“I’m practically perfect in every way…”
– Mary Poppins
I don’t know enough.
Don’t really get the stuff they say on CNN.
Get so much smarter.
I can try harder.
If I mess up, I’ll try again.
People change, People grow.
We rearrange, We let things go.
I could be perfect.
I could be perfect.
Tell me what to do.
I could be perfect…for you.
Lyrics: ‘Perfect’ from “Edges” by Pasek & Paul.
I had a mini epiphany the other day when scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed. A friend had shared the following post:
On first reading I thought “Oh, of course, this is awful” and wondered “Why do people stay in these abusive relationships? “… then I looked through the lists for a second time and realised something quite horrifying…I am guilty of doing quite a few of these things to MYSELF… most days… yup… pretty screwy right?
I would like to think (and I am often told) that I am a caring and compassionate person. I would never want to emotionally abuse another person. I’m certain that I would have the awareness to know if someone else was treating me badly and get away from them… So why do I treat myself badly?
I guess it’s the pursuit of perfection. For as long as I can remember, I have been a good girl. Aside from the odd poor choice (usually involving too much alcohol and resulting in hilarity/embarrassment rather than harm), I’ve maintained the reputation that my secondary school form tutor bestowed on me of being “just like Mary Poppins…Quite perfect”. I am often given metaphorical gold stars for being organised and proactive. I am lucky to have amazing family and friends who are there to boost me when I need it. Yet, I still fall into the trap of bullying myself. I’m always striving to be perfect…even though I know that perfection doesn’t exist. Nothing that I do is ever quite good enough in my eyes. I play down my achievements; despite ‘bigging up’ my friends and being an encouraging colleague and teacher. Self deprecation is part of my everyday language…even though it’s usually in jest. I push the things that are truly important to me to the bottom of my priority list and let other insignificant things suck up my time and energy… and then I bully myself for letting that happen.
I remember really not liking the song “Perfect” from Edges when I first heard it. I thought: “Yuck…this is such an anti-feminist, stereotypical weak woman song…why would anyone want to sing that?” …Sorry Pasek and Paul!! However, when I looked at the song in a different way, it made a lot of sense. In focusing on all of my flaws and things I get wrong in order to be ‘right’ for a job/role or to live up to my conjured-up idea of ‘perfect’, I hide the real me…and, in reality, the real me is a lot more interesting and engaging than ‘perfect’.
Does this resonate with any of you?
How can we get out of this loop?
Here’s what I’m trying…
Along with my daily gratitude practice where I say or write down 10 things I am grateful for each day…I am adding 3 reasons why I love myself each day… I know, I know, It sounds really w*nky but I’m giving it a go! I find focussing on what I am grateful for, even when I’ve had a bad day, fairly easy now…but loving MYSELF?!?! Not so easy. But I’m doing it…my lists so far have included gems such as: ‘I love myself because I did my laundry today’ #adulting #winningatlife #smallvictories.
I’ll never be perfect…but I’m learning to love that.