Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Perfection

Something I have come to realize over the past few years is that we, as women, are way too hard on ourselves. We have this unrealistic expectation of who we should be, or who we want others to see us as. Isn't it all really just about perception... How we view ourselves, how others view us, and then how we THINK others view us? I have a feeling that these three distinct perceptions never match. There is so much hype about living an authentic life, and I guess maybe the answer to being authentic (if there is one) is striving to weave all of these together so that they are one. People say they don't care about what others think of them, but I think those people are liars.
There is so much pressure in today's society to be perfect, the perfect wife, mom, employee, friend etc. Just the other day I received a trial offer in the mail from Martha Stewart's New Magazine "Blueprint". It boasted that it would teach me how to buy better groceries, host a perfect dinner party, find the best dress, and get the prettiest face. Those words: perfect, best, prettiest; society would have us believe that is what we are suppose to acheive.
I'm not even sure what my point with this rambling post is, but Bonnie's post from today "Not Enough Time" got me thinking about all these expectations we have of ourselves, or think others have of us and how unfortunate it is that we can never seem to be satisfied with good enough.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can remember feeling that way in my 20's & 30's.. but the good thing daughter dear is that after going through your 40's and then into your 50's those things that used to need to be perfect in your life or were "so important" in life no longer seem that way. The house doesn't need to be so clean, the clothes don't need to all be from Daytons and perfectly matched, you don't need to live up to your friends status of living or have the bestest house or the newest car... you become way more content to just have a simple life and your biggest desire is to just have days that are totally stress free. You even go to Target without mascara or lipstick on... You look at your job as "it's just a job" and go home and forget all about your day there . . . Your best friends in life are those that you made in your 20's & 30's and you can hook up again after not seeing them for 5 or 10 yrs and immediately just pick back up... both of you somewhat saggier, fatter but basically a whole lot happier cuz those days for the need to be perfect or in competition are long gone... Plus, you find you are way less judgmental..so I believe there is some truth in people saying they don't really care what others think...cuz by then it just is what it is .. and you enjoy watching the sunset over the lake or going for a drive in the country on a snowy day just to take the view all in.... things like that you even noticed before and now you just stop and go wow... I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes..."Blessed is the woman who expects nothing, for she shall not be disappointed". LIfe is just much easier that way.

Erin said...

Amen! I have had numerous conversations about this topic. My current belief is that while a person can HAVE it all...a person cannot do it all well or perfectly. Something has got to give or got to go. I guess I'd rather to a few things really well instead of doing everything in a mediocre fashion. The word "priority" has never meant so much to me! (Off my soapbox)

Ria said...

It's funny to hear those words from my mom, since she is one of those people for whom I always feel I don't quite measure up...kids hair not right, kids not dressed cute enough, kids not behaved well enough, house not clean enough etc. etc.
I guess it is a perfect example of one of those discrepancies between how she sees me and how I THINK she sees me.
Mom...I specifically remember you telling me when I was younger that you should always try and look your best every time you went out of the house because you never know who you might see! While I don't always (okay, almost never) follow that advice, it is always in the back of my mind and I can sometimes feel myself passing that attitude on to Katelyn. I know I can be very judgemental of her and I don't want her growing up feeling like she doesn't measure up for me. I want her to always know she is "good enough" no matter what and I don't think I am doing a very good job of it so far.

Anonymous said...

Like I said, I used to think and evidently say those things back in my 20's and 30's when you were younger....i don't think i've said those things to you lately...I've seen how you leave the house... ha ha.....and my viewpoint was about how i see myself and my life now at this stage...and how "good enough" can change in a woman's life given the situations she has found herself in along the way and generally just how aging can soften and mellow out a person's view of themselves and what is "good enough" - - - I can clearly remember noticing that my Dad had mellowed out in life as he aged and I know his good enough bar was considerably lower in his later years... that was my point.

As far as our own children go, I've seen both sides working at the HS for 10 yrs... those parents where good enough was never enough and those with no expectations of their kids and it showed in every aspect ...their grades, how they respected staff members, their "bus drivers" (wink), and yes, even how they dressed and presented themselves in public...

I think it's based on our desire to see them have a better childhood experience than we felt we had, or to not make the same mistakes we made growing up that have life long consequences, or just simply we KNOW they can do better than the effort they are putting forth. What I see as an observer with Kate is that you know she can do better but she simply doesn't care or see the need to even want to... so then the question is do you really want her to feel that her effort was good enough when you know it could be better? I think each child may respond differently to that. It certainly appears it's something you've carried with you in life.

Maybe the best approach as a parent is to just lead by example like we are called to do ... and by doing so, whatever is good enough for you at that stage of your life will become what is good enough for your child at that time as well. I think in the end, you just have to look back and say you did the best job you could given the circumstances you found yourself in at that point in life. No Guilt.

My main point was that I think good enough changes for a person in every phase of life --- You're a good mother..... you measure up...enjoy it... every kid eventually needs therapy from their childhood for one reason or another ! Now quit being like your Mother and over analyzing everything !! ha ha... I'm starting to feel like I'm on "The View" here ----- Gotta go call Dr. Phil again...

TBRKO said...

This is so fascinating. I would love to know how or why I feel like I never measure up. My parents never once criticized what I wore or anything. My dad said I had too much make up on a few times, but what dad doesn't??
I always--from day one--felt that they should care more about how they presented themselves in public, etc. Interesting.....

Ria said...

:)

Anonymous said...

and what's really interesting is that you two girls were both popular, attractive, active, and seemingly very happy and normal during high school and have both gone on to have stable, productive lives... yet you both feel like you could never measure up ....makes me wonder what all those other kids out there that didn't have your attributes must feel like now that they are 30 somethings....

TBRKO said...

Good point. I have always been very happy with life, etc. But when push comes to shove, there are many insecurities. I want to say that if we didn't have any there would be cause to worry! That seems to be human nature huh?
My other theory is that maybe if you are viewed as pretty, popular, skinny, etc for so long, it becomes part of our identity subconsciously. One day when we grow up and have kids and don't feel too pretty/skinny/etc, we realize that maybe all that stuff mattered more than we ever knew it did.
I never really cared about my appearance. I sure got a lot of attention for being small though. Now that I am no longer "small" by my old standards, I feel subconscious of it.
Maybe we need therapy! Or then again, maybe we are ahead of the game for taking time to acknowledge our weaknesses!