Day 2: Perfectionism and Love
Today my focus is on my need for perfectionism and my fear of not being loved. These two thoughts are so tightly wrapped up for me that it feels like a never ending cycle of trying to be perfect so others can love me.
In my growth journey, I’m learning from multiple outlets. Today’s outlet included two different books that actually prompted my focus for the day.
Perfectionism is something I really need to focus on every day because it rules every aspect of my life. I had gotten really good at not needing to be perfect for others’ love, then the infertility journey hit and the fluctuations in my hormones from the treatments really messed with me. The new focus I’m going to implement in my life comes from 52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life by Andrea Owen. In the chapter Pursuing Perfection is the Race to Nowhere, she talks about recognizing our perfectionistic inner critic and personifying it. She recommends giving it a name and character features. Ms. Owen recommends doing personifying your perfectionistic inner critic so that you can separate it from your true self and then approach it with compassion.
I really like this idea and so I’m going to work on developing a persona for my perfectionistic inner critic. I’m most likely going to also tell me husband about her so when I’m in a perfectionistic breakdown or tirade, we can identify it more readily.
This is my step one to overcoming perfectionism.
Being loved is something I have always struggled with. I do not feel like I grew up with love or even knowing what it meant to be loved. I have looked for love in all the wrong places and a lot of the right places, but not the most important place as often as I should.
I fell into working on my fear of not being loved through the second question in 3000 Questions About Me that I picked up. I bought this book because I recently realized that I have not expanded my views as much as I could. Just skimming the book gave me thoughts to ponder that I had never considered.
Today’s question was a simple one: What is your greatest fear?
Immediately the answer of not being loved came to my mind so much that I felt it in my heart that I needed to explore it.
A light bulb went off. I try to be perfect because I fear if I’m not perfect for each and every person in my life, I can’t be loved. I fear that I am not lovable. I fear that I don’t do enough for others to allow me to be loved. I fear that if I do for me before anybody else, then I should not be loved.
I had a brief conversation yesterday with a close friend that led to me explaining the condition of my back and inability to do much without pain and her indicating she hadn’t realized it was so bad. I told her that is because I don’t share things in my life so I don’t burden others so I can be their support system. Somehow, in my mind, I feel that to be loved, I need to shoulder everyone else’s worries and not share any of mine.
I’ve also felt that since we decided to live our lives without kids (no more infertility treatments, no adoption, etc), we are not going to receive the same love from family that others who have children do.
One point I have learned over the years is, that to be loved by others, I need to first love myself. I can honestly say that as of right now, I like myself. I am struggling with loving myself because I feel broken and incapable with being sidelined by my back. I don’t like depending on others for anything. I am also struggling with my weight. I’m right in the healthy weight for my age and height, but I am not fitting into clothes as I once did. I gained weight from the infertility treatments and working crazy hours sitting at the computer for months on end. I was just getting back into a regular fitness routine when my back flared up. Every day is a challenge and I’ve been working on loving my body more by buying clothes that fit and are comfortable. It has been helping. Every day, I am closer to loving myself. As I love myself more, I need to learn what it means to be loved by others. I honestly have no idea. Thankfully I know and feel the love from Eddie, but he is here with me every single day. Now I just need to learn what it means for others to love me without the feeling that I need to be perfect for each and every one of them.
Perfectionism and love, two feelings intertwined so much that they need worked on together.