Updated: Jan 1
I think the word “perfect” should be removed from the dictionary. There is no actual definition. I’ve always tried to be perfect, with its elusive and unattainable definition. I’ve always felt shame when I make a mistake. Big or small. Then I’d keep secrets to myself. We’re all so different, but I think we all struggle with sharing our weaknesses and mistakes.
The problem with keeping them to ourselves is that everyone else feels alone. When we don’t share, everyone we love who is going through something similar feels like they are the only ones who struggle with that. OK there are two problems: we’re not just holding onto the secret…we hold onto shame. Shame is a killer. A killer of our self-worth and a killer of our joy. It makes us feel unworthy. When we feel unworthy, we can’t live our best life, and we can’t help others. I know from first-hand experience.
I tend to “overdo” things. It’s just in my nature. I tend to be all or nothing. I’m obsessed about it or I don’t care about it at all. I’m either going a thousand miles an hour or I’m asleep. I like to work hard and play harder. But when I get in “play harder” mode, I overdo it with the vodka, I want to sleep in, I have a headache and I don’t want to go to the gym. I hate myself. Awesome people don’t overdo it with the vodka EVER. Amazing people don’t skip a workout. They don’t eat ever pizza, and they never have dessert, right? Wrong. Everyone has something they struggle with! That makes us human!
We hide things about ourselves we don’t like and things we’re ashamed of because we think if we disclose certain things about ourselves, others will think differently of us.
I spent 4 decades hiding what I wasn’t proud of. And I attracted everyone who did the same. We all have what I call dirty little secrets. AND, one of the biggest A-HA moments I’ve ever had in my LIFE is learning what happens when you just tell the truth. Nobody dies! If we hide everything, we’re not telling the whole story. It takes self acceptance and self-worth to be able to tell the truth. Self worth can only be created from within, and I found ways to do that. That’s what my book is really about. I wanted a husband that loved ALL of me. And there’s no way anyone can love all of me if they only know half the story. He can only love all of me if he knows all of me. You have to be honest to attract real love.
Honesty sets you free!
One of the secrets I held onto was my debt. I didn’t pay taxes for probably four years. I can’t remember how long. As a result, I was $30,000 in debt to the IRS, and I just tried not to think about it…then think about it…feel shame. It’s a vicious cycle. I certainly didn’t tell anyone. Just put the IRS letters in a drawer…ashamed and embarrassed. No one will want to marry me with this much debt.
Because the truth is, keeping secrets steals our power. We often can’t think of anything else. We’re trapped. We’re playing that same bad decision or scenario or situation over and over and over in our mind. We’re locked in the shame of the past, which makes it impossible to live in the present moment or visualize the future we want to create.
As a result, I was pretending to be someone I wasn’t. I was pretending I was financially secure. I wasn’t worried. I wasn’t in debt. “Sure, I’d go out, have fun, and pretend like everything was OK. I wasn’t being honest. Which kept me in the pattern of attracting people who were pretending everything was OK. That’s how it works.
Last week, I talked to a friend who has been going through some tough times for an entire HOUR before she told me her husband wasn’t supportive. There it is. It took her an entire hour to reveal the actual problem. She doesn’t want anyone to know she’s fighting with her husband. She wants a perfect marriage! I get it! Don’t we all! So the first thing I did was tell her about John and my fighting. Everyone fights. Everyone is a jerk sometimes. Including ourselves, including the people we love the most. If I pretended that John and I never argue and my marriage was perfect, she would feel isolated. Sharing actually HELPS others who are be going through the same situation — holding on tightly to the same secret. Being honest and vulnerable endears us to others an helps us create a support system. Our imperfections help others feel okay. I’m not OK, you’re not OK, and it’s OK!
I love the book “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brené Brown. I you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it! She encourages us to celebrate our unique gifts.
“My story matters because I matter.”
Let’s say that together: “My story matters because I matter.” Even the secret side of you. ALL of it matters because it
The secrets are stealing our power, our uniqueness. We’ve got to get to the point where authenticity is more important that other people’s opinions. And, use strategies to shift our focus to what we are doing about it…in order to build self-worth. I was paying off my debt. Shifting our focus from the problem to the action we’re taking to improve is the secret sauce where self-worth is created. One day at at time. Now, I’m not suggesting we need to air every piece of our dirty laundry all over our instagram feed or throw up all over our dates in the first 5 minutes of our first date. And while it’s true that I had debt, it’s also true that I was paying it off. And some things we think are a big deal, maybe aren’t such a big deal. If someone truly wants to be with you. What you perceive as a “deal breaker” might not be.
So, I did tell John about my debt on the second date. I just thought, you know what? If that is going to be a deterrent to him and make him not want to be with me, then I’d rather know now.
“I have $30,000 of debt.” There. I said it. I was afraid he might not want to see me after that, but you know what he said?
THAT’S IT? Okay?! Wow, take THAT inner bitch. And my vulnerability and honesty set the stage for him to share things with me. That’s the only way.
When we’re finally honest with ourselves — or whomever we need to be honest with — that’s when real change can begin. A single conversation can lead to freedom, a healthier outlook, a healthier you. And you know that the only way to have healthier relationships is to work on being healthier ourselves!
When I was not honest and pretending to be someone I wasn’t, I attracted others who were pretending to be who they weren’t. I was focused on trying to be what they wanted, not who I really was, so I was attracting other fake con men. It’s the law of attraction. We only attract who we are, and not who we want. So we have to love who we are, with all our imperfections, and become who we want to become.
Are you focused on your imperfections, your secrets, your flaws? If so, that’s the kind of energy you’re going to attract in your