(This is the second in a multi part series on my personal journey with what I call perfectionism, you can find the first part in my profile just before this post. I give you the same disclaimer as before, this is pretty raw, you have been warned)
There is an old Everclear song called “Everything to Everyone” and while I might not be the biggest Everclear fan in the world, the song spoke to me, but not in the tongue in cheek way it was meant to.
Because I really thought I could pull it off, I really truly thought that I could be whatever anybody needed me to be.
As I started to understand social dynamics and what it took to navigate through social circumstances in life I learned that in order to be liked all you had to do was adapt. All you had to do was shift a little and people would feel close to you, I learned that you could short circuit relationships by making subtle changes that helped people be comfortable with you.
So I did that, I became whatever it was that I believed people wanted me to be.
If you needed me to be bold, I would be bold.
If you needed me to be understanding, I would be understanding.
If you needed me to be pissed off, I would be pissed off.
If you needed me to be an extravert, I would be an extravert.
If you needed me to be an introvert, I would be an introvert.
You get the idea.
In a lot of ways the ways of the chameleon allowed me to be the perfect friend/partner for whomever I was interacting with at the time.
It allowed me to forge connections with a large number of people. But those connections were mostly built on me adapting to be more like the people I was connecting with.
Which is to say I was able to be what I needed to be to get people to let me in.
But I never really let anyone see me.
(I can count on one hand the number of people who saw through it all to the real person underneath.)
I put on a sheen of perfection and it allowed me to move through social situations with ease.
I put on a show.
The perfect Realtor
The perfect Broker
The perfect Friend
The perfect Husband
The perfect Father
None of these things were true, but I had buried myself so far underneath this persona that I didn’t know any other way to be. So I assumed that my true self was just that, adaptable.
But all of those things take effort. It took so much mental bandwidth just to remember who to be with certain people that I faltered in so many other areas of life.
I was so concerned with being able to have everything I wanted, that I traded simple happiness in one thing for manufactured happiness in many things. Truly no one can be perfect in just one thing, let alone all the things.
In short I have settled for tiny satisfaction in many things, instead of embracing the big things. Which has led me to be emotionally starving.
And so much of my journey so far that many of you have seen has stemmed from this.
I am in the process of shedding Mr Perfect.
Because that is not me.
I do everything I can, sometimes more that I can, but the reality is…
I am not a perfect Realtor.
I am not a perfect Broker.
I am not a perfect Friend.
I am definitely not a perfect Husband.
And I am not a perfect Father.
I’m just me, a work in progress, and right now maybe kind of a mess.
But I feel like, even though it’s painful, even though it hurts to shed the armor that has protected me for so long…
It is time.
Because you can’t live in conflict with yourself and expect to feel good, and I am realizing that so much of my neurosis, the depression, the nerves, the anxiety?
It’s not really me.
But more on that tomorrow.