On most Tuesdays I take part in a tweet chat of the #Customerlove community on Twitter. It’s a group of business people who want to help each other to be better at loving their customers. (And I heartily recommend that you check out the website…)
Tonight’s chat was Halloween-inspired, and was all about fear. Business-related, but so often business matters can be very personal.
So I fell to reflecting on the big scary monsters in my life, and what I was doing to confound them. And I realised that writing this blog has been a process of confounding one very major monster in my life - a fear of appearing vulnerable or flakey, based on the belief that only perfection is loveable.
Perfectionism is a recognised trait in bring kids. And whether or not I was particularly bright, I certainly excelled at perfectionism from an early age. And I think that from an early age I associated love and approbation with doing things (mostly academic things) very well. I am sure I received love at other times too, but in my mind, the love I got for doing things well was somehow more important. It mattered more.
Of course, perfectionism is a high benchmark. Unachievable, in fact. And I always knew that, secretly. Which is why being SEEN to be practically perfect was so important. I knew the awful truth - I was not and could never be perfect, no matter how much I tried. But if only perfection was loveable… Cue a whole lot of pretending, shielding and hiding away.
But when I started writing here, the pretending went away. Through writing this blog, I am learning to be honest. I am learning to be vulnerable.
If you struggle with a similar issue, then I have a word of encouragement for you. It is SO much easier living without the pretending. So much less mental effort is required! So keep going. Keep allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Because it is the vulnerabilities, and your honesty in admitting to them, that makes you loveable.