In today’s world, there’s pressure from all sides to maintain appearances of some sort. The most secure women can subconsciously set unrealistic expectations for themselves thinking it is the only way to fulfill her role successfully in society. The standards we look to attain can exhaust the youngest to eldest of women. Social media, entertainment and advertising businesses bombard us with the notion that we need to have the perfect relationship, body, face and life. Industries thrive on an illusion creating uncertainty in our psyche. We run around competing in a race instead of supporting each other’s achievements. Unfortunately, the exercise leaves us feeling like we fall short on something. The thought that we’re not enough will creep up without warning. Not to mention, it makes us dog-tired because we’re always looking to catch up to the world around us.
Many people spend a large part of their youth trying to find themselves. A task that has become more difficult today as a result of an underlying need to meet the demands placed on us. We certainly have the choice of whether or not to cave into the façade. But, if you don’t run with the pack, is it possible to find yourself feeling inadequate? Have you ever been in such predicament? I believe as we age and experience life we can build the confidence necessary to rebuff some of the pressure. It’s also likely we become less afraid of what people think if we don’t measure up to their ideals.
The exhaustion that came from playing a few rounds of keeping up with the Jones’ took me to a place of panic. It showed up one afternoon uninvited leaving me in a state of despair. An anxiety attack was the alarm to wake me from the dead. I was looking at things from a distorted viewfinder. It forced me to really take account of my life from a very personal perspective without worrying about anyone else’s opinion.
My childhood was full of love but it didn’t come without challenges. Having been raised in a home where fireworks came complements of my parents’ arguments was painful. I grew up being reminded of the house rules. What happens at home stays at home. Therefore, talking about any of the fights that took place was unacceptable. It was implied that people were only to see what we wanted them to. Meaning, to the world outside we were a happy family. The picture of peace and happiness was to be preserved. Our families knew the real deal. I knew the truth but as a young adult my role was to do as I was told.
We learn from our past, recreating what we’re familiar with gives us a sense of security. It’s not surprising, I continued the pattern well into adulthood. Coming into my own as a woman and mother wasn’t easy. On the one hand, lies helped me cover up my imperfections. Demonstrating vulnerability was a sign of weakness – or so I thought. People needed to see me as whole. On the flip side was a constant fear that others would see me for the fraud I was. Struggling with the belief, I wasn’t worthy. It took years to truly understand and forgive my mistakes, bad choices and insecurities. Acknowledging the negative and positive experiences were a huge part of the healing process. We all have flaws. The absolute truth is that perfect is unattainable. It’s used as a way of hiding authenticity. Seeking your value through the eyes of others will never make you genuinely happy. You are the only person that can give yourself that worthiness.
There are a few things you have to do in order to move towards relieving yourself of this daunting commitment to appear flawless.
- Self-analysis, Soul-searching or Self-examination: Call it whatever you’d like. The fact is it all starts with you. You have to want to help yourself. Love yourself first with all your might. Self-love initiates a cycle of well-being that will plant a desire to seek and embrace your truth. Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Stop being so hard on yourself because there isn’t one human being who walks the earth without fault.
- Change the behavior that has been ingrained in your mind: Discard self-doubt or fear of failure hindering you from letting your guard down. Surround yourself with people who will support and accept you as you are because you are amazing. Don’t invite judgmental and opinionated ones into your circle. There will always be negative people who try to bring you down. Your job is to protect yourself by resisting the pessimistic attitudes.
You will find yourself working around the clock to achieve the impossible. Perfection isn’t a realistic goal we can set because we’re all a work in progress. We try to do the best we can one day at a time, so give yourself a margin of error. If not, guaranteed you will eventually, run yourself to the ground in the attempt.
Bulldoze your own path – it doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. Celebrate all your improvements. Setting small goals while working for the big dream. Learn the lessons hidden in the moments of defeat. If you can bring these actions together it may very well offer some perfect harmony. Trust that it all comes together at the end not perfectly but as it should.
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