Upon returning to my hometown, I had the opportunity to observe as a relative outsider. I saw a lot of people projecting an image. Having spent the last 2.5 years in Israel, the way people project their image stands out in stark contrast to the way Israelis do it. I’m not like most people in my hometown, so I don’t feel a lot of competition with them. I also feel like I get written off by a lot of these types of women for that exact reason. I’m too different from them and so I don’t “count”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not offended by this, but it was impossible for me not to notice. There are some who actually say, “but you’re not like us” and in my head I’m thanking God for that. There are so many women posturing for a place they think others perceive as better. They are putting out a perfection projection. And I think they’re doing so at the expense of more sensitive people. Also, it irritates the hell out of me.
I talked to a good friend of mine about what she thought of all this projecting and posturing and making one’s life look perfect when in reality, no one’s life is perfect. It really bothered my friend, so much so that it had caused her to shy away from public events and even church! She was really bothered by these other women who seemed to have everything under control while her one child kept her running constantly, still only getting three hours of sleep per night. My sometimes overly-sensitive friend was buying into their perfection projections and really believed that they had it all together, while she just wanted her daughter to sleep through the night, at least once.
What advice could I give my poor friend?
It’s a mystery to me that people want others to think they have a perfect life. I understand the concept of feeling ashamed about something and wanting to hide it; I really do understand that. But, logically we all understand that no one is perfect. So, what continues to mystify me are the women who want the world to think that NOTHING is wrong EVER. I imagine more energy is expended in the effort to make people *think* your life is perfect than actually working toward having a healthy and productive life that other people would genuinely respect because even though it’s not perfect, it’s real. I told my friend some of the typical responses anyone would have: don’t worry about what others do, nobody has a perfect life, nobody has it altogether, just be yourself, etc. But, the underlying issue of feeling “less than” because others are trying to be “more than” can only be solved within herself.
How each of us individually chooses to deal with people like that is a personal choice based on who we are. I would call the “friend” on her behavior. If I call my friend on her perfection projection and she denies it, I have two choices: accept her, but don’t allow her to bother me anymore or cut her out of my life. We can’t control what the universe does, we can only control our reaction to it. So if there is a woman in your life purposefully making you feel bad, or her actions are causing you pain, you need to decide how you’re going to deal with it. The solution can only be found within each of us. The woman has a far larger transformation to undertake if she is doing perfection projection. I think these tips are helpful mini-mantras to say when someone else does her perfection projection and we have a huge zit on our face, and just recognized a stain on the shirt we’re wearing.
- I can’t change others; I can only change how I feel about them.
- I will continue to be real and I accept that; I’m even proud of it, imperfections and all.
- If X’s behavior bothers me so much, I will choose not to be around her.
- I will not compare myself to X, because she does a perfection projection and I don’t.
- I will not compare myself to anyone because we’re all out here just trying to make it.
- I will surround myself with friends who respect me, who lift me up, who share in my frustrations, who listen to me and who create an aura of positivity.
What it comes down to is that anyone who appears to be happy, well-adjusted and put together all of the time is probably falling apart on the inside. I’m actually sad for them (after I stop being irritated) because they must feel like they don’t have anyone to turn to with their sorrows, challenges and issues. So they keep it bottled up inside and paint a picture of perfection to hide behind.
However, I think there is a real difference that needs to be addressed. There are women who want to make others feel worse, in order to make themselves feel better. So they judge others whom they perceive as weak and sit around inhaling the warm aroma of smugness, completely disregarding how they are affecting those around them. These women aren’t happy either. No one who is happy has to make someone else feel worse.
I like my imperfections: they make the best stories. I like being real because it doesn’t take any effort. I like my friends who like me for who I am. I like my friends because they don’t do perfection projections, which means I get to like them for who they are. If you’re reading this and a slow realization is creeping over you that you put out a perfection projection, you still have time to change. I promise you, people will begin to respect you when they realize that you aren’t as put together as you want everyone to believe. Nobody really believes it anyway.