I’m sure you’ve heard in one place or another how procrastination is just perfectionism in different clothes. But I think many of us miss digging deeper and asking why perfectionism has space in our lives in the first place.
Perfectionism is a poisonous pattern that grows when seeds of rejection are sown into our most vulnerable moments.
When we’ve decided to care for others and they’ve communicated to us in one way or another that it wasn’t good enough for them, the seed is sown. When we decide to care more about caring for our mental health on a "down" day instead of perfectly performing for others, the seed is sown. When we give our best to the ones around us and their first response is to laugh, criticize, or mock our efforts, the seed is sown.
When seeds are sown, nothing spectacular happens right away. There’s no fireworks or alarm. They just sit in the ground…until they don’t. When seeds of rejection find their perfect environment we don’t know when the harvest comes and sometimes the fruit of things planted in our heart is bitter. For many of us, those seeds of rejection were sown in moments we can’t recall. For a while, we probably feel fine but then our interactions change, and instead of enjoying relationships we crave them for our self-esteem. Our brain shifts from thinking from “I want to do this well because I love them” to “I need to do this well or they won't love me” and that quickly, the opinions of others become how you measure your worth.
What would it mean for someone to reject you? To say, “I don’t want you and I don’t like you” would you break down? Would you still love yourself?
I’m not here to provide a lesson on self-love (though that would probably be helpful). I am here to tell you that what you’re looking for in the people around you, you won't find. The acceptance will never be enough and rejection will bring you back to the same dark places.
What happened ? Where did things go wrong? When did you stop thinking you were worth being loved for who you are and not what you do? Did you ever think you were worth it?
There’s no quick fix to addressing the damage your self-esteem has endured, but you can always start the journey toward healing. This is your opportunity. Talk to a friend, give therapy a chance, journal, or spend some time thinking about where you are and where you hope to be.
Until the Circle Comes Back Around,