It is harder to love oneself than it is to love others.
We can feel so much love for and have such a passion to give to those whom we love most; and still not give that same love to ourselves.
Perfectionist tendencies can make us feel ashamed of our flaws, and even lead us to shame others who don’t meet our lofty expectations. This is my hardest and most challenging work.
From a young age, the expectations I put on myself and others were always extremely high. So high that they often created an unrealistic vision for what I thought life “should” look like, and how people “should” behave.
Idealistic expectations are impossible for anyone to consistently reach, as nobody is actually perfect. We all have our own internal weaknesses and suffer from external circumstances beyond our control. Yet, being faced with anything short of what I had originally envisioned often left me in a state of presumed defeat, and with the feeling that others had failed me somehow. Or worse, that I myself just didn’t measure up.
Subconsciously, I felt that if I wasn’t being treated fairly, or if my accomplishments weren’t perceived as good enough, then that must mean I wasn’t deserving of love. This misconception is common among individuals, like me, who grew up feeling they needed to prove their worth in order to receive love. Owning this wounding, discovering my tendency toward shame, and consciously waking up to this destructive thought pattern, was integral in my awareness toward change.
Still, reprogramming negative behaviors and breaking habitual thinking has not happened overnight. It has been a long journey, one I am still on. To find peace in the “what is” of life - cultivating equanimity in the face of imperfection - is hard.
Acceptance of who I am, where I am at, and what I have done, has graced me in stages, and is something I can cultivate most days; but it is still not my resting state of existence. I consider myself a recovering perfectionist, but like a recovering anything, I’ve not eradicated it for good.
I strive to embrace the dark corners of myself as much as the bright and shiny parts, for this is the only way to truly love.