Potentially Perfect: Living Up to Warped Expectations

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To be perfect is to have all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be. For a very long time, I believed that, if I worked hard enough, I would eventually reach a point of perfectionism… in all areas of my life, from the breakfast I made in the morning (or prepared the night before) to the matching PJ’s I wore at night. I also believed that, if I never reached this goal, I would automatically become a failure – someone to be looked down on and shamed. Because of this belief, I lived most of my life with warped expectations, mainly of myself but also of others, and quickly developed major misconceptions about how the world saw me, as a result.

As a child and teenager, I subconsciously created protective personas that would better hide my “flaws” and “imperfections”. I worked hard and endlessly to look and act the part, putting my “inspirations” on unwarranted pedestals and giving myself a real hard time if ever I slipped out of line. I felt conflicted inside, but I didn’t exactly know this at the time, or have any insight as to why what I was doing and where I was felt so wrong. What I did know was that there didn’t seem to be any other option. I knew I was somewhat trapped, and I knew I had to play a game to survive in my environment. Of course, I’m referring to parts of school and my home life here, but I also think this reference actually relates to much broader aspects of growing up in a heavily Westernised society.

me, aged 15.
Me, aged 15… trying to be a womanly 25 year old… airbrushed and edited to the best of my ability at the time ↑

You see – my school and home life were rife with equally good and bad moments. That much I think can be said for pretty much anyone. The good moments were made up of kindness, empathy, love, humour and friendship. But what made up the bad moments? Well, that side isn’t so clear-cut for me. I can only tell you what I see now, and that is the influence of evil. Now by using the word evil, I don’t mean some weird spirit or the illuminati – I simply mean the underlying lies we have come to believe and sick systems we live our lives by. I fear I’m not making myself clear enough, so let me ask you this: if the media didn’t airbrush celebrities or feed us false photoshopped images, would the girls at your school have been so body-conscious? And now think, how many issues did such insecurities cause?

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I’m truthing here and so judgement is inevitable, but I can think of many, many times where I have been envious of someone I thought to be “prettier” or more “perfect” than me. It’s a horrible, crippling feeling that plenty of us know all too well. Experiencing this doesn’t make us bad people, but failing to even try to understand where it is rooted kind of does. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, things such as traumatic personal experiences, social media and the worrying epidemic of rewarding (not treating) Narcissistic Personality Disorder are all elements I believe to be messing up our expectations and pressuring us to ignore our true identities and explore our purposeful personality traits.

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I learned, or at least told myself, that I wasn’t “good enough” from a very young age. Attempting to be  perfect all the time and constantly failing made me hate myself. And then because I despised myself, I felt easily intimidated and massively vulnerable. Interestingly, this cycle isn’t unique to me or new to the world. In fact, it’s all part of that sick system I told you about. So what is a sick system, exactly? Good question! A sick system, in this case, is a method developed to manipulate and constrain one to thousands of individuals, even to the other participant(s) own detriment. Such systems can be found in  some (but most certainly not all) cults, families, schools, business organisations, governments and even couples.

A sick system can take many forms, but the majority that I have explored and experienced have the following “rules” in common:

Rule 1. Develop and maintain a fake-focus – like a magician, using misdirection to create an illusion.

Rule 2. Keep them overly occupied, allowing no real time for reflection or thought of their own.

Rule 3. Keep them worn-out and over-worked, ensuring no time for valuable questioning.

Rule 4. Only reward intermittently, with strings or follow-up expectations attached.

Rule 5. Ensure an emotional attachment, as this is what encourages loyalty most.

Sound somewhat familiar? Everyone I’ve spoken to face-to-face about this issue can admit that they have at some point, become victim to a sick system. Oddly, this isn’t actually seen as an issue for some – unlike me who refuses to accept that this mass manipulation is just a “part of life” that we have to put up with.

If you’re expecting an answer, solution or quick-fix right about now, then you’ll be disappointed to learn that I don’t have one. However, if you’re hoping to gain some insight into the qualities that keep you in a sick system, you’ll be delighted to learn that I’ve developed another 5-point list for you to keep in mind when you feel stuck, misunderstood or covertly influenced:

1. Hope

2. Self-sacrifice 

3. An empathic nature 

4. Desperation

5. Insecurity 

None of the above qualities are, in my view, “bad”. I’d much more willingly describe them as “good”, but only in certain circumstances. I don’t believe you have to lose any of them, but I do strongly encourage you to work on balancing them if you feel as though these are “weak points” that enable you to be easily manipulated or controlled. After all, it can be real easy to confuse your true identity with a protective persona and buy into the lie that perfection is a realistic perspective, let alone one we should be striving (fighting) for! 

Can you relate to any of the points raised in this post? Share your experience, story or opinion using the comments section below and remember, I always welcome feedback warmly 🙂

Lots of love,

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Images/reading resources:

Celebrities Before and After Photoshop

Fashion Lady – Gaga Leaked

 

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