Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Learning freedom from Perfection

This has been a hard lesson for me, but I think it is for any woman. We are driven to be perfect for all kinds of reasons. To please our family, our friends, teachers, significant others, church, job. 

If you've ever studied Psychology, there is a theory by a Psychologist named Alfred Adler called the Adlerian theory of Family Therapy. In it, he has a distinct idea of how birth order effects a person and is driven based on if they are an only child, oldest, middle, and youngest. I am a classic oldest child. My parents divorced when I was young, and I have a biological younger brother, two stepsisters (via my dad) and three half-sisters (via my mom). I don't see the latter much, but I definitely feel like I have to protect them and guide them a bit!

Trademarks of an oldest child are as follows (from the site): Dethroned by next child. Has to learn to share. Parent expectations are usually very high. Often given responsibility and expected to set an example. May become authoritarian or strict. Feels power is his right. Can become helpful if encouraged. May turn to father after birth of next child.

Yep, I hit all of those growing up! I had great grades, college letters took over an entire storage bin, was a total daddy's girl, my sibling's activities always took precedence over mine, anything they did wrong, I was blamed for because I was the oldest "I should be a role model," I was involved in church usually going three days a week. So I was an over-achiever in every way, rule follower, all of that stuff.

As an adult, I've had to fight against this ideal for myself. My partner is a classic youngest child, so he and I have butted heads a bit on some things and it's an interesting dynamic (my son thinks it's hilarious). I've had to really think about some things, like "Am I doing this because I want to or am I doing this because I believe it's expected of me?"

A lot of what has helped me overcome this has been reading the Word. I find passages that tend to remind me that I should be doing what God wants me to do not what other people expect of me. 

Holley's book have helped a lot on this one for me as well. I've read most of them and am currently reading her latest You're Loved No Matter What: Freeing Your Heart from the Need to Be Perfect. The chapter on guilt hit me. I apologize for everything. I swear, every 20 words out of my mouth is "I'm sorry." It's horrible! And it's generally  not even something that is my fault. My boyfriend is great at trying to help me out of this bubble I've put myself in. Having been around my family for a while, he sees why it's happening and tries hard to make me see that the weight of the world is not on my shoulders. And actually, moving 4 hours away from my family has helped a great deal as they stress me out tremendously. 

I'm learning that I don't have to be perfect. I'm allowed to screw up. I bought a fitmob membership to force myself out of the house and to try new things and I'm terrified but I KNOW it will help. I can't be perfect at things I've never tried and don't really expect to (now watch me freak out when I go anyway). It can't be fixed in a day, or a week, or a month, but I can start putting the puzzle pieces together with prayer and guidance from God.

2 Corinthians 12:9
And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness "Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."

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