Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Self-defeating perfectionism

So today I was reading an article online and the author said the following: "Perfectionism may be the ultimate self-defeating behavior."

I think I might agree with this statement because if you think about it - perfectionism can cause everything from anorexia and bulemia to depression and lack of self esteem. Where did this idea that we just aren't quite good enough come from? Who decides when we are good enough?

How much laundry does a mom (or dad) have to do in one day to be good enough? What job title must one achieve? How many dishes must be washed? How many miles must be run? What diplomas must be hanging on the wall? What type of car in the driveway?

Do any of these strike a cord with you? They do with me. I think this nagging idea that I am not quite where I am supposed to be or who I am supposed to be follows me around continuously.

I believe depression is directly related to perfectionism.

In high school, I had a major major bout with depression. I played softball, basketball (then quit basketball), cheerleading, choir, SGA, volleyball and don't get me wrong -- this wasn't odd almost everyone played everything at our small school. But sometimes, I think we get involved over our heads...there just aren't enough hours in the day to be every where and do everything we want to do. I wanted to be perfect - at everything. Never miss a throw, never miss a ball, never make a mistake and when I did it just ate me up. I had trouble letting things go.

Now life has totally changed. I don't play sports - at least not competitvely, but I still struggle with these same feelings that I felt all those years ago but this time it relates to being the best mom, being the best wife, being the best friend, being the best employee etc, etc...

And the weirdest part is that sometimes those around us who seem the happiest and like they "have it all together" are actually struggling with this the most. I'm glad that God included all different types of people in the bible. There are murders, liers, back stabbers, cheaters and for me I am especially glad there was a perfectionist - Martha -- who thought she had to have everything just right. And in the midst of having the Savior sitting there in front of her she was missing the whole point.

So today my prayer is that my Martha ways become more like Mary's -- what are your thoughts on perfectionism?

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28, NIV).

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