Perfectionism |pərˈfek sh əˌnizəm|
Refusal to accept any standard short of perfection.
Perfectionism is a beautiful and dangerous trap for many young girls. It often comes camouflaged as high standards, excellence or healthy ambition. It is critical to discern the difference between what is productive and what is destructive in areas of appearance, performance and goal setting in the lives of our children.
There are a few things we can and should do with our daughters to support the productive expression of their beauty and worth.
Check Your Own Heart and Thinking
What you model will be more important than what you say. Are you willing to acknowledge your own limitations and mistakes? A good role model is honest and open about their abilities and their limitations. If we are trying too hard to be perfect as fathers, we may become defensive when our flaws spill out. A great dad is not a perfect dad. A great dad knows that he is loved and called by a Father who is Perfect. Saint Ignatius celebrated the ability of God to, “ draw a straight line with a crooked stick.” Crooked sticks and crooked dads are always welcome in God’s family.
Differences Are Not Defects
Your daughter is an original. She is not a copy of anyone else. Elvis Presley began his singing career by delivering his demo records to local radio stations. A receptionist at one station asks him whom he sounded like, after a slight pause Elvis said, “me”.
Elvis was a true original, no comparison necessary. Help your daughter discover and enjoy the original beauty of her design.
Keep Up With the Inside
What we do matters. The why behind what we do, really matters. Exercise can be a healthy activity or a destructive obsession. Good grades can be an affirmation of ability and hard work or a stressful self-imposed marker for value and self-worth.
Attention to personal appearance can be an appropriate expression of self-care or an agonizing competition for love and acceptance. We need to keep up with our daughter’s hearts and not just their habits. Pay attention to the inside and you can enjoy and celebrate whatever is happening on the outside.
Keep Looking Up
Perfection belongs to God alone. Our confidence, our identity and our peace are not tied to a Perfect Performance but to a Perfect Love. Lets help our daughters’ accept that they are accepted, no performance required. Let’s help them feel beautiful before they look “pretty.” Let’s help them live boldly, to take their best shot, to swing away, to dance in the kitchen, and to be gripped by joy rather than strangled by fear. Enjoy your daughter today.
Grace & Peace,
Dr. Don Worcester