The Perfect Facade

I am near to perfect, and if I’m not near to perfect, I’m really good at hiding my imperfections so you don’t see them. It comes natural for me, I do it unconsciously. I learn quickly and easily and that applies to whatever I give my attention to. I think it is because I have this need to do something perfectly and so I engulf myself in learning about it in order to have the necessary info to do it perfectly. I have this tendency to shape conversations so they are less conflicting and more favouring to good relations and positivity.

The Perfect Facade

I have this odd desire to maintain the perfect façade, which is a perfect façade in and of itself, and I know why, and it’s not necessarily a good thing. My ability to do well and appear well and appear favourable in situations is because of my incessant need to be perfect. While that might seem to others like a positive, because of these positive effects of being able to do things easily. I wish that others understood why I am like that and how it in fact is a result of a need to be perfect that has had some traumatic impacts on my life.

Why Maintaining The Perfect Façade isn’t Healthy

Of course, I know I’m not perfect, and I know I’m not near to perfect, but I’m using that terminology so you understand my point. You could call it incessant, compulsive, obsessive, if you knew the extent of it I don’t think you would ever call it healthy. Call it whatever you want, but I am driven by a need to be perfect. The problem is that the need to be perfect also drives feelings of worthlessness and ultimately, the desire to self-harm. So now, in my older age and wisdom and in this healing process, I recognize how detrimental it is to think you can be perfect and to strive for that. I’ve been working to undo this compulsion to be perfect for a while now. Perfection should not be your goal, and it should not drive decision making in one’s life. Here is why I think that:

-       A need or desire to be perfect, when perfection is impossible, means you are essentially setting yourself up for disappointment in yourself.

-       When you allow yourself to regularly feel bad when you aren’t perfect in any imperfect moment, you are training yourself to feel that emotion in all imperfect moments. Since in this case practice makes perfect, so you can expect to become good at feeling bad when you aren’t perfect.

-       That feeling not only builds on itself, it bleeds over. So for example, maybe at first you just feel annoyed at yourself about getting a bad grade. However, say you keep getting bad grades. Now your annoyance grows to disappointment, anger, and eventually a feeling of worthless. Eventually you start to feel worthless when you get a bad test score, or when you are unable to answer a question in class.

-       Becoming good at feeling bad, especially reaching as low as feeling worthless and practicing those feelings often, leads to using self-harm as a coping mechanism. I can say that because I know from my own experience that in the beginning I self-harmed because it felt like a deserved punishment. It also felt necessary for me to feel good. It was as if I could punish myself through self-harm and only then could I change my focus and calm down.

I’d much rather be imperfect and ok with it than have this incessant desire to be perfect and to only feel good when I’m close, even if the result is that I can do a lot of things “properly”. Also, since I have this experience with self-harm I really understand how my need to be perfect has driven a lot of unhealthy habits and experiences in my life. I certainly hope that others do not need to reach that level of a low to understand that perfection is not a worthy goal and shouldn’t even be a goal at all.

Perfection is impossible

Because let’s be clear here – perfection is impossible. Also, it isn’t actually something I think we would want once we had it. Firstly, if we were all perfect, we would be exactly the same, and secondly, there would be no movement. We wouldn’t experience the sweetness of going from confusion to clarity, no desire to strong desire. Life would be emotionally static. It’s the moments of imperfection that make us ask for more for ourselves and that make the feelings of having what we want and being clear feel so good.

The Challenge: Unconditional Love and Forgiveness for Oneself

So here is the challenge. When you know you are driven by a desire to be perfect, the work becomes reaching a state of being where you can be imperfect and it doesn’t bother you. To get to that kind of place in life you have to reach a place where your self-worth comes completely from yourself, is unconditional, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Since the crutch with accepting your own imperfections is that other people won’t necessarily. They will judge. They will throw you those judgemental looks you spent so much time and energy trying to avoid. Judgements that in the past could have caused you hours of tears and to self-harm. For it to not cause that effect, you have to be self-assured, understanding, and unconditionally loving and forgiving towards yourself.

So that’s what I’m trying to do now in my life. I’m on a journey of healing and I have been for quite a while now. A large part of that healing is teaching myself to stop needing to be perfect. Trying to feel more ok about making mistakes. Trying to stop caring about impressing other people. Focusing on trying to find happiness in every single moment.

It has been a challenge, and sometimes I feel like I’m not covering any ground, or the ground I am covering, its slow, especially after an emotional day. It’s not that easy to rewire one’s brain to overcome that perfections lens, though it is more than worth the effort. I do still sometimes easily get distracted in the confusion and swept up into the negativity before I’m aware that there is a negativity occurring I need to address. Hindsight is definitely 20/20. However just in general having a goal to be more forgiving towards oneself, less embarrassed, less focused on other people’s thoughts, it makes a difference. It is most definitely a worthy goal, if not one of the most important goals for living a happy life. So while I might unconsciously still try to maintain this perfect façade, I wanna peel away the layers and just be the real me, whoever she is. Hopefully that will be reflected more in my writing and creations, too.  I want to present to the world who I am, imperfections and all, and I will do that and I don’t intend to let anyone’s incessant need to be perfect effect my emotions when they are dissatisfied with my imperfections.

So while I say I’m near to perfect, I’m not really, and I’m ok with that, and when I am not, as soon as I realize it about whatever subject, it is my goal to be ok with it. More forgiving and loving towards myself, because I need to provide that for myself and give up caring about this Perfect façade.

Written by Tanisha Eileen Hamelin

Date: June 20, 2019

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