I thought I had to be perfect


I grew up thinking I needed to be perfect. I don’t know where I got this idea and I don’t remember anyone telling me that I needed to be perfect. My self-esteem dropped whenever I did something “wrong”, or if I unintentionally did something that hurt someone else, or if I did not anticipate what someone else needed, etc. My mistakes showed me that I was not a very good person and I felt ashamed of myself. There were many things in my past that I did not want to think about because I was embarrassed about them.

Doing my fourth step of writing down everything in my past, good and bad, was really hard for me. I put it off for many months. But, I really wanted to progress, so I finally made myself write. It took me about 18 months to finish because there was a lot I was ashamed of. This exercise turned out to be a turning point in my life. I learned that I was not as bad as I had thought and that I am doing the best I can where I am and where I was. My shortcomings and defects are plentiful, but I also have strengths. I found that I like myself and I have learned to be more comfortable with myself.

Today, I still make many mistakes. But I am trying to remember “progress, not perfection”. I am human and mortal. Humans make mistakes and that is OK. Today I try to learn from my mistakes and then let them go.

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