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I am NOT enough.

Photo by Alice L. Obar via Flickr Creative Commons.

Photo by Alice L. Obar via Flickr Creative Commons.

Last post, I talked about escaping a performance-based life. It was raw and honest, written from my heart. I appreciated your feedback. I suspected I wasn’t the only one.

I want to explore this more with you.

Maybe I’m wired for perfection, or maybe it’s the fundamentalist still brewing inside me, but I really don’t like screwing up.

I WANT TO BE PERFECT. I WANT TO SUCCEED. I WANT TO WIN.

This works a lot of the time. I’m generally tired and anxious because of it, but hey, I get what I want. Oh, except for when I fail. And this is how I know that perfectionism is a drug of dangerous withdrawals.

I think one of the side effects of coming off the perfectionist, performance-based life is a cynical, “I don’t give a f***” attitude. This can happen naturally when we are rejected and try to protect our egos instead of confronting what is underneath.

“Well I don’t give a f***! I don’t care what you think! Can’t you tell by the way my arms are crossed right now that I don’t give a f***?”

I want people to like me. And if they don’t? Well then I didn’t care what they thought in the first place! Screw them all! This is me, free from performing. This is me being strong.

Right? No, hold on.

There is a huge difference about not caring what people think and not caring about people.

In my life, I’ve been on both sides. I’ve both desperately cared about what people think, and been a real ass to prove that I don’t care at all. Both are awful places to exist. They are different sides of the same pile of trash. They both come from pride and this driving fear that without our successes, we are worthless.

We all know someone who is simultaneously self-deprecating and negative toward others. Nobody likes being around this person. He does and say things out of bitterness that hurt others. She is led by her anger. It is easy to write these people off as intolerable, because are they are. But I’ve been humbled this week realizing if I let my insecurities control me, I could become this person. That at times in my past, I have been this person.

I’m going to make a guess that a lot of awful people are just perfectionists who have failed and didn’t confront their feelings honestly. They don’t think they are worthy of love so they go around proving themselves to others. And then eventually they let that insecurity crust over into a film of bitter stench.

I am enough, yes. But sometimes I am not enough. I am learning that THAT IS OK. My not-enoughness is exactly where I find rest from performing and where I open myself to receive love–not affirmation or praise, but actual, genuine love. There is peace found in knowing that I don’t measure up, that I’ll never be perfect, that I will fail, make mistakes, screw up, and get up and start again. I want to screw up, clink a champagne glass to myself and thank God for grace. I want to keep getting up without becoming cynical.

Other recovering perfectionists in the house? How do you deal?

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