Growing up, my mom always labeled me as her ‘perfect child’.
I wanted so badly to break out of the ‘perfect child’ mold that my parents enclosed onto me. I remember so vividly the feeling of intense irritation whenever my mom would tell her sisters or clients that I was so ‘innocent’ and ‘good’. Now I’m not exactly sure why I would feel annoyed because you would think that it’d be considered a good thing to be labeled ‘good’?
It was an internal struggle for me though because part of me wanted to be on this pursuit of perfection to make my parents proud while the other part of me wanted to prove that I’m not & can’t be perfect.
Being called their perfect child was something so hard for me to live up to because it’s simply not attainable. And with perfection being the object of my ambitions, I was constantly left feeling unfulfilled for never being able to reach it..
I tried for so long to be that perfect child they would tell their friends about. Throughout high school, I made sure to get A’s, I didn’t party, and I didn’t really talk to boys.
If I were ever to make a mistake, I’d feel like a disappointment. I’d feel guilty. I’d feel ashamed. But to carry flaws & faults is all a part of being human. I just couldn’t entirely wrap my head around this concept. I would still seek the unobtainable and when I once again couldn’t achieve it, I’d feel like a failure.
You see, I was viewing the world through this ‘all-or-nothing’ perspective. If I were to be even a little short of perfection, I thought I was worthless. If I were to make a single mistake, I had to be a failure. With this mindset, why wouldn’t someone feel inadequate most, if not all, of the time?
When it came time for college, I’d felt like I’d finally had enough. I was curious. I couldn’t wait to venture out & break free from these unreachable standards. And when I did faintly escape this desire for perfection, instead of being fearful about what my parents would think of me, I found myself wanting to tell my parents all about it. I wanted to see their reaction to how I was choosing to live my life because I wanted them to see that I’m not perfect and that I can’t live up to those standards.
It’s interesting though because as much as I so badly wanted to break free from this image of perfection, to this day, I still notice myself subconsciously striving for perfection in the things that I do. I notice the worry that comes with even the slightest possibility of failing. I notice the overpowering anxiety at the thought of being so terrified of imperfection that I sometimes don’t even want to try.
I’m gradually teaching myself that perfection is honestly just an illusion and that failing is a natural part of life. Slowly but surely, I’m learning to fully embrace mistakes because there’s lessons to be learned from failing. And with each new life lesson comes more personal growth. So friends, please try not to be too hard on yourselves : )