"I always thought that I was supposed to try to be perfect."
I am a perfectionist. Always have been since I was a little kid. Almost to the point of being obsessive about some things. I am very grateful that God made me this way because it drives me to work hard and to strive to be better. But it has also brought its challenges.
My goal has always been perfection. I don’t think I really realized that in my conscious mind for a long time, but in my subconscious mind that has always been what I was trying to achieve. And the reason is this:
If I’m perfect, then no one can hurt me.
If I have no flaws and I am superior at everything I do, then no one can say anything negative about me. Even better, if they do, I’ll know they are crazy because I’m perfect. I have no flaws. My pursuit of perfectionism was my defense mechanism. I know this is true because even to this day if someone says something bad about me or I feel inferior somehow, I get a drive in the pit of my stomach to go be the best at something. That’s when I want to practice the most, or write songs or study something. Because I want to be able to prove to them that I am amazing. So I go to work mumbling under my breath “I’ll show them!”
The real result of this mindset has been constant failure and a very deep, dark depression. I could never live up to my expectations of myself, therefore, I was always failing. Instead of being the best at something, I was a loser at everything. I began to hate myself because of this. And it got worse and worse as I got older. Until one day I looked in the mirror and I was a 500+ pound alcoholic.
I was frustrated and sad constantly. I could never accept love from other people because I didn’t love myself. I was lonely. Never good at long term relationships. I was finding comfort in food and alcohol. Like A LOT of food and alcohol! And I was barely hanging on to life. On the outside I seemed cool, laid back and fun. But on the inside I was steaming mad at myself, stressed out and angry.
Is this what being perfect is all about?
I finally had to accept the fact that I will never be perfect. Ever. It is hard for me to even type that sentence right now. But I finally know that it’s true. And I know it has been a big source of pain in my life. I have to let it go.
Now, I am striving to be perfectly imperfect. I laugh at myself a lot because I really love who I am. The pressure is off. I can be me and use all that energy I use to put towards trying to be perfect towards something that matters. Like making music that will change people’s lives. Telling my story to those who need to hear it. And being a part of a community again full of imperfect folks just like me.
I wrote a song all about my struggle with perfectionism called….ready for it…”Perfect.” If perfectionism is something you struggle with, I hope you’ll take a minute to check it out. I think you will be able to relate to a lot of it. And I think you may walk away knowing you are already perfect the way you are.