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The Perfectionism Complex


Jul 9 2014
Sometimes God wants you to get over it and focus on the One who's already good enough.

Ding ding ding.

We women see "qualified" and "perfect" as synonymous. For women like me, perfection goes far beyond the reach of work, into every area of life. With friends. With family. With my fiancé. With my body. And with God. This concept of not feeling good enough haunts us in a lot of different ways—we hold ourselves to crazy standards. My friends with kids are constantly telling me what horrible mothers they are (they aren't, by the way). My professional friends think they don't deserve a raise anytime soon—or at least not compared to the man in the next office.

The Wall Street Journal explains:

Perfectionism isn't a psychological condition—there isn't even an official definition. Some people see it as a point of pride to push themselves to achieve and pay close attention to detail. But experts say that perfectionism can become toxic when people set standards that are impossibly high and believe they are worthless if they can't meet them.

In every season, it's easy to let our own feelings of inadequacy ruin the beautiful, temporary moments God has given us to do the work he's called us to. It makes me mad that so much joy can be stolen because we're not measuring up to our own pipelines.

As my wedding date draws near, I'm trying to accept that I'm not going to be perfect. My fiancé and I are committing to love each other as we are, not as we'd like ourselves to be. For me, this means accepting my imperfections so that I can enjoy each step. The commitment comes first—the sanctification comes later. But the commitment is the beginning of a joy-filled knowledge that someone is choosing to love me, every single day, even as he learns more and more about my flaws, and I learn about his.

I'm working on accepting this, but it still gives me anxiety. Some days it's still a struggle to feel worthy, or to not hyper-focus on weird things. (Am I prematurely graying? Is my face getting fatter? Oh my gosh, I hate my wedding dress. Maybe I should wear less padding in my bra so my fiancé isn't shell-shocked on the wedding night....)

Related Topics:Anxiety; Body Image; Gender; Marriage
From: July 2014

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The Perfectionism Complex