I remember being a kid and always worrying about what other people thought. I remember not being able to go to sleep before all my dresser drawers were shut. (OCD much?) I remember getting up in the middle of the night and going through a dark house at a very young age and checking that all the doors were locked. I remember the need to please. Constantly. I remember feeling like the peacemaker in my family even though no one gave me that responsibility.
It’s not that I ever thought I was actually going to achieve perfection, in fact, I don’t think that thought has ever crossed my mind in a literal sense. Yet, many of my actions as I look back in my 35 years of life have stemmed from the need to have this certain perfect image portrayed. I mean, geez, I named my blog faking picture perfect partially because that’s what I’ve felt I had to do my whole life. Even though no one but me was telling me that.
It affected me in good ways like how I was a good student. I achieved good things. I am a self-reflective mom. But, it also affected me very negatively. Like how I felt worry and guilt all the time. Even as a kid. If circumstances were beyond my control, I frequently didn’t recognize it, and I would still worry, stress, try to fix things. I still do this today sometimes.
Yet, the difference between a worrying 11 or 12 year old and a worrying 35 year old is that I’ve had enough life lessons to realize that perfection is never going to come. And, that there are certain things that are absolutely out of my control. However, despite being an adult and knowing this deep down, the need to please is always there.
Yet, I believe that God did not put me on this earth to be absolutely perfect. In fact, I know I will not attain that in this life if we are speaking from a religious point of view. Yet, I’m a member of a religion that always talks about how we are striving for perfection. Sure, we’re also taught that it’s OK if we aren’t perfect, but this idea that we need to follow the example of Christ (who was perfect) always lurks in the back of the mind of someone like me that always feels the need to be perfect. There can be feelings of disappointment when we screw up (like we all do) and that can lead to depressing thoughts.
BUT, I loved this quote I saw floating around FB the other day. Because it’s kind of my mantra these days. I am meant to be real. True to who I am. Not perfect, but real.
I believe that being real means that I still try to do my best, and be a decent human being, but also accept my faults. Accept the fact that when I scrubbed my tub today after a REALLY long time, it was OK that a thick film came off of it. That I can be honest when others make me upset, I can stop sugar-coating, and stop worrying about who is outside looking in. I can have friends that don’t care if there is food splattered on my stove. Forget the judgments, and realize that my life is about being real and true to me. Not perfect. Just real.
Being real is one of the best parts of growing up. Don’t you think?