Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Realization

It was a Tuesday evening a couple weeks ago, I was scrolling through my facebook feed instead of something else more productive I'm sure.

And that's when I came across it.

The article headline that caused the hairline fracture in the illusions in my mind--the tiniest of beginnings that ended up shattering the world I had built up around myself.

I realized...I AM A PERFECTIONIST.

How had I not known this!?

Denial.

Mislabeling, misunderstanding.

But mostly denial.

{Maybe some of my friends will be like "Duh, Kat...I knew you were a perfectionist"...maybe not. I certainly would not have ever said I was. That was something "other" people had to live with. Denial is a powerful convincing force.}

I have read all of Brene's Brown's books, and despite her words deeply resonating with me, the words she writes about perfectionism somehow just didn't penetrate the layers of identity I had about myself.

Until that fated Tuesday evening.

Then it all made sense. I'm not entirely sure what it was about Dr. Laura's article that finally hit home for me...I think it was the quote she shares by Naomi Remen and then reading this in her article:

"Agree right now to forgive yourself for all the ways you will mess up in the days to come."

Then, it all came crashing down around me.

I saw myself clearly: The endless pursuit of getting it "right", of expecting others to get it "right", of doing all things "right", of making the "right" decisions, of feeling that when I finally get it "right" I will be OK...I will finally have accomplished being a "perfect" wife, mother, woman...I will have the answers and finally be worthy...and the anxiety that builds up when I make mistakes, things don't work out and all this doesn't happen.

And like a true perfectionist, I tried to clean it up.

Haha.

As if that were possible.

I couldn't even talk with my husband about it.

Because of the shame.

Oh, Brene, you are so right. About it all.

Perfectionism tells us we don't need vulnerability and this then begets shame, because no one is perfect..and then we are one pile of mess that is trying to hold it together but all we want is to just BE and feel WORTHY.

I had it all: the shame, the vulnerability, the realization...

And yet, I had nothing.

I had to surrender and accept. Mostly accept that I could not "fix" this. This was not something that could be cleaned up and made to look good.

No wonder I was on the {futile} pursuit of finding my inner peace, my zen. That was not ever going to happen without this realization.

But I was surprised that with this came so much compassion and understanding. Without me trying at all or wishing for it, it didn't take long for me to be filled with an immensely deep and bottom-less love.

I think I may have finally felt what it feels like to love myself unconditionally.

The perfectionist in me wants me to believe I can do better...find a better unconditional love.

{Oh, yes, that thought crossed my mind.}

But I know what I feel.

What comes next?

Well, I don't know.

When your entire identity is shattered, when the filter you've been seeing life through is removed, it's hard to know what you do.

Maybe nothing?

Maybe re-read some great books...chat with a counselor?

Right now, I just want to let all of myself breathe. I feel like I haven't gotten fresh air, like, never. Or at least not since that moment it time when the child-Kat was free of these self-imposed filters and beliefs.

I don't know. I do know, there will be changes happening, within me mostly, but also in my interactions and relationships with others. I already feel like a more grounded, aware mother. It's hilarious to me that I thought I was beforehand, but I did have a feeling like it was half-assed-some-piece-is-missing grounded. I catch myself having perfectionists thoughts and now know/see them as what they are. It's easier to let go or work with something when you are aware of it.

I do know another thing, my life makes sense now.

All the things I do, say and think are now pieced back to an understanding of why.

BUT, I also know that there is a major journey ahead for me as I shift into this new awareness.

I did eventually talk with my hubby about it. I felt nervous bringing it up. Almost like I could fail or not do it properly. Like I would be rejected. Sheesh! But I went forward. And I think he also felt a sense of clarity. He looked up and read about "perfectionism"...and said "Dude, that is totally what you're like." You see he's always thought I had OCD tendencies or anxiety.

I do have anxiety, but it's rooted in my belief that if I am not perfect or don't do things perfectly, bad things will happen.

Oh, just writing that makes me feel lighter and freer.

{And as I'm writing this, I am beginning to have those thoughts of unworthiness and shame: don't post this, don't share this, just delete it all...you can't have people knowing about this.}

Thank you Dr. Laura Markham and Brene Brown. Keep on doing the work you do because you are helping so many of us break-free and find compassion and self-love.

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