Pretty Hurts: Perfection, the disease of a Nation




Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worse; perfection is the disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts. ~ Beyoncé

My entire life, I’ve been Type A. I have this bad habit of wanting everything to be perfect. I write multiple drafts of things, and critique them so much, they never see the light of day. I have notebooks filled with what may be million-dollar ideas, but I’ve been too afraid to move forward with them. In fact, it’s taken me months to even post another blog because of the fear that it wouldn’t be good enough, and that if people didn’t like it, it would somehow translate into me not being good enough. Irrational, I know, but it’s the truth. And like my Grandma always told me, “Lora, the truth shall set you free.” Many of us can’t get out of bondage because we are too afraid to tell the truth.

We live in a society that constantly does a great job of making us feel inadequate. We feel we have to be the best wife, the best mother, the most prepared, have the best resume and credentials, be the best dressed, have the nicest car/house to be able to compete. But who are we really competing with? Some may say we are competing with other women; I would dare to say we are actually competing with a “perfect” version or ourselves that doesn’t exist.

Why is it that we as women are our worst critics? Why do we feel the constant need to be superwomen? Looking for the next best accomplishment and neglecting to celebrate the accomplishments we have already achieved. Finding all the good and beauty in everyone and everything else, but not in ourselves. Overlooking all the flaws in everyone around us, giving them good advice, supporting their dreams and visions and finding the best in other people’s situations, but we can’t love ourselves enough to live in our own truth and make our own dreams realities.

I’m not too sure what the real issue is. I, like many other women, have and still do struggle with the concept of perfection. Perfection is by definition both: (1) the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects -and- (2) the action or process of improving something until it is faultless or as faultless as possible. Very interesting!

Much of the time, we focus on the first part of the definition. We feel like we have to be flawless, the ideal, the best, the prettiest, the smartest or we don’t count; we don’t matter. But why don’t we focus on the 2nd part of the definition? the action or process of improving something until it is as faultless as possible. This is the real perfection! This version of perfection doesn’t place immense amounts of pressure on oneself to reach an impossible standard. This version of perfection recognizes that there is beauty in the struggle and strength in the journey of improving!

Perfectionism can only stop when we stop looking at others to find value and worth in us, that we don’t even see in ourselves. When you begin to place all your energy and efforts into becoming the best version of yourself, improving in every area possible, that is when you become perfect. As long as we chase the wrong idea of perfection, we give fear power over our lives and we don’t make the best decisions. If we’re being transparent, your progress, your pain, your wins, your losses, your successes, your failures---are all admirable and deserve to be celebrated. There is so much strength in walking through hell and back yet remaining unburned.

Personally, I am going through a journey of healing, and part of that journey involves freeing myself. Being okay with people not having this image of me as having it “all together”--- understanding that I am a masterpiece in progress; equally as flawed as I am gifted. I have come to realize that we all connect to each other through vulnerability and honesty. We forge lifelong relationships by allowing ourselves to just be who we are. The most authentic version of you is perfection, and in that version of perfection there is true freedom.

During this pandemic, I can’t tell anyone how to spend their time. But what I can tell you all is that I have been inspired to spend some time taking care of myself and getting to know my authentic self a little better. I’ve been working hard to understand what things in my life have shaped me and made me who I am and how I am. I’ve confronted my past mistakes head on, forgiven myself and learned from them. I’ve looked in the mirror and seen my beauty and not my flaws. I am no longer willing to prove I am good enough to people who can’t already see and acknowledge that. I am enough, YOU ARE ENOUGH! Queens wear Crowns over here!

If any of you are going through similar journeys and there are any quotes, podcasts, blogs, books, videos, etc., that are helping you through, please share below in the comments below!

With Love,

LB

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