Monday, July 14, 2014

Perfectionist

Today, I have been feeling blue. It's been happening more than I can publicly admit and it's easy for me to blame it on postpartum troubles or on Chase.
It's not just waking up on the wrong side of the bed, but it has been months of too many bad days.
I have had great memories and great moments over these past months and that's an obvious observation (aka what I post on this blog is full of love and eternal worth). It's crazy to feel down in the dumps when there is so much to be grateful for and so much goodness in my life, right? But there is definitely something going on with me. I almost feel like I have no control over these spiraling emotions.
It is a strength of mine and a weakness of mine that I strive for perfection.
I have controlling tendencies and a standard of perfection. I expect perfection from myself, my spouse, my friends, and my life. It is ridiculous. We live in an imperfect world and I am not perfect.

However, we have hope because we can become perfect in Christ.

I decided that I needed to feel that inner joy that only can come from within your own heart as you feel God's love. So I told myself that I would sit on my bed until I was able to feel that happiness.
I had my scriptures, my ensigns, my journal, my marriage book, my recreational novel, my old mission letters from chase, my patriarchal blessing, and other goodies- I was not budging until my heart opened and let in the Spirit (of course I did have to get up for the doorbell and phone- i am on shift after all). But this hiatus from distractions made for an incredible afternoon.
And Capri cooperated quiet nicely by napping for the last 2 hours and she is still snoozing away.

I didn't know exactly "what" was wrong, but I want this rough patch to end and the only two sources that can make that happen are myself and Deity.
I started off with a prayer spoken out-loud of gratitude and yearning before I turned the pages searching for my answer.
The chapter I read in Alma was enlightening, the visiting teaching message was great, my journal entry was uplifting, my patriarchal blessing spoke to me, and then i reached this article in the Ensign and I truly know my prayers were answered.
I don't feel as lost and hopeless after this gospel study. I heard God's voice and now know how I need to improve.

I hope this article (Becoming Perfect in Christ by Elder Gerrit W. Gong in this July 2014 Ensign) can be an answer to your prayers as it most definitely was to mine.

I would read the WHOLE thing with a prayer in your heart but these are the words I especially needed to hear:

A misunderstanding of what it means to be perfect can result in perfectionism—an attitude or behavior that takes an admirable desire to be good and turns it into an unrealistic expectation to be perfect now.             
Perfectionism sometimes arises from the feeling that only those who are perfect deserve to be loved or that we do not deserve to be happy unless we are perfect.

.......

We also impose expectations of perfection in our own homes. A father or mother may feel compelled to be the perfect spouse, parent, homemaker, breadwinner, or part of a perfect Latter-day Saint family—now.
What helps those who battle perfectionist tendencies? Open-ended, supportive inquiries communicate acceptance and love. They invite others to focus on the positive. They allow us to define what we feel is going well. Family and friends can avoid competitive comparisons and instead offer sincere encouragement.
.......
Of course, we should consider qualities we desire in ourselves and in a potential spouse. We should maintain our highest hopes and standards. But if we are humble, we will be surprised by goodness in unexpected places, and we may create opportunities to grow closer to someone who, like us, is not perfect.
.......
The wait for a perfect spouse, perfect education, perfect job, or perfect house will be long and lonely.
......
For those who may feel chronically burdened or anxious, sincerely ask yourself, “Do I define perfection and success by the doctrines of the Savior’s atoning love or by the world’s standards? Do I measure success orfailure by the Holy Ghost confirming my righteous desires or by some worldly standard?”
For those who feel physically or emotionally exhausted, start getting regular sleep and rest, and make time to eat and relax. Recognize that being busy is not the same as being worthy, and being worthy does not require perfection.5
.......
For those prone to see their own weaknesses or shortcomings, celebrate with gratitude the things you do well, however large or small.
......
Where needed and appropriate, seek spiritual counsel or competent medical attention to help you relax, develop positive ways to think and structure your life, reduce self-defeating behaviors, and experience and express more gratitude.6
I will start being more grateful now! I am grateful for all my temporal blessings: two jobs that support this family, the bright future through a college education, a comfortable house, transportation, good budgeting, and family vacations. I am grateful for the love and persistence of Chase. He cares for me every day no matter my crazy. We have the most beautiful daughter that fills my heart with pure love. We have the ability to have more children and give all our love to our family. We have a HUGE extended family that we both love and enjoy spending time with. I am grateful for my in-laws and he is grateful for his. I have a strong physical body that can do anything I put my mind to. We live in a beautiful state with beautiful mountains and outdoor activities. 
As I sit here with all this gratitude, I can't imagine ever feeling depressed again. But i can't replace my controlling habits overnight, so I'm sure I'll be here tomorrow and the next day waiting for those happy thoughts and grateful reminders to envelope me again. This gospel is the way to a happy life and I am so grateful I believe, know, and absorb the love that God has to offer. 

2 comments:

Emily Bateman said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!! I love that you said only two people could make the change-- you and God. How often do I go to a wrong source for validation?? Like all the time. Thanks again.

Mom said...

I have read this a couple of times now. I am grateful for your insights. You are a blessing in my life and I thank Heavenly Father for you every day.