What do you do when you are constantly being compared to someone that is perfect? What happens when you finally meet someone whose standards are so high, you can never measure up. That happened to me when I met My Perfect Self.
The Day I Met My Perfect Self
I was having an imperfect day. I was frustrated with myself for getting angry and emotional with someone. Again.
As I was replaying the exchange, I kept thinking of how I could have handled it better, differently. Suddenly I had an awareness that I have a Perfect Self that I continually compare myself to.
Let me introduce you to someone. She is My Perfect Self. She really is amazing. Over the years, she continues to get better and better.
Meet My Perfect Self
My Perfect Self is as lovely on the inside as well as the outside. She’s not just beautiful, she is ALWAYS calm and cool. She seeks to understand and to be gracious while doing so. She wears a serene smile while doing it too. She knows the right thing to say and says it at the right time. My Perfect Self NEVER loses her temper. Ever.
She doesn’t get mad and sit on it for days, letting the anxiety build, and then letting it all come out in a crazy-lady kind of way.
However, that’s the way I do it sometimes. And it confuses me because I hold this other vision of myself in my head.
As I said at the beginning, it recently happened that I got mad at someone and I expressed myself imperfectly
Only this time, while I was mentally berating myself for being imperfect in how I communicated at times, I decided to look at it closer.
And that’s when I noticed my Perfect Self looking on with a sad look on her face.
She was in my head in all her perfectness. She really didn’t have to say anything. Remember, she doesn’t get mad or ugly. But I could see it in her face, how disappointed she was.
And I was finally tired of trying to measure up to her impossible standards.
I realized that being perfect is very subjective and unique to each of us. My version of perfect is very different than yours. And your version of being perfect is very different from any one else’s.
There is no one version of perfect, that we can reach.
In fact, we can’t even, ever, reach our own version of perfect.
Here’s the thing. We hold these visions in our head. We think we know what our perfect self is and we strive like anything to get there. Anything less than this idealized version of ourselves, feels like failure.
We feel like a failure because we haven’t measured up to an imaginary version of ourselves that we hold in our head at the time.
The HUGE Take Away
This is really huge. Much of our suffering and feeling like not being enough is because we are comparing our real self, living our real life, to a totally made up self.
Our perfect self doesn’t exist. Never has and never will.
Sometimes, we’ll reach some of the requirements that our perfect self has. We might lose the weight, make the money, find a great relationship.
What does the Perfect Self do? Is she satisfied with our hard work and commitment to being perfect?
Heck no! She just raises the bar higher. Immediately. Without any thought about our happiness.
Who has time to be happy? Who has time to be satisfied. The perfect self always requires more and more.
When I realized that my perfect self was for one, not real and two, that she was never going to be satisfied, I felt something like relief.
Could I actually let go of the idea that I had to meet the requirements of this perfect self? Could I actually just be in my present situation without comparing it to my idealized version of myself?
I don’t know about you, but just thinking about this was a huge ah-ha for me. Not only do I not have to measure up to this perfect self but this perfect self is made up.
There isn’t a Sara that is always calm, collected, and perfectly composed as she expresses all her feelings in a constructive manner. She doesn’t exist and never has. Yet, over the years, I’ve come closer to that ideal but my lack of achieving it 100% of the time has always left me feeling like a failure.
And there are so many other areas in life, where I haven’t quite measured up. Is my body perfect? My hair? My income? My love life?
It’s exhausting to try and meet these standards!
For today, I’m acknowledging this perfect self. That image is there. I’m also acknowledging that she isn’t real. She doesn’t have the final word on what is perfect for me. She’s just a mish-mash of my upbringing, my experiences, and even what I see on TV.
No one else is holding me to these standards.
For today, I’m going to have a little love and compassion for my imperfect real self who’s out here doing her best to get through life constructively.
And if you too struggle at times with feeling less than perfect, I hope that you will give that same acceptance and compassion to yourself.
What does your Perfect Self expect from you? And what can you let go of?
Keep showing up my friends!
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I'm a former counselor, career services leader, and college advisor. Now I coach and write at My Think Big Life promoting health and personal growth.