The 4 key mistakes we make while focused on perfection

How Trying To Be The Perfect Partner Ruins Relationship

“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” — Brené Brown
It might seem obvious, but it needs to be stated, you are not perfect.

None of us are perfect, and that’s ok.

Yet, when we enter relationship, often from the very first date while you sit awkwardly imagining the potential future life with the human being sitting across from you, a voice in your mind is saying, “Don’t mess up!”

We tend to believe and act from an assumption that every connection is a battle field we are entering to prove ourselves worthy or to be shown as flawed and removed from the selection pool.

And so, when we do find ourselves diving into relationship, committing our safety, time, and energy into partnership with another, that voice inside continues nagging, “Don’t mess up, don’t let them see your flaws, or you’ll be left or thrown out again, proven unworthy.”

The sense of belonging, having the safety of support, and the general nurturing of companionship is critical to our survival instinct.  So, of course, the opposite, the fear of abandonment, being alone, or rejection, is an equally strong consideration.

These factors play strongly into our conscious or often unconscious reactions in relationship.

And so, we try to be perfect.
“To demand perfection is a sure way to be disappointed in everybody, for you will be bound to think ill of others.” — Monica Fairview

The problem is that in our quest to show up perfectly and avoid losing the connection, we ignore that there is another person involved, who is likely playing the same perfection story in their mind.

Here are 4 destructive beliefs and patterns we create while trying to be “perfect” and forgetting about the other person:

1. Men want to be perfect because of a deep fear of being doubted in their capacity and thus left for a stronger mate.
For a man, perfection is tied strongly to his perceived ability to provide and protect.

Ironically, the upkeep of “everything is fine and under control” can become overwhelming for men, allowing toxic stress to build up and eventually weaken the man on multiple levels.

Also, perfection leaves no space for the other to contribute into the connection. If a man has everything handled, where does his partner get to contribute?
2. Often, women want to be perfect in appearance and expression so they feel safely accepted and not left for a newer, shinier, nicer model.
Women are afraid to show their full spectrum. There can be this fear of overwhelming their partners and not being accepted.

This normally leads women to be controlling and cautious within themselves and then with their partner as well. Thus perfection for them often expresses as control.

Unfortunately, most men view control as an indication they are not being trusted. And not feeling trusted is a man’s deepest wound.  If he cannot be trusted, then he might feel he is not seen as capable to provide and protect. This leads men to either constantly be seeking to prove themselves in relationship or to seek other connections where they don’t feel the need to prove anything.
3. You may believe that if you are not the perfect ideal you originally showed yourself as, your partner will eventually leave from disappointment.
It is rare, and admittedly not always wise, that people show all sides of themselves from the very beginning of a relationship.

It’s ok to slowly surface the different parts of who you are. What is not ok, and can cause issues later in relationship, is to present yourself as more than or different from who you actually are. And this, unfortunately, is often where people begin from.

In the effort to impress, seduce, or convince a potential partner that you are worthy of their affection, you may play to the perfect ideals you think they want. This can be an exhausting charade to keep up if the relationship works out and continues long term.

The question is not how to keep your partner from discovering the real you, but is rather to ask why you would want to be with someone who hasn’t even met the real you, and who may even be pretending about who they are too?

If a relationship is founded on the basis of two great advertisements meeting each other, then regardless of how perfect or imperfect either partner is, the moment “the real thing” is seen to be different than what it was sold as, it will create sentiments of betrayal and mistrust.
4. You believe you alone need to be the one who takes care of everything.
Relationship is about coming together as a team effort. Yet, this belief that you should have it all handled and taken care of is a very solitary mindset.

Most often, the motivation to do it yourself is either a protection in case things don’t work out or a way of seeking recognition for having handled it all, and thus proving you are worthy to keep around.
All of these beliefs and the reasons we try to be perfect in our relationships are almost always based in fear and the avoiding of a perceived outcome of losing the connection.
The focus is on preparing for the worst; preparing for the day the relationship will end.

What might happen if all that energy and focus was placed on developing and cultivating being in the relationship rather than preparing for the end of it?

We seek to be the perfect partner because we ultimately want a relationship that stands the test of time. Nature shows us though, that nothing remains perfect. A perfect blossom does not last forever. A perfect sunset is gone in seconds. A perfect tree trunk eventually bends and sways with the elements of change.

So, then can we enter relationship authentically, showing up as ourselves, flawed but willing to improve?

Can we accept that things will change, and we will change?

The true power of a long lasting relationship is an agreement from the start to communicate, create, and connect as a mutual team, which means both people get to contribute and feel valued.

And then focus on recognizing and enjoying each other, instead of holding on to false foundations and self-expectations.
* The original article was published by Rodolfo Young, and can be found here.

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