As I grew from a child to an adult, I received the message that “I was not ok as I was.” As a result, I tried to act in ways that would somehow acquire the approval and love I desperately longed for. One of these ways I would try to get this approval and love was through perfectionism. I believed the lie that if I could paint myself as a perfect person, even to the extent of lying about certain things, that I could convince the outside world that I was ok when I really wasn’t. Believing that lie led me to tell people things that weren’t true. One thing I lied about was my health. When my cheerleading coach in high school asked me if I felt ok after noticing I had lost a lot of weight, I told her everything was fine, even though it wasn’t. Perfectionism at its finest for me was striving to be thin so people would love and accept me. I hid the truth from my coach because of the shame I felt, I wanted to fit in, and because I thought “looking better” on the outside would somehow make me not feel so broken on the inside.
Eventually, trying to paint myself as a perfect person to acquire the approval and love I so desperately wanted became a battle in my life I no longer had the energy to fight. The more lies I told, the harder it became to keep track of all of them. Living in constant terror of slipping up wore on me. Embellishing things to make myself look better because I just “knew” people wouldn’t accept me for who I was, became tiring. I finally reached a point where changing my dysfunctional cycle became necessary, and uncovering the truth of who I was and why I did what I did, was inescapable.
In my recovery, I began to unravel the lies I believed about myself instead of hiding behind them. I got honest about who I was and learned I wasn’t alone. Throughout my process, I discovered I am worthy of love despite my imperfections. In learning how to be genuine, I’ve found that it is easier to be authentic than not to. I also began to experience respect from people when I decided to be honest. Proverbs 13:7 TPT says, “One pretends to be rich but is poor. Another pretends to be poor but is quite rich.” In my case, I pretended to be okay when I wasn’t. Not only was that an unhealthy thing to do, it wasn’t a godly thing to do either.
The truth is, it is always better to be who you are and avoid making something that is not the case appear to be true. You don’t have to act in specific ways to acquire the approval and love you deserve. You don’t have to paint yourself as a perfect person, for people to accept you for who you are. You don’t have to hide the truth of how you feel, so you can fit in, and you don’t have to embellish things to make people like you. You are enough, and you are ok just the way you are.
Have you ever lied about anything to make yourself look different than who you really are to fit in or be accepted? What lies might you believe about yourself that are causing you to not be genuine in certain areas of your life?
Jesus, please forgive me for not being who you created me to be. Thank you that I don’t have to act, be or look a certain way to be accepted and loved by You. Please help me identify any areas of my life where I am not being genuine, so I can begin to heal and recover from any unhealthy mindsets. Amen.