A letter to the voice of perfection inside my mind to let it know—I'm not going to listen to it anymore, and I'm not going to do it alone.

Dear Perfection,

I still remember the first time we met, early in my childhood days. I heard about you from my family. You sounded so lovely. To “be number 1” and “be the best” seemed, at the time, like worthwhile goals, especially because everyone around me was so enthusiastic about them.

Do you remember, dear perfection, how it used to be just you and I, sitting on the couch watching sitcom after sitcom as you spoke to me of how things could be if only I was “like them”?

Do you remember your gentle, coaxing voice when I leaned over the toilet, wooden spoon in mouth, and you consoled me, telling me that once I was skinny, everything would be okay?

You were my only friend in those days. All I had was my dream and hope of, someday, being perfect.

Do you remember all those stories you’d weave for me in my teenage years of “tomorrow”? That used to be my favourite day. It was our day together. It was the day we worked for, cried for, starved for. And of course, I believed you. You were my most faithful friend.

You were an honest friend too. You never kept your feelings to yourself. Whenever I would deviate from these standards we’d set for me, you’d let me know. I realize now that I never met those standards, and I never could. And you knew that.

You knew I would never be perfect. And I suppose I did too.

It was hard to live with you, but you gave me hope. I used to think that hope was the most wonderful emotion anyone could feel because it was the only positive emotion I could feel. I kept thinking, “If I master being perfect, then everything will be okay.”

We had a rough patch, you and I, when I fell in love. I suppose you were jealous. He didn’t need me to be perfect. He just needed me to be myself. I guess I didn’t need you anymore, so you got angry.

Every time he’d leave, there you were waiting for me. There you were to let me know who I really was. And you were my longest, most faithful friend, so of course I believed you. Why wouldn’t I believe you?

My relationship with you couldn’t survive if I was close to someone else. You were very possessive, dear perfection. There was no way that I could keep listening to your endless refrains of my faults and inadequacies if I was intimate with someone else.

I know why you did what you did. It was because you were my friend, and you wanted to take care of me. You did all you could because the only thing that perfection knows how to do is to tell you how far you are from it.

And of course, I believed you.

I never thought about letting you go in those days. I didn’t know that was an option. And sometimes your voice would get so loud, I couldn’t take it. I had to drown you out in my vices.

I thought you loved me, and I thought I loved you.

After all, you gave me hope.

Do you remember those days when we were really close? There wasn’t so much screaming and ignoring because I’d surrendered to your pleas. I did what you said.

Do you remember when I got so skinny I could reach under my rib cage and hold it? You were proud of me then. Do you remember when I learned to transform my face with makeup into the face of someone else? You were proud of me then. Do you remember when I stopped being vulnerable and emotional, when I turned into a cold, steel memory of a human being? You were so proud of me then.

We were close then, but I wasn’t happy. I knew you were, but I was not.

You see, I was disappointed. For years, you fed me the dream of tomorrow and the hope of what would come. I did all those things you said I should do. I became who you wanted me to be, and I was more miserable than ever.

For the first time, I saw you for what you really were.

It’s not your fault, but it is your nature. You can’t really do what’s good for me because you don’t know me. You can’t know me because you can’t see me. You’re too busy judging me.

And I’ve realized, in my life, that I need love, not perfection.

I’m sorry that things ended the way that they did, two years ago. I’m sorry that I had to tell you that we couldn’t be friends anymore. I remember when you yelled to me about hope, telling me that, without you, there would be no hope for me.

You stalked me all these years as I’ve tried to love myself, reconstruct my life, and share what I’ve learned with others. You’ve been there, offering your same refrains of “not good enough” at each turn and every valley.

In every vulnerable failure, you’d show up to help pick up the pieces with an unctuous smile and a carefully extended hand.

I’m sorry I’ve fallen for it. I’m sorry if I’ve misled you.

You and I, we’ve been through the wars. And, it’s true, you were there for me when no one was. And it’s also true that it would have been better, in those times, for me to be alone where I could have listened to my hunger rather than offsetting it with poison.

You’ve crawled into my mind after speeches, conversations, and workshops telling me how I shouldn’t have said that, how that person probably thought this and that about me, how I wasn’t who I pretended to be.

I’m exhausted of fighting you on my own.

So I won’t.

I know you’ll return, and I know you’ll be there in the back of my mind.

I’m not doing this alone anymore.

My resolution, this year, is to be honest about my experiences with you and share with those who love, respect, and listen to me exactly what’s going on in this abusive relationship between you and I.

Because something tells me that you’re not just stalking me.

It’s not just me, is it?

It’s everyone.

You’re doing this to everyone.

And I think the time has come for it all to stop. The time has come for me and all the other beautiful, imperfect, authentic human beings out there to stand in the face of perfection and say, “No, thank you.”

I am already perfect, just the way I am.

So, goodbye, my long time friend.

I hope that, one day, we’ll never meet again.

It’s Not Me, It’s You—A Letter to Perfection

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Comments (16)

  • January 10, 2014 at 2:46 pm
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    WOW! I absolutely love this poetic letter you wrote to your self, Vironika! I am thrilled for you that you were able to break up this abusive relationship with your inner critic, once and for all, and that you inspire others, through your writings, to do the same. I also wish for you that “the two of you” will never meat again….

