I’ve always struggled with my self-confidence. I used to step in front of the mirror and pick myself apart. I can remember thinking if I could just reach a higher level of perfection then no one could reject me. Every time I feared being rejected from others, I was first rejecting myself. My desire to be perfect made me my own worst enemy.
This was a perpetual problem that affected every all of my relationships. My relationship with my husband Ben was no different. I tried so hard to be the “perfect” wife after we got married. I wanted to support my family by working, single-handedly manage our home, and take care of our first child without asking for help. And, of course, I would do it all while looking like a beauty queen!
Being “perfect” was exhausting! I would get so frustrated because I wasn’t meeting these unrealistic standards I had set for myself. I would either lash out at Ben or I would retreat into the insecurities some of my previous bad relationships had reinforced. I still can hear the echoes of the lies I once believed about myself: “You are not worthy. You are not good enough. She’s better than you. You are a failure. You’re not attractive. You don’t deserve anything good in your life.”
The words we say to ourselves and to others definitely take a toll. Even though my husband had always been nothing but loving, I would still punish myself for not being “perfect.” Then I would repeat to myself the abusive words I used to hear. I would compare my shortcomings with other people’s strengths to further highlight my flaws. Those negative words then made it even harder for me to accept myself. I would push away my husband, because I didn’t think he would really accept me either.
Then one night my husband looked at me exasperated and said, “You believe in God. He made you, and He doesn’t make mistakes!”
His words floored me. My husband didn’t believe in God at that time, so he tried to connect to me by putting himself in my shoes. It is one of the moments in my life when I felt the most loved. He showed me so much empathy by reminding me of God’s love for me in my moment of hurt.
My husband continued to encourage me in the moments I began to doubt my worth. He reminded me that doing my best is enough. He helped me to remember not to compare myself to others. And he reminded me that, no matter what, he loves me as I am—not for what I am able to do.
I no longer have a desire to be perfect. I can now focus on who I am, instead of what I’m not. If it weren’t for my husband’s loving reminders I would still be running toward a perfect finish line that I could never reach because it doesn’t really exist. We’re all imperfect, that’s what makes us human. I know now what really matters is that I am accepted and loved.