As a Christian woman, a leader in the church, someone who women of all ages have looked up to, I used to think I was responsible for “having it all together” all the time.
Being raised with a strict upbringing, righteous morals and good values, I believed the myth that I needed to maintain a certain image in order to make everyone proud and to walk effectively in my purpose. These are just some of the reasons why I allowed myself to hide my pain, my failures, weaknesses and mistakes. I would have never admitted this back then, but honestly, I was wearing a mask.
[pullquote]“If you’ve been going through life trying to impress people with your perpetrated perfection, I say to you, relax. You don’t need to self-impose that type of pressure on yourself.”
TERESA RENEE HUNT
[/pullquote]I had not intended to live this way; however, over time, I learned how to fix my smile, makeup, and wardrobe in a way that would keep others from suspecting that I would ever be dealing with issues such as low self-worth, fear, insecurities, heartbreak, guilt, and pain from some unwelcomed situations that I endured. I made sure I looked “perfect” before leaving the house so no one would have known that in various seasons of my life I was hurting inside, and I convinced myself that I would be just fine. Plus, I had business to take care of, which meant I had to keep pushing and I had to be strong even when I felt weak, right? Moreover, people admired me, and I wore many hats, so who could I talk to and really be honest with?
In actuality, I exemplified the look of perfection on the exterior because I succumbed to the pressures of society and the expectation and misperception of many, that you must always be “polished” every day, and in every way, in order to be a Christian and to effectively be a role model to others. If you can relate, which I’m almost sure you can in some aspect, know that you are not alone! However, also know that you can and will experience much more peace, fulfillment, and true contentment when you decide to pull off your mask of perfection and walk powerfully and purposefully as your authentic self and in your authentic truth! When you do this, not only will you free yourself, but you will facilitate freedom in the lives of others as well!
A few weeks ago, I was right in the midst of a group of strong, resilient, purpose-filled women as I attended the #SistersLiftingAsWeClimb gathering hosted by Sharnay at The Corner, the community center in Oakland on Robinson Street. The comfortable, welcoming, cozy, resource room where we gathered created the perfect intimate space for us to connect, engage, empower, uplift, and speak life into each other. As I sat, listened, and participated in the discussion which pricked the hearts of all the women around the table, I witnessed POWER. The power of healing and transformation which permeated the atmosphere and all the women, as the women courageously pulled back their mask of perfection while sharing their personal story.
Contrary to what is often portrayed in the media about women being catty and untrustworthy, as each sister exposed their personal flaws and the unfavorable situations that have taken place in their lives, not one person was judgmental, there was no bickering, and everyone listened intently. As a matter of fact, sisters were able to encourage and uplift each other. Sisters who were triumphant in a specific area were able to share wisdom, tips, and advice to others who were struggling so they could be victorious, too! Maintaining a look of “perfection” was not a priority! By the end of the gathering, each sister shared lessons, struggles, and stories from their lives from a place of transparency and honesty. It was their willingness to speak about their imperfections that sparked healing and provided inspiration and hope to someone else who was trying to get through what they already made it through.
I encourage you to get REAL. Take off your mask. Be transparent. There is not ONE perfect person in this world. If you’ve been going through life trying to impress people with your perpetrated perfection, I say to you, relax. You don’t need to self-impose that type of pressure on yourself. Likewise, if you are someone who is putting pressure on a family member, friend, child, church member, or significant other, please immediately put a halt to that. The truth of the matter is, we do more harm than healing when we put people on a pedestal and when we place the unrealistic expectation on them to personify
I am so glad that I made the decision to pull my mask of perfection off a number of years ago and to stop trying to “have it ALL together” in order to impress people. Yes, I strive to please my Savior every day, but I do not intentionally cover my imperfections or what has pained me by wearing a mask. I have learned over time that the very things I used to try to hide because I was a mess, are the very things that have become my message. It’s so important for us to recognize that once we heal and overcome our flaws and pain, it enables us to purposefully engage in encouraging conversation with others, so they too can be victorious and experience freedom in their lives.
Here are 2 major benefits to being REAL:
1. You can heal! The truth is, you can only fix what you’re willing to face. If you want to experience healing and victory in a specific area of your life, you have to acknowledge your imperfections, flaws, and unfavorable life circumstances. It is then, that you give yourself permission to seek help and also position yourself to be healed.
2. You can help! Remember, your life experiences and victories are not just for you. Sometimes you go through specific situations so that others can experience their victory through you. Know that you don’t have to be perfect in order to be used for a greater purpose.
So, as you journey on through life, always keep in mind that you have been created on purpose, with a purpose, and sometimes by sharing your life’s imperfections, someone else’s life can be greatly impacted. Just like the sisters at the gathering needed each other, there is a sister who needs YOU.
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