Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wednesday, 5/13/09 - "PERFECTION"


"Much pain comes from trying to be perfect. Perfection is impossible unless we think of it in a new way: Perfection is being who and where we are today; it's accepting and loving ourselves just as we are. We are each right where we need to be in our recovery.
(From: "The Language of Letting Go" by Melody Beattie, May 11, Perfection, p. 131)

The myth of perfection that I sometimes find myself subscribing to is fueled by my lack of self-esteem.

This expresses itself in thoughts like:

I'm not as good as "A".

My writing isn't as good as "B".

I don't have enough of "X, Y, Z".

And in statements to myself like:

"Boy, was that stupid."

"I am so stupid."
"I must be crazy."
"My goals are hopeless."

This struggle with perfectionism is one of the things that motivated me to go to Al-Anon when I was 19 years sober in Alcoholics Anonymous. That was almost 5 years ago. I was happy and sober, but I was still experiencing painful feelings and discovered how often the kinds of thoughts and mind-statements expressed above occupied my mind.

Up to this point, I was pretty unaware of the fact that this lack of self-esteem was still a problem and preventing me from being everything God intended for me.

I came to understand that it was vitally important to take action to eliminate my self-critical, judgmental, and censoring thinking. Prayer, affirmations, and more use of the "Serenity Prayer" was the beginning of the solution for me.

I am grateful for:
Discovering that the less I judge, criticize, and censor myself harshly - the less I judge, criticize, and censor others.

Being able to be happy with myself even though I am not perfect.

Accepting myself as I am and at the same time being desirous of improving.

Finding medical coverage when my Cobra coverage runs out.

The blessings of family and friends.

Prayer Girl


Syd said...

I've been reading a good book that mentions all the defeatist messages we get as children. No wonder that we humans never feel good enough. Thank goodness for Al-Anon.

Steve E. said...

Wow! That Alanon has really imbued you with some "goooood shit".

You're making a lot of sense these days--as if I'm one who might know the difference -grin!

Just Be Real said...

I agree, perfection can certainly be a killer! It can and has ruined a lot of individuals lives, like a deadly disease. What you shared here, I can certainly certainly relate Prayer Girl. Thank you for your grateful list! Blessings dear one.

Gin said...

All I can say is...exactly! Until Al-anon I never realized that the majority of my problems dealing with things had to do with my self-esteem and not loving me for who I am. Okay, I guess I had more to say than "exactly".

Shadow said...

i can so easily forgive others for doing something i'd never forgive myself for... why, why, why... you've given me some insight here. thank you!

Mama Zen said...

You've given me some insight as well!

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

:) This makes a lot more sense than it used to... I remember not so very long ago a girl who would call her sponsor and when realizing she had done something that wasn't yielding growth and power, she would say "I'm an idiot"

Well, that girl isn't here anymore, I realize I'm not stupid, I just wasn't aware at the time, I didn't have the power to do anything different.

That takes a lot of pressure off of me and puts the pressure on God to help me to change action, thinking and God gets the results!

I'm so grateful for the program of recovery that allows me to be me, only with a little help from my friends and a lot of dependence on God.

Carol said...

How fun that we are reading the same book, I'll think of us reading it together. It's new to me, another member was thinning her library and gave it to me last month. Perfection is a tough subject for me. I think I'm making some headway, giving myself a break, softening, but man it is a tough thought pattern to break. Insidious. Pops up everywhere.

Kay said...

so true your words are. everyone has compaired themselves and judged others/self. I think it is vital to accept yourself for who you are and others' as they are. To applaud the things each of us do well and to remember that everyone has their own talents and good qualities, that others may not attain...

I applaud you in your strength to be a good/ "better" person, for growing wiser and more fulfilled with time, the progressive thinker and believer you are.