I was laying in bed, looking at my iPhone and saw a post from a college friend. I love her! She’s one of those people who have had their unfair share of “I could never handle that” type trials, yet she is faithful and overcomes them as they fall in her path.
She’s starting a blog that shares “the good, the bad, and the ugly”. She said she once had a blog that only shared the good. It was her “virtual life”. She felt like she had to appear perfect, but now she’s different.
I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and now I’m sitting at the computer typing this letter in hopes that you will learn what I wish I would have known sooner.
Trying to appear perfect will only hinder you. Be the REAL you. The imperfect, amazing girls you are!
I used to think I had to be perfect. I thought there were people that were perfect and I wanted to be in that same realm. The quest for perfection is the right road, it’s good to want to be better, but it’s not good to want to appear perfect on the account of what others think of you. God is the only one you need to worry about pleasing, and He’s pretty hard to put a show on for. He knows and loves the real you! If you are real, the other relationships in your life will fall into place, you will find amazing and lasting friendships, and you will be comfortable in your own skin.
I remember in my teen years hating the hair on my arms. I tried shaving it off, waxing it off, I wanted to do something, anything. It drove me nuts! I felt like everybody was looking at my arms, noticing them, and thinking I had hairy gorilla arms. Although I was an active and healthy athlete with a healthy body, I would wear a coat all day at school because I felt my body didn’t match the “perfect” body I aspired to in my mind. I was insecure about the peach fuzz on my face. I wanted blue eyes, not brown. The list went on.
Sadly, I picked myself apart.
I appeared, and honestly was very confident about most things, but some of these things haunted me. There wasn’t a day that I wouldn’t think about something I didn’t like about my physical self.
This lasted through college. Every time I’d pass a mirror, I’d think a negative thought.
And then the best thing happened to me. I married a man, your dad, that loved me completely. When he was close to me looking at the side of my face, I remember the insecurity that would wash over me and I’d shy away because I didn’t want him to see the peach fuzz on my face. (It makes me laugh thinking about it now, but it sure didn’t then.) After months of him reassuring me that he liked me just the way I was, I finally started believing him.
I felt like I was enough. I stopped glancing in every mirror I passed. It felt so good! It was like the ball and chain had been cut off my ankle and I was free!
I had overcome one hurdle, but a new one was thrown in my path. As a new wife, I wanted to be the perfect wife. I wanted to cook just right, I wanted a perfectly clean house, I wanted my home decorated to perfection. I was headed down that undesirable perfection road again.
I found myself wanting others to see me for my intentions instead of the real me, which doesn’t seem bad, but it can become crippling. It would make my insides turn when people would see our home with unfolded laundry, dirty dishes, dusty shelves, un-vacuumed floors, booby trap floors scattered with toys. I would cringe when people saw our car when the door was opened and the locker room on wheels was unveiled. I always felt like I needed to explain why things weren’t just so. In social situations, I would worry that I said everything just right. I didn’t want to offend anyone, and to be honest, I wanted them to think I was great!
I wanted to be perfect, and when I was less than perfect, it made me uncomfortable.
Through time and many many life lessons, I have learned a lot since! I have learned to let go….A LOT actually! I’ve let go of what people might think of me or that I might be judged. I’ve let go of the need to be and appear perfect right now, and I’ve learned to enjoy the journey of becoming. The journey is so much sweeter when you let people see the full you and they let you see the full them, struggles and weaknesses included! Your insecurities, pride, and selfishness slip away, and are replaced with peace, hope, and a whole lot more fun! Your friendships are deeper and your confidence is greater! Believe me, I’ve experienced both!
Love yourself completely girls and find a man and friends that will do the same! You’re perfectly imperfect just like all the people that surround you! Our struggles, our weaknesses, and our shortcomings are part of who we are. Our goal is to overcome them throughout life, it can’t happen all at once and the sooner you believe that the better. It’s okay to let others in, and join you on your journey to become.
Everyone has a story and you often only see the cover page. It doesn’t matter how perfect they seem, or what their Facebook page looks like, they are not perfect. In this world of selfies and social media, always remember that pictures can’t and won’t ever tell the full story. You’d never compare a huge series of books that you’ve read cover to cover with a book that you’ve only seen the cover or chapter headings to, so don’t compare yourself to others. It’s the same concept.
Don’t expect yourself to be perfect, just expect progress. As a young teen, I know my life would have been so much richer had I taken that ball and chain off earlier and loved myself completely sooner. As a young wife, I needed to allow myself time to become. How was I supposed to be the perfect wife without time and experience under my belt?
Girls I know you have my oh so strong “people pleasing” genetic that runs strong in our family, but please learn from me and my friend: Be real, let people in, and enjoy your journey of becoming!
I love you!
This article appeared first on Real Imprints.
Note from the Author: “Dear Girls” are letters I write to my girls about things I want them to know and remember on their journey through life. My hope is that it will help them, and ALL girls, know how awesome life and being a girl can be! I read every letter I write to my girls. Letters can sometimes communicate things better than anything else. I love reading these letters to my girls and the discussions we have as a result. My hope is that it will spark many memorable conversations in this household of estrogen overload!:-)