My name is Ariel, and I’m a perfectionist. Struggled with it all my life. Most of my major issues can be traced back to my perfectionism.
I start my post with a nod to AA only half-jokingly—I believe perfectionism really is a pattern of addictive behavior. Brene Brown, one of my new favorite people, agrees with me. In her book The Gifts of Imperfection, she defines perfectionism like this:
Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.
….Perfectionism is addictive because when we invariably do experience shame, judgment, and blame, we often believe it’s because we weren’t perfect enough. So rather than questioning the faulty logic of perfectionism, we become even more entrenched in our quest to live, look, and do everything just right. (pg. 57)
How exhausting. And not only that, but she goes on to explain that perfectionism stifles creativity, and stifled creativity leads to frustration, hopelessness, discontent, and basically a life that is very unhappy.
Those feelings are familiar to me. Lately I’ve been feeling more of an urge to WRITE. To tell my story in my own words in my own way. But I’ve been allowing those limiting beliefs of perfectionism to hold me back, and I’ve been getting sick of it—sick of letting my fear of shame hold me back from doing what I want to do and accomplishing what I want to accomplish. So I’m going to do something about it.
I was talking to my friend Tyler the other night after a wonderful art presentation by some very talented members of our young single adult ward. We were talking about art and our writing, and I told him my dream is to be a positive voice, a voice of faith, for young single adults who are navigating this stage of life that perhaps they didn’t expect to be in for very long. I don’t profess to have any special qualifications, but I do know that everyone’s story has power. I want to narrate mine as it happens in hopes that it will help someone else know they’re not alone and that we can cultivate lives of joy and meaning in whatever stage we’re in through faith in Jesus Christ.
I imagine I’ll talk about spiritual insights, dealing with doubts, things that make me happy, grief, change, dreams and goals, TED talks, mission memories, finances, family, awesome adventures, and maybe even DATING, occasionally (which is about how often that happens in my life right now, haha). Writing, like any other kind of creation and art, helps us to transcend our experiences by making them meaningful to others.
So maybe you think that’s a stupid dream. That’s fine. But it’s my dream, and I like it.
So this is me being brave. This is me taking a chance and putting myself out there. This is me acting and having the courage to make the changes in my life that will lead to greater fulfillment and help me become the person God knows I can be. Dang, I’m scared. But one of the great lessons I’ve learned over the past few years is that the process has power—the act of doing and learning can be just as valuable as the final product itself.
After our conversation, my friend Tyler sent me a link to his blog and said, “Here it is in all its unfinished glory.” And I thought, That’s IT! That’s the title of my blog! My posts may be too long or too short. Too dramatic or too boring. Unfinished and imperfect. But isn’t that like all of us? Unfinished and still learning. Weak, but made strong through Jesus Christ, making mistakes, getting back up, and growing and progressing in our journey back to Him.
So join me—don’t give in to those negative voices. Don’t give up on your dreams. Don’t let your fear of what you lack keep you from sharing what you have. Tell YOUR story. Own it, and let the past fuel you instead of holding you back. Let’s do it together, with our Savior walking with us all the way.
So here we are, and here’s to us in our unfinished glory.