Saturday, June 18, 2011

Perfectionism Relapse

I have been thinking a lot about why I feel the need to edit and revise my conversations after they are done and gone. When I wrote my last post I thought that was it. I had written it down and processed it all, or so I thought. But then my mind kept wandering to why. Why do I feel the need to edit. Why do I want to change and fix my words. I thought it was a desire to communicate clearly and not hurt feelings, but I am beginning to think that my perfectionism has reared its ugly head in a new place. I think I just want my words, my conversation, to be perfect. I want to say the right thing. I want to be perfect.

I have always wanted to be perfect. It started at a young age when a very caring mom of a friend made a comment about my mom being sick and not being able to be there for me. I didn't want anyone to think my mom or my life was less. I didn't want anyone to judge my mom, even though now I can see that the friend's mom was absolutely right. So as a young girl, I started to want to do things right, to things perfectly. I wanted straight As. I wanted to do things right. I wanted to be perfect so no one could say we were less.

But as I grew up, as I started to see the tole that perfectionism was taking on my soul and my body, I realized it was not a worthwhile goal. Not only because perfectionism is unattainable but because it puts the focus on me and what I am doing. Me attempting to accomplish the impossible hurt not only me but left me unavailable to the people around me. And so I gave up trying to be perfect. I no longer worry about looking perfect or having the perfectly clean house. I no longer need to be the best in the room and can actually enjoy other people's successes. I don't need to hold my kids to outrageous standards of perfect kids as a reflection of my own perfection.

I am a recovering perfectionist.

Until I relapse. Until I start worrying about saying the right thing. Until I start reliving the imperfect moments in my life and conversations.

And again I realize that this drive for perfectionism takes me out of the conversation. It makes it hard listen and be in the moment when all I want to do is edit it.

Again I need grace. Thankfully, God is full of grace.

Where in your life are you trying to be perfect?

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