Angela (I call her Angie) is a sorority sister and a friend. Our paths have continually crossed, first with the sorority, then with my wedding photographer, whom she later married, and then within our church community.
She is beautiful person on the inside and out, and an amazing writer.
Today Angie is sharing with us about being a recovering perfectionist.
Hi, my name is Angela, and I’m a recovering perfectionist. Yes, you read that correctly: a recovering perfectionist. My struggle with perfectionism has caused undue pain, feelings of inadequacy, and anxiety.
By now you’re probably scratching your head in confusion. I mean, the quest for perfection is ideal, right?
Doesn’t our society glorify those that are steadily pushing and prodding to be more, better, greater…perfect? You’re right, and it’s wrong. So again, I’ll reiterate, my name is Angela, and I’m a recovering perfectionist. I don’t want any parts of perfection, and here’s why:
My entire life I’ve pushed myself to be the best that I can be. I excelled in academics and sports. Though shy, I was still a social butterfly. I was always involved in something. I was always working to be the best me that I could be. I was inspired when I was doing well; I was winning. But whenever I didn’t measure up, I took it especially hard. If I got Bs instead of As, I was disappointed. If I wasn’t accepted into a society or club, I was upset. My highs were amazing, but conversely, my lows were devastating.
In college, I began modeling locally.
It was exciting.
The lights, cameras, runways, and recognition made me feel a way that I’d never felt before. But somehow it still wasn’t enough. I can recall seeing photos of myself after a shoot, and picking myself apart. I nitpicked every detail. My hair was never quite right, or my smile was off, or maybe I was too fat, and if not that, I was definitely too tall. Around that time, I dropped close to 30 lbs. Mind you, I was already in decent shape and a 30-pound weight loss on my 5’11 frame made me look gaunt.
Friends told me that if I lost another pound, my collar bones would pop right out of my skin. I didn’t see things that way. When I looked in the mirror, I saw a woman staring back at me that needed fixing, changing, improving – that needed to be perfect.
My first ‘aha!’ moment came in the form of a lecture that I attended at a women’s event. The author, Courtney E. Martin, spoke on a panel about her new book, “Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection is Harming Young Women.”
As she spoke that evening, I felt as if I was the only person in the audience. She mentioned that the old feminist exhortation that “you can do anything!” had been perverted, twisted, and spun to seem to mean that “YOU MUST DO EVERYTHING” to our generation of girls and young women. That was the case for me.
I felt that if I wasn’t constantly being the best, doing the most, and giving every ounce of myself perfectly, that I was somehow inadequate, not good enough, and unworthy. This was my first wake-up call that I had quite a bit of self-evaluating to do.
.. if I wasn’t constantly being the best, doing the most, and giving every ounce of myself… Click To Tweet
Happiness is a choice. Love is a choice. ACCEPTANCE is a choice. These are all choices that I make daily.
I will never be perfect. I no longer want to be. Perfection is too much of a burden, and it’s a dangling carrot that will never be caught. Every day I pray for wisdom and grace. I thank God that he’s helped me to mature, and has given me the wisdom of discernment and clarity. There are so many things that don’t matter to me now that meant the world to me back then. My message to women is this:
You are beautiful. Listen to me, it’s true. When you allow yourself to love yourself for who you are, then you will be able to see this. This world wages a war on women every day. We’re constantly told how we should look, what we should weigh, how we should dress, and the list goes on. Allow yourself grace. Know that on this path of becoming your essential self, you have to give yourself the freedom to be you. Just be.
Psalm 139:14 (NLT) Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous….
….how well I know it.
Isn’t she pretty awesome! I just love what she had to say because I too am struggling through “perfectionism”.
If you would like to keep up with Angela, you can find her here:
I love to spotlight and feature real women with real struggles. Women who are being open and transparent about their struggles, how they are not letting those things define them. Instead they are defining their own “good”. To see more about why transparency is so important please Click here.
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