Quite some time ago, I read a post on a blog I frequent entitled The Disease Called "Perfection" (this link is to an updated version of the original post).
I just read the updated post, and guess what?
Now, people who are close to me know that I cry pretty easily. As in, at the drop of a hat. I always have. But this particular post hit incredibly close to home. Why? Because, like so many people, I suffer from this "disease". I fight it, and I fight it hard. But still this disease haunts me.
I think the idea of perfection is especially prevalent in Mormon culture. We're taught from an early age that we're commanded to be perfect, although we know we won't attain that in this life. But the striving is there. And striving to be perfect isn't necessarily a bad thing. But the need to appear perfect is dangerous.
How often do I take on more than I can really handle, because I want to appear a certain way? To appear to be the perfect wife, the perfect mom, the perfect student, the perfect....whatever.
How often do I say what is expected of me but don't really mean it, because I want to appear kind and sweet and agreeable?
How often am I disingenuous because I want to appear "perfect"? How often do I pretend that I'm happy with my body the way it is, because admitting I have a lot of weight to lose would be admitting imperfection?
How often do I pretend everything is fine, when in reality I can feel my depression creeping back up on me, because to admit weakness would be to admit imperfection?
Fortunately, the answers to these questions are: far less often than I used to. I have fought long and hard to be ME. Just me. Not a perfect (fake) version of me. The real me, complete with my insecurities, foibles, flaws, weaknesses.
I am not perfect.
I lose my temper with my kids and my husband. I slack off as a friend, as a sister, as a daughter. I hate my body, not because of my scars, but because of my weight. I feel fat and ugly, and I am terrified to make the changes I know I need to. I feel inadequate as a wife and mother. I feel like I should be doing more, I should BE more.
But I'm not. This is who I am. Yes, I keep striving for that unattainable perfection. But I don't obsess over it, and I try really hard not to present a facade to others.
Do you suffer from this "disease"? How does the pressure to appear perfect affect your life?