I’m in the midst of a wonderful book called The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene’ Brown. While I’d love to gush about how lovely it is, I fear gushing would make it seem like some easy read that you should put on your summer reading list. I *do* think you should put in on your summer reading list, but maybe not for the “I’m headed to the beach and want some mindless fodder.” moments. For this book, at least for me, forces me to face some not so pretty truths about myself.
The book is reverberating in my brain and I suspect I’ll be writing a few more posts about it, so I’m going to focus today on being a perfectionist. Brown makes the point that perfectionism is closely tied to shame. What? I never would have put the two together, and I certainly wouldn’t say that I felt shame regularly. Wasn’t shame about trauma? Or huge self-image issues? Or…something not me? But she states that everyone lies somewhere on a perfectionism spectrum, and that it’s ultimately rooted in believing you aren’t worthy of love/acceptance just because of who you are. (I’d put that in slightly different terms like not embracing who God made you to be, that you are worthy of love because you are His creation, formed in His image. But the point is still the same.) And if I am not able to claim that I am worthy of love as I am, then I’ll mask as someone who is worthy of love because I perform well. Perform perfectly, in fact.
Does that mean all striving to be better should cease? No. But what it does mean is that HEALTHY striving stems from analyzing how I can improve (for myself) as opposed to improving so I will be perceived better by others (and therefore, be worthy of love).
I claim it: I am a person worthy of love. God is good. He was good when He made me. (And now I will sort through the lies that make me question that, time and again, that make me question how I parent, how I live, how I love. I never realized how much I question myself. While I never would have said it was avoiding shame that motivated me, I also never questioned why I doubted myself so much either. There is much work to do. But there is much hope there, too. I can change. Amen.)