My Personal Battle with Perfectionism

24
Aug
2015

My Personal Battle with Perfectionism

I felt God speak to my heart, “It’s time.” Time to share a bit more about me and some areas of growth I am pursuing.

You see, I have an issue with perfectionism and it has impacted my life significantly in the past five years. For those who understand this issue, it can easily be put on the backburner, you can make excuses for it, but the real thing is – it never goes away.  

It sucks your life, your joy, your creativity, and your energy.

It will stay and haunt you until you cannot take one more minute.

I broke about four months ago, where I was desperate to get some help. At that time I didn’t have a name for what was going on – I just knew I was at the bottom. I wasn’t quite sure what the issue was. I just knew I was overwhelmed, I expected too much of myself, that I was never satisfied with my work – both personal/at home and professional. I was driven to work a lot and I found less time for fun.

I began my journey with a wonderful Christian counselor who calmly shared with me that I was experiencing some big issues with perfectionism, in addition to a few other issues involving shame and guilt. This took a few sessions, but it was like someone spoke life into my soul.

I knew I had tendencies towards perfectionism in my life, but I never understood the degree to which it was impacting me negatively – very negatively.

I know I cannot be the only one. I pray that by sharing some of my story here I may help another mom who is struggling and does not know where to turn, doesn’t know what the issue is, or feels like she is alone.

I have been on a journey the past three years of helping my body return to a state of wellness – and things have been going amazingly well. In fact, just last week I had a diagnosis from my doctor of “Lupus in remission”. I could hardly speak and was a blubbering mess the entire day because I’m so thankful for God’s faithfulness in His path for my life.

It seems that one of the final steps of this journey is to really dig into this messy emotional baggage that has plagued me for years, stifling my ability to move forward.

Ladies, this is hard, exhausting work. Some days I come home from an hour of work at the counseling session and I feel like I have run a marathon and just want to go to bed. But I push on.

I have learned a few things that I wanted to share. Perhaps you might find a few of them helpful in your own walk. 

God Is Here – ALWAYS!

Even when I am exhausted and feeling hopeless that I can change the behavior that is embedded in my being, I am reminded that God is a redeemer and can change anyone. I sit and read Scripture reminding me of this instead of allowing the enemy to continue to dictate the lines of my self-talk. His GRACE for me is something I need to remember to apply to myself – GRACE for myself.

Change Is a Process

As with anything, it seems like you can take one step forward and then you fall two steps back. I have to remember this is all a process. Reprograming my way of thinking. How I have viewed myself, my life, and my actions for 48 years now has to be re-programmed. It is not going to happen overnight and I need to be thankful that is the case. It wouldn’t last.

Lessen My Expectations

This one is the main area of struggle for me. I set unrealistically high expectations of myself and others, and when I fall short I can be extremely hateful towards myself. When others fall short, especially those closest to me, I can be downright ugly. I have convinced myself that nothing more than perfection is ever good enough. It is and has been paving the road for me to be chronically stressed, exhausted, and burned out.

Rid Myself of BAD Words

The worst words I can have repeated in my mind are “have to”, “must”, “should”, or “should have”. The use of these words tend to ramp up my anxiety and we all know where that can lead us – in trouble.

I have to be very cautious of my words – now more than ever. I need kind words for myself. “I’ll do the best I can” – that is one phrase I am learning to use to replace some of those other words.

Have More FUN!

Oh my word, this is so hard for me. But I must be intentional about finding more recreational fun in my life and cultivating more pleasure.

I read an article and it said this, “Perfectionism has a tendency to make people rigid and self-denying. Your own human needs get sacrificed in favor of the pursuit of external goals.” 

OUCH, that is true for me. I rarely will break away to enjoy the simple fun things my body and mind truly desire. Each day I have to intentionally focus on making some time for leisure and fun.

Celebrate Small Victories

I tend to overlook things that I do that I just feel are normal things.

So beginning today I am starting a Weekly Five Goal list – and I will be sharing it on the Facebook page every Monday. Maybe you will join me. It is really very simple: you choose five things that you would like to accomplish during the week and make a public statement, thus helping with some accountability. But for me, it is also making it public so I can celebrate myself when I achieve the mark. This is an area I do not excel in, finding joy when I accomplish things.

So jump over to the Facebook page later today and check out my weekly goals for this week. I encourage you to join me – just pick five things that would be beneficial for you to accomplish this week and add them in the comments. You will be encouraging me at the same time.

Ladies, this time in my life is a time of great struggle to overcome this beast of Perfectionism. My insides are full of shame and guilt, yet I am looking forward. I know I can be healed and the Lord can help redeem me in this area.  

I just have to be available to hear and to be changed. I appreciate you allowing me to share my current battle with you all.

If you or someone you love may be experiencing some issues like this, I encourage you to find a Christian counselor who can help you navigate this journey. I have also found some helpful resources from Brene Brown as well – The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, as well as TED Talks she has done. Your Bible is another amazing source to find help.

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  • Jennifer Hoffman

    This is a battle I, too, face. But we are made perfect in Christ- no need to strive, just be in Him!

  • This is me!! It causes a strain in my marriage because I feel very irritated and disappointed in my husband, when he doesn’t strive for the same amount of perfection that I do. I hold my standards above everyone else. Not a fun way to live!! Thank you for sharing your story, and your guidance.

  • Yes, I am finding verses and scripture to keep me in TRUTH!!

  • I will be sharing more, this is a REAL battle and struggle and I know many need encouragement 🙂

  • cmdumee

    I struggle deeply with this. Recently I have found amazing truth and gospel-centered counsel in a book called Picture Perfect by Amy Baker. So grateful!

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