7.11.2011

Perfection

A friend shared this post, titled "The disease called "Perfection"", on Facebook.  A quote from the author says:
There is a serious pandemic of "Perfection" spreading, and it needs to stop. Hear me out because this is something for which I am passionately and constantly hurting. It's a sickness that I've been trying to put into words for years without much success. It's a sickness that I have personally struggled with. It's a sickness that at times has left me hiding in dark corners and hating myself.

Some of the comments in regard to this post are absolutely heartbreaking.

Perfection is a disease that affects many (most?) of us.  I am affected.  I know several friends who are infected.  I often see signs of the disease in my own children.

perfection |pərˈfek sh ən|
noun
the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects 
• a person or thing perceived as the embodiment of such a condition, state, or quality 
• the action or process of improving something until it is faultless or as faultless as possible

perfectionism |pərˈfek sh əˌnizəm|
noun
refusal to accept any standard short of perfection.
• Philosophy a doctrine holding that religious, moral, social, or political perfection is attainable, esp. the theory that human moral or spiritual perfection should be or has been attained.
 
Now, perfection is different than perfectionism... and yet, often driven by perfectionism.

We attempt, in so many ways, to appear perfect to those around us.  And when we appear less than perfect, we struggle -- with depression, with anger, with self-loathing, and other demeaning feelings and emotions.

For me, those feelings and emotions rear their ugly head when someone makes a comment like, "You are such a saint!"  or "I don't know how you do it!"  (These are usually said in reference to the fact that I have 7 children, and have somehow managed to stay out of the loony bin.)

How has "perfection" affected me?
*I yell at my kids - frequently.  Often, I yell at them for yelling at each other.  Really?  What kind of example am I setting?  I lose my temper.  I say mean things.  And then my heart aches for what I've just done to my 'baby'.
*I struggle with managing my time in an appropriate way.  I spend WAY too much time sitting in front of the computer at the expense of time with my kids.
*My house is rarely clean (although, I've been working on that particular issue).
*I have bad habits that I've been trying to break for YEARS.  I FREQUENTLY beat myself up over these issues, and hide them from most people.  If you know about them, it's because a) I really trust you, or b) you found out quite by accident. 
*I don't brush my teeth twice a day and rarely floss... even though I know that the hormone changes of pregnancy reek havoc in my mouth.  I feel regular guilt over the fact that I have cavities because as a kid, I never had ANY.  Wouldn't you think an adult would be BETTER at caring for their teeth than a kid?
*I (mostly) hate my body, and yet I don't do much to change it.  This is a struggle I've had since I was quite young.  As a young teen, I dismantled a disposable razor and used the blade to cut the word "FAT" into my stomach... in letters about 3" tall.  The scars, if they are still there, are now completely covered by stretchmarks (which I also hate; but I wouldn't give up even ONE of the 'reasons' for them!)
*I never feel I'm good enough.  Are you my friend?  I probably doubt the strength of our friendship (how much you REALLY like me) on a regular basis.  I wait for people to give up on our friendship, and when it happens (not really that often, but it has happened) I hurt - for a very long time - and project reasons, and have a lot of self-blame.
*I expect others to behave in ways that I, myself, do not.  I expect people to treat me in ways that I don't treat others.  I expect others to be 'perfect'.
*I know that getting into God's word, trusting in HIS power, and having communion with Him through prayer, is the ONLY way to heal, to change.  And yet I don't do it. (Rather, I'm spending time on FB, or playing online games, or checking my email for the 4ooth time today.)

The above is just a 'starter list'.

Not being 'real' cost me my marriage once.  I thank God nearly every day for giving it back.  And now, we're real.  We saw what the alternative was.  We lived it.  Our relationship is better than ever.  Do we still have our moments?  Sure.  But, we work through them (usually in moments, sometimes in a few hours, and rarely it takes a day or two) and grow because we are willing to be real.

There are certain people in my life with whom I feel less able to be 'real'.  Some, I'm sure, wouldn't care if they really knew all my  imperfections, but I have a lot of fear of failure and rejection.  Others, it's not a fear, but simply a reality proven by time and by brief moments of 'realness' that made it clear anything but perfection was not to be tolerated.

I see perfection threaten to derail marriages, friendships, parents, on a regular basis.  Please, let's be real.  Support each other in the quest for 'perfection' as it pertains to Biblical perfection, but be real in your expectations!  Remember that we can NOT be perfect this side of heaven... yet we can be (we HAVE been!!) perfected.

2 comments:

whimzzy1 said...

I think this post is amazing and your ability to open up and express your fears...your thoughts on such an issue that many don't ever even want to discuss...Because we all "know" everyone else is perfect. Every other mom is super mom and has everything together and would never yell at her kids or get angry...this post has hit home with me so very hard....I will have to absorb it...pray over it and pray again...Your feelings sound as though I could have written this...Praying for you...thank you for your honesty....(((hugs)))

Kristin said...

whimzzy1 ~ thanks for your comments. :) can you drop me an email and let me know who you are? :)

qfmama at gmail dot com