When I was about 11-12 years old, I thought perfection was something I was supposed to pursue. I read in the Bible, “Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” That is a high goal to set. (I know some readers may not be Christians,please just read on and you may still enjoy the points.)
Thankfully I found out later there was a different meaning to that verse. We are not expected to be perfect. The truer interpretation of this verse I believe is from this link: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/qas/when-jesus-says-be-ye-perfect-your-father-heaven-p/
In the first place, the word that is translated “perfect” literally means “be complete.”….In fact, the basic call to a person in this world is to be a reflection of the character of God.
So for years partly because my desire to be a “good girl;” partly because of my misunderstanding of the above verse; and partly because it was my nature to please, I tried with abject failure to be perfect.
Finally someone explained that the verse meant something a little more reasonable. But because of, or perhaps in spite of, my earlier misunderstanding my quest for perfection evolved into being conscientious to do my best. Many of my teachers’ comments on my report card attested that I was very conscientious.
But in the process I became overly critical of myself. I studied hard, worrying about my grades; as a teenager, worrying about my weight, my looks, my pimples, the lack of a boyfriend, never being good at anything, and I even worried about making mistakes.
I think in my head I still thought I had to be perfect. Maybe I thought I had to earn love? So this left me with a feeling of inadequacy with resultant lack of self confidence.
More insecurity was added when I learned of mistakes in judgement that my parents had made and rationalized, “Wow, if they could make mistakes like these, I could make worse mistakes!”
I married a very intelligent man who seemed to me to be smarter than I was. Little did I realize that I was losing myself in his world. My confidence and self esteem decreased even more over time. I even left decision-making largely up to him. Low self esteem can lead to some poor behaviors and decisions.
But this post is not so much about that part of my life. This is more about some of us being too critical of ourselves. But the coneection here is that if you beat yourself down and have low self esteem, you become more critical of yourself.
Do you have trouble accepting compliments? Do you belittle your accomplishments? Why???
I believe that each of us have skills, talents, or abilities that make us who we are. They may not be the same skills and abilities that others have; they may be very unique and rare. Each one of us needs to stop looking for faults in ourselves and see the marvelous humans that we are or can become.
Now as an older woman, looking back over my life, I see that I have been through a lot trials, losses, triumphs and adapted to them all. I am truly am amazing person with talents, gifts, and wisdom, just like everyone else, whether they know it or not.
So what would be the first step to stopping the downward spiral of self doubt; or to climbing out of that downward spiral? We need to stop looking for the imperfections of our looks, nature, life, etc. We need to see the perfections or positive attributes of our minds, bodies, and lives.
Look at these two mirrors I fell in love with and bought at thrift stores. You are looking at them symbolically from the distance most people see us. See anything wrong with them?
We don’t look at ourselves from this vantage point. Usually we look in a mirror close to our faces as if it were a magnifying glass. We see every wrinkle, pimple or fault.
Now look at the frames up close in the pictures below. See the faults of these mirrors? When we look at ourselves with a magnifying glass or up close, we see every one of our own cracks and flawed corners instead of our true beauty. Just as we did with these frames.
Remember the way you appear to others, even your close friends is often quite different from the way you appear to yourself.
Everyday awaken and think of the things in your life that you are thankful for, or that fill your heart with joy or a feeling that your life has some really wonderful parts to it. Focus on them and stop tearing yourself down.
When you do something well, allow yourself to feel a sense of pride in yourself and accept compliments graciously.
Perhaps others don’t see the real you? So find the happy medium between your and their views and you may just discover that you are not so bad, faulty, inept or dumb as you may think after all!
A sign of good friendships is that your true friends see you more truly than anyone. If they see you as you are and still love you, then you should love yourself too.
If you have no close friends, you may have walls up to prevent re-occurrences of past painful experiences. They do happen. But so do good, positive experiences.
A lot of it is what you focus on and what you allow yourself to experience.
Learn to see yourself like your true friends or loving family see you and you may begin to learn to see the faults and the wonderfulness of you at the same time! Be your own best friend.