I’m tired of acting perfect

Jade asked:

I’m tired of acting to be perfect

I feel like I have to put on a front to be the perfect daughter/sister/friend to loved ones which can bite me in ass later and when I’m alone I feel like a failure in life.

Categories: Self-esteem

Your Answer

Answered on January 27, 2021

Hi Jade!

Believe it or not this is a very common issue.   We tend to wear different “masks” with different people.

As a result, sometimes it becomes very difficult to separate the mask from your authentic and true self.

When we add family into the mix it becomes that much more complex.

I guess the first question is – Why do you feel you have to put on a front and be “perfect?”

Is it because you are different (beliefs, career, partner) from what they expect of you?

Is it because if you try and be your authentic self, you will get judged or attacked?

Why when you are alone you feel like a failure?

All important questions.   So, how can you go about answering some of them?

1) You are human.  As such, it is important to try and forgive yourself for having this challenge.  We all have them.

2) Try and think of the first time you felt you had put on a front and/or be perfect with your family and friends.

Was there a specific event where you were your true self and got an extreme negative reaction from someone close to you?

If that happened, this might be the reason why you can’t “risk” being your true self.

When a person has an experience where they are feeling vulnerable and open to someone close to them, and they are not accepted, that feeling is so intense that in order to protect yourself from that happening again, you put on this front or persona that you are “perfect.”

If you are “perfect” then no one can judge you and make you feel “less than.”

3)  Next, try and identify your values and core beliefs.

For example, “I am a kind person,” “I care about others,” “my career is the most important thing to me,” “Reading is important to me,” “I connect with religion/spirituality by going to…,” “volunteering and giving to others is something I value greatly in myself and others,” and so on.

Once you have a list of your values and beliefs, it becomes much easier to identify who you are.

4) Think about where you want to be 5, 10 years from now.   Who are you?  Where are you?  What are you doing?  What do you want your personal life to look like (marriage, life partner, children and so on)?

4) What are some things/people can do to help support you in achieving these goals?   What are some things/people do that can potentially be a barrier for you in achieving these goals?

5) This is worth repeating, you are human.   We are all human and as such nobody is perfect.  What people “show” you on social media or in person is not always an accurate reflection of who they are and what their struggles or challenges are.

After all, if you feel you need to be perfect and put on a front, what makes you think that other people aren’t doing the same thing?

Life is a journey.   There are ups, downs, peaks and valleys.   We as people are always trying to find that sweet spot where we feel happy, fulfilled and satisfied – mentally, emotionally, socially and physically.

Best of luck on your journey!

Steven R. Levey, PhD, LCSW

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