The World is Not Enough

I got a raise and a promotion…but why no corner office?

My professor gave my term paper a 96%? Why not a 100%?

I lost fourteen pounds…now if only I could lose two more I’d be perfect.

Perfectionism is – quite frankly – a bitch.

It’s no fun chasing unattainable ideals and pushing ourselves to our every limit to reach them. Our own internal pressures can be hard enough to live up to – but what about when the expectations come from somebody else?

As you know, I brought The Coach home to meet my family this weekend. Granted, I wasn’t planning on doing that for quite some time, seeing as we’re one day shy of our official one month anniversary…but they kept asking me to introduce him, so I obliged – and he sweetly agreed.

My grandparents found him as wonderful as I do; my mother, on the other hand, had her nose in the air all night. I absolutely love this woman, yet I’m constantly frustrated with her inability to be pleased. His compliments, polite conversation, and thoughtful gestures were hardly noticed, yet she honed in on our joking banter and told me I should be offended by his sarcasm.

Let’s stop talking about a man for a moment. There are plenty of other instances when what we feel is our best for ourselves is not seen as the best by someone else. Personal friends and even a few readers have told me how pressured they feel by parents, spouses, or well-intentioned friends in various areas of their personal lives such as careers, family, and relationships. Loaded statements eat away at us until we begin to doubt ourselves, and that is the moment where things begin to fall apart.

We push ourselves to absurd and often unhealthy lengths to appease these people. We suddenly become so willing to become somebody we are not – be it a domestic goddess, a supermom, a business maven, a gym rat, or a number of other personas. We force ourselves to adopt characteristics that don’t mesh with our core identity and over time, misery and resentment are the outcome – not a sudden emergence as Superwoman.

There will always be people for whom everything is one step short of satisfactory. To break the chains of inadequacy, security in ourselves is essential. Our best is enough. We are in no way, shape, or form under any obligation to live up to another’s standards. While there is a great deal of wisdom to be found in the opinions of others, there is no requirement to restructure our lives or ourselves based on another’s comments.


14 Comments on “The World is Not Enough”

  1. Perfectionism IS a bitch.

    When my ex-boyfriend and I started dating, my step-dad didn’t like him because he was too nice and that made him seem not “manly” enough. You can’t win with everyone.

  2. Therese says:

    Well said, Faith! There’s always going to be someone to question our choices, what’s more important is that we’re confident in the choices we make.

  3. Perfectionism is a bitch! I am my own worst enemy when it comes to this.

  4. Britta says:

    Well written. And just to think…that in this very moment, despite all that we (and others) want to be different about it…everything is still just exactly as it is, and therefore, as it should be. Perfectly in its place.

    It’s only when we start to tell ourselves, “It should be different” that we begin to struggle against the moment. And to struggle against the moment is to struggle against reality.

    Keep on keepin in real, girl 🙂

  5. I am definitely a perfectionist, but not as extreme as I have been in the past. This is a great post!

  6. NySoonerGirl says:

    My mom does the same thing, but about diet, exercise, weight, etc. I finally had to tell her that I don’t want to hear that kind of talk and that she needs to find another outlet. I also tried forcing her to say something positive about each person on a TV show after she made a negative comment about the main actress’ gap tooth. It wasn’t easy for her and I don’t think it helped her realize what she does. But I do think it forced her to realize that I won’t put up with it anymore. Best of luck dealing with this!

  7. you have worded this so well!
    I am going through the same thing with my mom and boyfriend…and we have been dating for FOUR YEARS. Every other family member I have has given us their “blessing” but my mom continues to criticize him. In fact, she says the exact same thing as your mom- that he is too sarcastic! It is so stressful…I have a hard time even bringing him up when I talk to her, and that sucks. I know that the moment I mention him, she will have some criticism, and she rarely asks about him.
    Are you going to talk to your mom about this? I would love to know if you have some tips or anything about what to say to a parent about a situation like this…

    • Faith says:

      Sonia, I’m really not sure. Things are still so new that I really feel like before I go head to head with her on this, I should have a bit more to stand behind. If I do end up opening my mouth, I’ll be sure to write about it. I hope things eventually level out with your family/man situation too 🙂

  8. Great post…I’ve been told to strive for excellence not perfection 😉

  9. Krista says:

    Good post, Faith. I think it’s relly important that we stay true to ourselves as best as we can. Hopefully your Mom will come around!

  10. Well said! I have to tell myself to chill out sometimes, because I have a megalomaniac streak in me. But sometimes it rears its head because I’ll start getting scared that if I don’t achieve everything, I’ll achieve nothing.

    You really hit the nail on the head.

  11. There will always be someone who is not happy with our choices, but I have learned not to care. The only thing that matters is my own happinness 🙂

  12. I needed to read this post. Somehow I always find myself pushing for perfection.

    I never get there. Maybe just “great” should be enough!

    Ps, love your blog!

  13. […] all know a Negative Nelly. I’ve written before about people that are seemingly impossible to please and how to beat the negative effects they have on our own mentality…but what happens if we’re […]

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