I’m flawed. You’re flawed. We’re all flawed. Therefore, none of us are perfect. Yet ‘perfect‘ is the image so many of us strive for. As if perfection is something we can actually achieve. Rather than view our flaws or imperfections as gifts or opportunities for God to show himself strong in our flaws, we see them as deficiencies, inadequacies, and disabilities.
Why do we place so much value on what other people think of us? Why do we put so much energy, time and thought into what we portray to the world about ourselves? Why do we overthink, over function, oversell and over-exaggerate how perfect our lives are as evidenced by our social media highlight reels? Why do we work so hard to control or influence the perception others have of us?
Why do we try so hard to be perceived as having it all together as a wife, husband, mom, dad, friend, woman, man or professional? Is it because we want others to view as capable, competent, hardworking and valuable so we can, in turn, feel loved, accepted, important and significant?
Because so many people want the world to see their lives as picture perfect, they use filters, photoshop, lighting, photo cropping, and camera angles to show their ‘best, happiest’ moments on social media. In an effort to be perceived as being perfect or having a perfect life, many of us only present the best side of our lives to the world and we hide the ‘not so glamorous’ dark side of our lives.
You know. The side of our lives that experiences fear, doubt, worry, insecurity, despair, hopelessness, depression, and anxiety. You know. The side of us that often feels unloved, unwanted, unattractive, lonely and undesirable. I bet those moments don’t pop up on your social media highlight reel.
We are afraid to let others see our flaws, insecurities, imperfections, weaknesses, and limitations. Because if others see them, we won’t be perceived as someone who is capable, competent, successful, significant or spectacular. Right?
We fear our flaws and faults will make us unwanted, undesirable, and unworthy of unconditional love, acceptance, and belonging. So we project ‘perceived perfection’ in order to protect ourselves from experiencing the pain and shame of feeling ‘not good enough, not worthy enough and not belonging enough.‘
The Voice of Perfectionism
In her book, I thought it was just me but it isn’t, researcher Dr. Brene Brown calls the voice of perfectionism—shame. She goes on to refer to shame as:
“The fear of disconnection—the fear of being perceived as flawed and unworthy of acceptance and belonging. It’s the culture of shame that keeps us from telling our own stories because it’s driven by fear, blame, and disconnection. And it’s often a powerful incubator for issues like perfectionism.”
So if shame causes us to shrink back from showing up in life as our authentic selves, and if it tells us we aren’t good enough, smart enough, talented enough or worthy enough of unconditional love, acceptance and belonging—how can we silence the voice of shame in our lives? How can we break free from the guise of perfectionism and start living a more authentic, joy-filled life?
According to shame researcher Dr. Brene Brown, we can increase our shame resilience by (1) recognizing the voice of shame and understanding how we are triggered, (2) practicing critical awareness concerning our shame issues, (3) reaching out to others for support and empathy and (4) speaking the truth concerning how we truly feel and asking for the help or support we need.
Many women are simply struggling to meet the social/cultural expectations (or even demands) of what it means to be a successful or perfect wife, mother, employee, and woman. We try to project to the world a perfect: appearance, body, children, marriage, job/career. You know. THE PERFECT LIFE. All so we won’t feel inadequate, insignificant or inferior. And all so we won’t feel the pain or shame of not being good enough.
I don’t know about you but trying to live up to or meet society’s expectations in all of these areas is exhausting and unrealistic. Not to mention unhealthy and utterly ridiculous. Living for the approval or applause of others will always leave you unhappy.
It’s impossible to meet the expectations and approval of everyone. So why aim to please, appease or impress people? I’m choosing to focus on pleasing just ONE. Come on now. Let’s be real. Can you really be all things to all people at all times? What need are you really trying to get met with all that you are trying to project?
When it comes to what we put out to the world, do we portray who we truly are or do we portray who we’d like others to think we are? The question is, why are you trying so hard to control how others perceive you by spotlighting and highlighting all of your awards, achievements, accomplishments, and accolades? Do do actually think you can control how others perceive you?
Why do we expend SO much energy trying to ‘control’ or influence how others perceive us? Let people think what they want. Live your life and be you—unaplogetically. I know this may be easier said than done but I promise you– when you let go of trying to control others perceptions of you—you’ll experience joy and freedom like none other.
Instead of investing all of your energy and time on attempting to “control” others perceptions of you so you can be perceived as being perfect, start investing your time on practicing being at peace with who you over practicing being ‘perfect’ to impress others you know, don’t know, or don’t even like. Ouch!
Dare to be You. Unapologetically!
Friend, if you are reading this and you struggle with loving and accepting who you are—flaws and all, I want you to know you are enough—just as you are. You are loved, wanted, valuable, significant, remarkable —just as you are. And you are worthy of love and belonging—just as you are. In the wise words of Brene Brown,
“True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”
So I encourage you,
- Choose process and progress over perfection.
- View your imperfections and flaws as part of your growth process.
- Choose to view your flaws as gifts because they provide an opportunity for God to step in and cover you with His grace.
- Embrace your vulnerabilities and weaknesses because they provide an opportunity for God to step in and make you strong.
- Choose courage over fear.
- Choose self-compassion over self-hate.
- Choose connection over isolation and disconnection.
- Choose to be seen, heard, and known. Just as you are. Flaws and all.
- Choose to approach God’s throne with confidence and receive the grace and help you need. (Heb. 4:16)
- Discover your sufficiency in God alone. (2 Cor. 3:4-5)
- Rejoice in the fact that Jesus took all your shame with him to the cross so you can be free of all shame. (Heb. 12:2)
- Choose to love you—all of you. Unconditionally and unapologetically.
Be sure you grab this week’s unapologetic guide for being your flawsome self.
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- Interested in similar topics? Be sure to check out part 1, 2, and 3 of this unapologetic series.
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