Without realising it, I've spent years seeking perfection in everything I do. Trying to always be the best, going above and beyond and knowing as much as I can on particular subjects, so that those around me provide the affirmation needed for me to feel wanted and loved.
But there's two major flaws here. Through ongoing treatment for CPTSD, I learnt about core beliefs and found out that mine were broken (I've mentioned this in previous posts).
I'm not good enough
There was a subconscious need to always seek approval and thanks from other people by pushing myself as I was unable to believe in these statements myself. On top of this, the desire for approval meant I was pushing myself to boundaries that were unachievable, down the unachievable road to perfection.
Everything I did at home or at work had to be perfect. Whether it was cooking dinner, sorting something in the garden, cleaning the car or writing a document for someone, in my head it had to be 100% spot on and error free. When of course it wasn't 100% in someone else's eyes, the self doubt crept back in and the core beliefs were re-enforced to remind me how useless I was. Rinse and repeat over many years and you have a key trigger to depression.
The Wake Up Call
Towards the end of 2020, I came across a self help neurolinguistics programming course online to silence the inner critic, spending 4 weeks carrying out specific daily exercises to change my thought patterns and develop a new self appreciation. Learning new techniques that it's ok just to be good enough, that its ok to be wrong and nothing has to be perfect, because perfection doesn't exist. The utopian moment of realisation that we all see things differently and when someone finds a flaw in something you've done should be seen as just that. Different views, different experiences and knowledge empower us to help others and provide input so we can lift them up and pass on what we've learnt. Of course there's always the negative responses we receive from some people, especially online, but try to remember that's their problem not yours.
As with all of these things I'm learning throughout my journey, it's not an overnight success and I have to be patient that sometimes my immediate response to what I call "failure" are just an echo of past feelings. Some days will feel like I've made two steps forward and three steps back, but that's ok, and it won't always go right. They key thing is being able to recognise when it starts to take a toll and implement 'self care'.
It's the best feeling in the world to feel good enough when you've spent most of your life feeling the opposite. Being able to now document my experiences also provides a gentle reminder to myself and hopefully to others that when things appear at their worst and you feel hopeless, no matter what you do, it's enough and it doesn't have to be perfect, because that doesn't exist.