Tag Archives: bingeing

Demanding Perfection

Last night, I had a revelation. I still want to be perfect. I am still trying to control how I look, how I appear to others. I want everything I do to be perfect.

Because I want to be liked and respected. Because I want to feel good. And because, more to the point, I don’t want to feel bad.

Last night, I was experiencing that bad feeling. For the first time, instead of ignoring it by doing or eating or watching TV, I decided to sit with the feeling. I actually listened to myself.

Later, as I opened up to my aunt, I began to cry. “It’s exhausting trying to be so perfect all the time,” I sobbed. “But I don’t know how to change.” The thought of being anything less than perfect filled me with anxiety. I honestly didn’t know how to let go.

My aunt held my hand and assured me that simply being aware and wanting change was enough. It would just start to happen. I didn’t have to figure it all out right now.

As I climbed into bed, confused yet willing to finally surrender, I made a list. Part of me was still interested, curious to uncover something deeper. I wrote down five things I wanted or wanted to be. I then asked “Why?” and listed the reasons. I underlined all the key words and totted up the ones that came up most frequently.

Certain wishes kept repeating themselves, like: I want to be respected. I want people to want to be with me. I want to be admired. I want to feel good about myself. I want to be confident. I want to be loved.

I then asked myself if I could give myself any of those things right now, today. If I could love, respect and admire myself, I would feel good about myself and I would be confident. It would be easy and pleasurable to be with myself.

If I could give myself all of these things, I wouldn’t have to try so hard, work so hard, beat myself up so much, worry, stress or doubt myself. I could skip the difficult, exhausting steps that stood between me and what I really want.

What affirmation can I tell myself whenever I feel scared or disgusted with myself, when I push myself too hard or give out to myself for not doing enough?

I love you, Sharon.” Even though I felt ridiculous, I looked myself in the eyes and spoke through the tears: “I love you, Sharon.”

This morning, I pull out pen and paper and start to write. I huff with annoyance because it isn’t perfect. I get out of bed and appraise myself in the full-length mirror. I feel angry because my belly protrudes over too-short pyjama bottoms. Then it hits me.

Would I ever give out to another human being because their pyjamas had shrunk in the wash? No. I feel sorry for this lost little girl who’s grown up believing that she has to be perfect in order to be approved of and loved.

I remember an article I read recently by Brynn Andre. Brynn had freed herself from her food addiction and lost lots of weight. She finally felt good about herself. Until she started to focus on one of her teeth. Her “snaggletooth” was a tooth that was slightly crooked. She fussed over it, stopped smiling, and considered paying out lots of money to fix it.

One day, Brynn visits her poor, sick grandmother who is still so beautiful and dignified. Her grandmother smiles as Brynn enters the room. And then she sees it. Her beautiful grandmother has a snaggletooth too. And she is perfect. Brynn feels foolish. She asks herself if she would ever speak to her grandmother in such an awful, critical manner? The answer was definitely not.

What way are you speaking to yourself? Are your standards ridiculously high? Are you withholding self-love because of your expectations and demands for perfection? Would you ever speak to a child or grandparent that way? Give your inner child some unconditional love. And honour and respect your Higher Self. And the next time you feel angry or dissatisfied with yourself, repeat this mantra: “I love myself completely now.” You deserve your love and gentleness today.

For more articles on perfection, read the following:

Permission to be Imperfect by Dr Lissa Rankin

Perfection is a Disease by Sharon Vogiatzi

Guilt: pleasure’s predictable sequel

From the colourful spectrum of human emotions, guilt is one of the darkest, most uncomfortable, and most destructive. Guilt sneaks up on you like the ghost of an uneasy dream but you’ll sense its presence in the way your chest flounders beneath its heavy weight.

Much like worry, guilt is a pretty superfluous emotion. Maybe it’ll stop you from performing a certain guilt-inducing activity again but, more than likely, like some masochistic idiot, you will do these things again, thus welcoming guilt back into your life like a bittersweet drug habit. Guilt sure makes you feel bad but it doesn’t stop you from snapping at your loved ones, reaching for that large bag of Maltesers, or, instead of going to college, lounging in your pyjamas all day as you consume an entire season of Grey’s Anatomy.

“Unhealthy guilt is an autoimmune disease of the soul that causes us to literally reject our own worth as human beings.” Joan Borysenko

Guilt is a sticky subject. Should we discuss how to deal with guilt or should we simply avoid the activities that lead to this unwelcome emotion? If you have a propensity towards feeling guilty, then most anything you do will cause you some level of this ugly emotion. So, when guilt comes knocking at your door, here’s what to do:

1) Don’t punish yourself further

Okay, so you cheated on your partner/skipped class/ate all the pies/drank too much, but this awful feeling should be enough punishment. Guilt affects you physically and robs you of any enjoyment. You have two options: you can decide never to do these things again, or you can accept that what’s done is done and that feeling guilty about it isn’t going to change anything. So, make peace with yourself and with anyone you may have hurt along the way.

2) Accept it

Accept that this is how you’re feeling right now. It will pass. Don’t fight it or it will tighten its grasp over you. If you stand still with it, you’ll simply slip out of its clutches, relatively unharmed.

3) Don’t run from it

Confront this cunning emotion head on. As it sprays you with its familiar but overpowering perfume, inhale it. Pick out the individual scents and explore how they make you feel. If you do this, you’ll be able to work out why you’re feeling this way and what you can do about it.

4) Question it

Now’s the time to interrogate this crafty mofo. Why are you here? What do you want from me? More than likely, it’ll give you the info you’re seeking. And then you can throw it by the wayside. If you cheated on your beautiful, caring wife, ask yourself why. If you can’t stop your late night bingeing, consider the emotions you’re trying to bury. If you continue with your Call of Duty marathons instead of attending class, maybe this course isn’t for you. Or maybe you can’t get over the label of “lazy so-and-so” your mother attached to you. Or you’re terrified of failure. The only reason we feel bad is to direct us towards change. But it’s too easy to get stuck in the emotion. So, allow it to wash over you, then ask why it’s there.

5) Ignore it

If, after accepting and questioning it, the guilt still persists, ignore it. Like an attention-seeking toddler, it just wants you to fuss over it. But if you ignore it, it’ll get bored, stop its fake wails, and move on to some other poor sucker.

Guilt is one of those bad feelings that will eat away at your insides if you allow it to do so. If you dwell on the “shoulds” or “shouldn’t haves”, you’re just feeding it, giving it more energy, and allowing it to grow. Treat guilt like an important but annoying visitor. Be polite, hand it a cuppa, and chat to it for a while, but if you make the mistake of offering it a meal, a bed, and your undivided attention, no wonder it’s not going to want to leave.

Guilt doesn’t have to be useless. Use it to learn more about yourself. It’s only when you dwell on the guilt that it’ll immobilise you. And recognise when you’re feeling guilty over something that’s not worth worrying about. Don’t take life so seriously. Give yourself permission to indulge in your guilty pleasures. Just don’t wallow in the guilt.

Lady Gaga music videos are just one of my guilty pleasures: