I have thought a long time on how to start this particular post. Perfectly imperfect is something that I have wanted to express in the best possible way, because it is something I feel pretty strongly about. However keeping with the topic of this post, I just decided to go for it and whatever comes out is whatever comes out.
I had a disease that I have seen plague a lot of people I know. I thought I had to be perfect. I would look at the verse in the scriptures that states, “be ye perfect even as I am” and think everything about me and my life had to be perfect. When I would fail, like we all do, because that is part of our mortal experience, I would feel like a huge failure. The symptoms of huge failure go something like this: guilt, depression, degrading myself, comparing myself to my ‘perfect’ friends, trying to repent for everything, looking at my life like it is a failure because I am not perfect, and so forth. Let me just say, life was not a lot of fun or very rewarding.
I found myself pulling in. I found myself avoiding anything that would cause me to fail. I found myself not living. I found myself completely unhappy. Sounds like a great way to live right? Not so much. As much as I would try to apply the principles of the Atonement in my life, they would not stick, because within my heart I was trying to be something that I never can be, at least not in this life,….perfect.
Life is meant to be lived, experienced, failures felt, lessons learned, and most importantly joy felt. We have been told in the Book of Mormon that “Adam fell that men might be. And men are that they might have joy.” (2 Nephi 2:25) That scripture tells us so much about how to live and how to become who we are. We are here to make mistakes (not always on purpose mind you). We are here to fall down and get back up. We are here to learn this mortal thing. In doing so, we find our joy. Stretching, reaching, tripping, falling are all part of finding joy. There is not one word in that scripture that said, “Adam was perfect.”
I am blessed to have had the opportunity to spend some time with a couple of hypnotherapists (I am so blessed that one is pretty hot and I am married to him, but that is another story). Through time spent in their care I was able to learn the thoughts that I had that were dictating my perfectionism disease (it is truly that, a disease). Before the hypnotherapy, try as I might to get out of the perfectionism cycle, I could not. I would be happy for a few days, make a little mistake and be sent back into the pit of despair. Facing the underlying thoughts that brought on this disease in my mind, I learned that there is one who does not want any part of me to be happy. He is not on my team.
I learned that the adversary is really good at what he does. He is a force to be reckoned with for sure. We are so blessed to have the Savior on our team, because without Him I never could have let go and be healed from the disease of perfectionism. The adversary uses the truths that the Savior teaches and twists them just enough to make us miserable like he himself is. He does not want any of us to live and have joy. He has refined the perfectionism disease so well, we don’t even realize that it is his influence that is ailing us. It is a sad reality in so many lives….mine included.
After I challenged the underlying thoughts that told me I needed to be perfect to be happy and more importantly get back to my Heavenly Father, I realized that it is one of the best things in this life to perfectly imperfect. It is more than okay to fall down, trip (I am good at both of these things), make mistakes, try new things and LEARN! That is one of the most liberating things I have ever experienced. I am free to learn and have joy. It is a beautiful experience.
So daily I try new things. I actually finish things I have started. I love to watch my family grow in our mistakes and experiences. I smile a lot more. I know that my Heavenly Father wants me to be happy in all of this. I know that Jesus Christ is there when I need to repent. I know They are both there when I share my experiences with Them. Most importantly I know more now than ever that imperfection is what They love, because it helps us become more like them.