Either way, in those extremes, it’s controlling you and calling the shots.
If you don’t have someone to talk to about these things, talk to yourself. News flash, we all talk to ourselves. However, doing it out loud, writing it down, or typing it out can seriously help show you that what you’re telling yourself might be a little intense.
I’m exhausted from the extremes. I make so many rigid rules for myself that when I’m about to just crack from the pressure, I fling myself all the way over to the extremely non-rigid or flexible side until the guilt of that overcomes me and I head right back to that rigid wall. I heard that there is this so-called “middle ground”. A healthy place where you have values and principals, but also let life happen and allow yourself to be a damn human. Instead of a robot or feather in the wind. I want to go to there.
At the end of my session today I was a total mess. That’s not abnormal, but this time it felt like an accumulation of all the messes. After a couple of hours to reflect I’m actually excited. I think this is what I’ve been really missing in my quest for self-love. I’ve read the books, insightful articles, journaled, been in therapy for almost a year this time around, and have tried to be open as much as possible. Yet I felt like there was some sort of self-love trick I still hadn’t heard about. I think this might be it for me. Putting it to the test by allowing myself to fall and trusting that I’ve got myself. Not that I won’t be abandoned or that I’ll still be loved by others, but that I will still love myself. If I don’t, then I need to know that too and I’ll STILL be okay
I wish I could write more about what to do instead of just what I’m doing. Or I wish that what I’m doing was a perfect path even for me, so I could be that much more insightful. Either of those realities could maybe be more helpful to others. I can’t though because I’m not an educated and trained professional who knows everyone of my readers’ lives intimately. So, it’s not perfect. I’m sharing it all the same because perfect is not the standard. Human is and this is how I Human. I think I’m going to go make some Jello.
4 Replies to “Purposely Walking on Thin Ice”
Good one, Amy! Perfectionism is a gnarly ol’ beotch. Take it easy and enjoy the jello!
Thank you! It’s something I wish I could defeat just the once, but of course it’s another one of those practices. Such a pain in the butt!
Thank you for sharing your journey, Amy! I too have struggled with perfectionism. I remind myself that I _could_ spend the extra energy to get from the 85th%ile to the 95th or the 99th, but likely no one will notice the difference in the product, only that I’m extra tired or stressed.
Absolutely. Your people want you to be happy and healthy before anything else. And thank you! I never knew how powerful having others to relate to was to my psyche until I became a parent.