Give up the Phantom Version of You - Perfect - Not Enough
I am in a mom’s group of around 80 women and we meet twice a month. This past week we had a great exercise where we were challenged to write down on paper “The thing I wish my friends knew about me….” Then we were to write something we never tell anyone about ourselves.
Next, our leader read them in front of everyone, but of course it was anonymous, so no one knew who she was reading about.. It was such a powerful time as I saw most heads nod in recognition of “me too” or “phew,someone else feels that way”. There were many tears and hearts were tugged on. It impacted me so much that I wanted to write about it.
Why we can’t be more real and vulnerable with one another?
What gets in the way? Quite possibly it is the fear of...
- not being good enough?
Even as a therapist, I KNOW women in and out. I know what we think and feel behind closed doors. And at times, even I hide in shame. Where does shame lurk for you? For me, one of the biggest is in parenting and marriage. It’s like I have an expectation because I am a therapist, I am supposed to be the perfect mom or have the best marriage.
Knowing and doing are two different things. Doing with clients vs. doing at home are also two different things. I can remain calm and collected and wise in a session with a client who sits with me only 1 hour a week versus being calm, collected and wise with my kids and husband who see me 24/7 at my best, my worst, and yes, even those gross times. LOL
What are we really telling ourselves?
Stop for a moment and really ask yourself. Are you saying “If only I could do ‘this’ better, then I would feel like a better parent.” Or maybe ‘when I have accomplished that, I will be a better wife.’ The truth is we will never have it all together, we will never be ‘ready’ for life by worrying or thinking that certain things have to be done or happen before we can be who we want or need to be. This is the very thing - this type of thinking - that will cause life to pass us by.
Are you expecting perfection?
We are our worst critic. Often things don’t get done because we have a belief system that sounds like this. ‘If I can’t do it right, or this way or that way, I just won’t do it at all. WORD….NO ONE IS PERFECT!
So we need to come to the place where we do our best and trust that our best IS enough. What's important is to focus on our relationships - with our family, our friends, our colleagues, etc. instead of worrying about things being perfect. People are more interested in how you treat them, love them, help them, have fun with them, than they are about things being ‘perfect’. Most of the time, the things we are worried about they will never even noticed.
Let’s say a friend is coming over for lunch. That morning you wake up in a panic and realize “What have I done? Why did I ever agree to have Mary come to my house for lunch?
I need to mop the floors, vacuum, wash the curtains and rugs, do the dishes, finish the laundry...and oh yeah...I should have fresh flowers on the table, make cookies and bread from scratch, maybe I should just cancel because I don’t have enough time to get it all right! I still need to go to the salon and then get my nails done. I can’t possibly have her over if this is not all done. What will she think?”
The truth is, Mary just wants to sit down at the table with you, share a cup of coffee and maybe a light sandwich and talk. She was really looking forward to just spending time with and talking to you. She could care less if the carpets are clean or if your nails are done. She will be more upset about you canceling lunch than if the floors aren’t mopped.
So, how look past the flaws?