If you’re perfect you probably don’t want to read this. Still Reading? Awesome! I’m not alone.
So, I’ve been digging deep into the hollows of my soul. What I found was not pretty, in fact, it was shocking. Reaching into the pits of despair and depression is taunting and scary. I found something I never imagined. I found that I am struggling with perfection. Now, this is a different type of perfection. This is not, my house must be clean at all times, or, every time I cook it needs to be just right (cause Lord knows about my cooking). But let me explain this type of perfection I struggle with:
My perfectionism comes from within. I struggle with how the inward looks. I get so mad at myself when I don’t do something right. I need to have a 4.0. I need to write the best stories. I need you to like me. I need to have many views on my blog. I actually obsess about it. You guys, I obsess about how many views I have! So, if you like reading my blog, can you follow me? It makes me want to continue. I know, I know, I shouldn’t rely on how many followers I have, but I do benefit from your encouraging words. Can’t I fulfill my connection problem with the inter-web? (Yes, I know, I must have real live humans to connect with). Like I stated in my other post, I am extremely sensitive and a bit insecure, so by following me I get giddy butterflies. Ok, so are you following me yet? (just kidding, well, not really:)
So, here I sit, on New Years Eve, wondering what my resolution is. I have no idea. In fact, I don’t think I will make one, because I am afraid I will fail at it anyway. I sit here and read all of your posts on face book, all the wonderful activities planned tonight and awesome inspiring resolutions. I. Have. Nothing. Yes, I want to be a better mother and wife, and be thinner. But I know I will fail. I will starve myself for a week, and then eat tons the next. I will say something that I regret to one of my boys or my hub. And, if I do make one, the perfectionist inside will obsess and I will let myself down. So, what’s the point, right?
So, after I stopped obsessing about a New Year’s resolution, something hit me. I suddenly felt like my body went numb. The raging waters inside came crashing into my conscience. Streaming inside my brain, I was floating on failure. Just as I was about to fall off the cliff, I swam in the murky particulars of safety. I could finally investigate the waters clearly. Exhausted, fatigued, and broken, I saw truth. The truth that failure reveals my weakness. I want so badly to do everything right, yet I need to fail in order to learn. This is what I am learning:
I cannot rely on myself.
Failure can lead to success, and a sign that I am learning.
Some of the best wisdom is learned through failure.
Do not be anxious in anything.
Embrace and understand your weakness.
Failure helps me evaluate and improve.
As I write, I am afraid that I will fail you. That my stories will not be good enough. I even wrote about perfectionism a month ago and was afraid to post. So, I will try to accept my failure. I usually fail very ungracefully and tend to punish myself very harshly. This is when I just want to numb again. To not feel. But, I am a work in progress; I will learn to accept my failures, if it takes me to my last days. But this failure also stems ever deeper. This failure branches off of rejection. I learned a bit about rejection through personality tests (come on, they’re fun!)
I don’t base a whole lot off personality tests but I do tend to like them. So, about three years ago, I took a DISC test. This test reassured me that I am very sensitive and constantly in need of acceptance and approval. It was appropriate that I scored the “I” personality style. The I stands for influential. I love to motivate and encourage others, and in the work place I am very positive. I will go out of my way to keep the peace. I have vision and love to research. I can go overboard on my vision. I have so many ideas and racing thoughts, BUT, I tend not to elaborate on my research and ideas because the fear of rejection and failure. But then at times, I feel really, really good about my ideas, that its almost a grandiose facade. But then fear slaps me in the face and I read about people like Thomas Edison:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Rejection come at me like an engulfing flame that consumes and burns down my courage. The ash gets blown away and I have nothing left. Then I swell into a shell and lose sight of what I was envisioning in the first place. THEN, I become very introverted and never want to leave the house. This is the vicious cycle of my mind.
I will never be one to vociferously express my feeling or opinions, I’m OK with that. I will fail again, and I’m learning to be OK with that to. I will probably exhaust myself into the abyss of my depression, but I will NOT rely on myself to get out. The good news– I do not have a fixed identity that bestowed me at birth. I am thankful for grace and revision as my story unfolds. I am building the main character of my story. And honestly, I like her. If I didn’t have lows, I wouldn’t be who I am today. If I didn’t experience pain and broken-ness, I wouldn’t know what it’s like to have grace and love.
So, if any of you have fear of failing or fear of ___, know this: you are not alone, in fact, you are in great company. Maybe you need to write your story. Someone out there has the same fear. You just might be the one to guide someone to freedom. Many of us are being held down like a basketball in water. When you let go of the ball, it will fiercely emerge from the water, exploding into the air. We so badly want to be set free.
So, I am going to start celebrating my failures, not just my successes. To celebrate my failures, is to dig deeper into learning who I am. The more I fail, the more courage, strength, and wisdom I accrue. I am going to be myself, you can come along for the ride or not. But, I will not change who I am.
Here’s to Happy failing 🙂
Love you friends!
One of my favorite quotes on perfectionism:
“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up you life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.” –Brene’ Brown