The Lies of Perfectionism: Why having IT all isn’t worth it
Growing up Generation X, you were told that you could have IT all. That you should be grateful and not squander or waste your life on something that wouldn’t be successful.
Success was defined as: make a lot of money (i.e. doctor, lawyer etc), be a great mom, be a great wife, be outstanding in your community, don’t complain about ANYTHING and give your parents bragging ammo. You were told that you had so many more opportunities than your mother and grandmothers.
You were praised when you followed the rules, when you were quiet, when your hair was neat, when you looked pretty, when you were productive and especially when you made-it (AKA: accomplished something).
Somehow in your well-intended upbringing you became an idol instead of a person. You represented a life your parents, teachers and others wanted but did not have. Perhaps your parents felt guilty because they were home less often and busy making money to create the life they thought you needed; although what you needed was them.
Generation X is often referred to as the latchkey or divorce generation.
“Divorce rates, which peaked around 1980, are now at their lowest level since 1970. In fact, the often-cited statistic that half of all marriages end in divorce was true only in the 1970s—in other words, our parents’ marriages.” (The Divorce Generation”, WSJ)
Your folks did the best they could and Lord knows you were not easy to raise or get through to. Yet somehow in the midst of all this, the “My” generation, the generation seen as independent, you forgot who you were. You began to strive to be all things to all people and at age 35, 40 or 45 you are now at a cross road looking back at the road you have traveled perhaps with a pair of Golden handcuffs saying: “Now that I have IT all – I’m still unfulfilled. What the hell is IT anyways? I don’t even know how I define success.”
You’re tired and want to quit some days; living a life that does not fulfill your soul. Yet you tell yourself to put your big girl panties on and keep going. Then your crazy life repeats itself until you are numb. And for what? If you’re going to fight and be sleep deprived let it be for something that matters.
The problem is that EVERYTHING mattered for so long that now nothing matters….Let’s dig into that…
Your formative years shape who you are. I have found in my own life that the exceptions, I just described, created environmental perfectionism. I was not born with a perfectionist personality and become a perfectionist due to my environment; it was learned behavior.
A perfectionist is someone who’s goal is to be flawless and who sets excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.
While perfectionism can create a drive like no other the issue with perfectionism it is that it lies to you! It tells you that unless you’re perfect you are not worth anything.
You don’t matter enough to have your own dreams, your own ideas, your own life doing what makes you happy, being who God created you to be.
If you’re ready to fight perfectionism, below are some ways to tell perfectionism to shove it !
EVERYDAY this week take note of anytime you say these words or phrases. STOP and think about why you are saying this and what you could say instead. Think if “good enough” is “good enough” and slowly look for situations where you can let go of perfection.
“what will they think”
“If I could just…”
“What’s my problem?”
“Why can’t I do anything right?”
Which of Perfectionism’s Lies Have You Believed? What Has That Belief Cost You?