    Reply
    • January 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm
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      Thank you Elzbieta. It was a little painful to write (and even more painful to publish), but it has to be done.

      Reply
  • January 10, 2014 at 10:25 pm
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    Vironika , Thanks . I just read your blog and I can understand what you are going through with this ‘ Perfect ‘ friend that does not like to leave you ! This Perfect joker just has this chronic habit to sit around bulling us . Anyway , I am also going to do something about Mr/Miss or whatever soon . Take care . Being authentic is wonderful . By the way , I too started blogging recently ! Not bad at 66 + ! Enjoy . Amar.

    Reply
    • January 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm
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      Good for you, Amar! I wish you luck with your writing. Good for you for following your intuition 🙂

      Reply
  • January 10, 2014 at 11:36 pm
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    Love this! I deal with this as well and I am constantly reminding myself that I am good enough and its ok to make mistakes.

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    • January 11, 2014 at 1:16 pm
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      …Because you are! We forget the truth about ourselves underneath layers of conditioning. All it takes is to remember what we already know. Thank you for sharing, Tanisha.

      Reply
  • January 11, 2014 at 6:04 pm
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    Eloquence. Grace, Beauty. Wisdom. Do I need to say more? 😀

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    • January 19, 2014 at 7:54 am
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      Only that you see it because you are it as well 😀

      Reply
  • February 5, 2014 at 2:30 pm
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    Powerful article. I love how you summed it up.

    “I am already perfect, just the way I am.”

    If more people knew that they were enough then they would suffer less.

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    • February 6, 2014 at 3:45 pm
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      Agreed, Sam. That is, truly, the greatest source of suffering in our part of the world. I’m happy to be changing that, alongside with wonderful people like you. 🙂

      Reply
  • February 15, 2014 at 1:59 pm
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    It’s a nice way of telling how one shouldn’t live, and how one shouldn’t copy others. It’s also true as you said we should lead a simple life without expectations like a child happy going way. Your letter is simply beautiful,free flowing,but what we have seen,lived is also part of our life. One can learn everything like what you have learned,by living and experiencing only. Everyone of us can learn lessons only by experiencing and so it will take its own course and has to wait for the right time. However by reading your articles it can quicken the process and will defeneitly help people to learn it quickly. Thanks Vironika once again for the nice article.

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    • February 15, 2014 at 3:44 pm
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      Yes, we must all go our own unique journey, mustn’t we? It is the most beautiful and frustrating and character-building thing.

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  • July 12, 2014 at 10:58 pm
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    For the words: trying to be perfect at BING I found: http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/11/01/give.up.perfection/index.html and highlight these of: (1) ” Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be our best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth; it’s a shield. Perfectionism is a 20-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from being seen and taking flight.” re: the word flight, as NOT in that “fight or flight” phrase or saying, but of taking off like an airplane from being grounded. To fight if and when such is needed to be done, as when the imperfection of others is foisted upon us to have to deal with it. See below* – – – – – And so then over to: “Letting go of our prerequisites for worthiness means making the long walk from “What will people think?” to “I am enough.” But, like all great journeys, this walk starts with one step, and the first step in the Wholehearted journey is practicing courage.

    The root of the word courage is cor — the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage had a very different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.

    Over time, this definition has changed, and, today, courage is more synonymous with being heroic.”

    So congratulations Vironika for speaking and writing your mind, and thanks, as I’ve been speaking my mind lately here in New Hampshire regarding government thieves at the local and county levels who are supposed to be “perfect”* and have an RSA Ch. 93-B “faithful performance” bond to at least TRY to be perfect, the failure of which is insured to $100,000 per person), to thus have these locals to be taught a lesson by the officials at the state level of to reprimand this Article 28-a political sub-division of the state, as in “Big Brother” coming down on Little Brother to “Wise Up”! (;-) and pay the $penalty, or as some would say: of to think outside the box, to which I say that and more of to DO something about it. Thank you “very” much. – – Joe

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    • July 13, 2014 at 1:49 pm
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      I appreciate your gratitude, Joe. I love the article too. Brene Brown is an amazing crusader for authenticity, love, and self-acceptance. It’s especially inspiring that she’s spreading this message to the academic community, which often overemphasizes the mind and forgets about the body, spirit, and heart. I’m happy to hear that you are taking a stand on what you believe in and making a difference in the world! Keep it up, Joe. 🙂

      Reply
  • July 25, 2014 at 10:15 pm
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    Wow. This sounds so familiar. That old dialog and the reaching for something that can never be attained… Perfection. This brought back some old feelings felt so deeply at one time. What a dark period in my own life. You’ve really hit it girl.

    Thanks for sharing.

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    • July 26, 2014 at 9:33 pm
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      I am happy to say that both of us have emerged from that void, Melissa! And isn’t that voice funny these days? I think learning to laugh at my perfectionist thoughts was one of the greatest gifts I ever gave myself. 🙂

      Reply

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