At first it didn't even seem onerous or futile. I didn't even think about it. But one day, as Cinderella's sisters discovered with the glass slipper, it simply didn't fit. I couldn't do it anymore!
As a young woman, I tried so hard to be perfect. I thought I would be lovable and acceptable if I were the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect daughter, the perfect seamstress, the perfect cook. You name it, I tried to do it perfectly. Then when my marriage revealed itself to not be so perfect, I began—only began, mind you—to see the futility of such an illusion. And it's taken many years to shed those ideas. Sometimes pieces of that illusion still return to bite me!
Have you had any of those same ideas? If I can just be clever enough, I'll be accepted into this group. If I am agreeable, people will love me. If I work harder than anyone else in the office, I'll be so essential that I'll have true job security. If this, then that ... but it really doesn't work, does it?
Authenticity is simply the only way to go. Does it guarantee complete happiness? No, of course not. But it does bring far more contentment and serenity than trying to be something you are not. Perfection is absolutely unattainable anyway. Doing the best you can trumps that any day. And being real and authentic—being who you were uniquely created to be—that's a goal worth the striving.
I'd love to hear your experiences with perfectionism and the journey to authenticity if you're willing to share with us. One of the best ways you and I learn is through our sharing with others. We don't have to be experts. We simply have to share our journeys and the learnings we have along the way.
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