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 a “star” at anything, and I even worried about making mistakes that hadn’t even happened yet!
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.
Do you have trouble accepting compliments? Do you belittle your accomplishments? Why???
I believe that you have skills, talents, or abilities that make you who you are. They may not be the same skills and abilities that others have; they may be very unique and rare. You need to stop looking for imaginary faults in yourself and see the marvelous human that you are or are becoming.
Now as an older woman, looking back over my life, I see that I have been through a lot of trials, losses, triumphs and adapted to them all. I am truly an amazing person with talents, gifts, and wisdom, just like everyone else.
So what would be the first step to preventing the downward spiral of self doubt; or to climbing out of that downward spiral? You need to stop looking for the imperfections in your looks, nature, life, etc. You need to see the perfections or positive attributes of your mind, body, and life.
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 you from. See anything wrong with them?
You don’t look at yourself from this vantage point. Usually you look in a mirror close to your face as if it were a magnifying glass. You see every wrinkle, pimple or fault.
Now look at the frames up close in the pictures below. See the faults of these mirrors? When you look at yourselves with a magnifying glass or up close, you see every one of your own cracks and flawed corners that most people do not even see, instead of your true beauty. Just as you 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 those and stop tearing yourself down.
When you do something well, allow yourself to feel a sense of pride in yourself and accept compliments graciously. Actually to deny a compliment, if you think about it, is telling the other person that they are wrong! That is not a nice thing to do.
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 your self judgement and recrimination 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.