On June 22, I will graduate from re:generation, a 12-step recovery program. When I began recovery, all I knew was that I was depressed and anxious and didn’t want to be. I gradually came to discover why, and one root cause I uncovered was perfectionism.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a perfectionist who placed my worth in how well I met my own standards and the standards of others. When I was very young, I liked a book called, “Pig Will and Pig Won’t.” I found great joy in identifying myself with Pig Will and my sister with Pig Won’t. I took pride in the fact that I always said yes when my mom asked for help, and the fact that my room did not look like a “pig sty,” like my sister’s. This is just one example of how I was a perfectionist as a child. As an adult, the perfectionism continued, which eventually – along with other factors – led to anxiety and depression. (Other factors included chemical imbalances, hormones, PMS and just the default human state of sorrow ever since we were banished from the Garden).
I’m glad that God showed me my perfectionism, and showed me an alternative way of finding my worth and value – not in people pleasing and mistake minimizing but in how he sees me.
Don’t get me wrong. “Pig Will and Pig Won’t” is a wonderful book. I just took it one step too far.