When I was a kid, my anxiety was managed through control.
I controlled my room, my performance at school, my hair, and eventually my body.
I believed the more structure I had in my life, the less uncertainty I had to face.
And it worked for a while, except if I lost my spelling book for example, I would have a full blown melt down.
I would become out of control with fear and stress that if I didn’t find my book I would fail my spelling test.
Yes, my friends, I was growing up to become a class A perfectionist.
As many of you know, perfection doesn’t exist. But in my dad’s mind, it did.
So I tried to be perfect. Again and again I studied and got good marks, but this didn’t improve my self worth.
Every validation I sought for was matched with “you could do better” or “your sister did better than you in this subject”.
And part of me believes he had good intentions. He wanted us not to settle for sub par. He wanted us to reach our full potential. And maybe that’s true, or maybe he felt so insecure of not reaching his own potential in life that he had to live vicariously through us.
I’m not sure. I’m not a parent.
All I know is this:
The idea of perfection will hold you back in life because
It makes you hyper critical.
It makes you less creative.
It makes you constantly compare yourself to others.
It makes you desperate for affirmation that “you’re enough”.
And it doesn’t exist.
Perfect is not real.