Feeling Unworthy and Beliefs about Perfection

What constitutes your image of perfection? Take the judgmental thoughts you have and look at the criteria of expectation that is behind the judgment. In other words, what criteria do you have to attain in order for the Inner Judge to finally say, “Congratulations, you made it.” These hidden beliefs result in thoughts of being a failure and create emotions of unworthiness. By having an image of perfection in our mind we give credence to the voice in our head that puts us down. If we bring these dynamics into our awareness we have the opportunity to change them and rid ourselves of not feeling good enough.

My battle with the Image of Perfection Beliefs

The feeling of not being good enough. (mp3 28min)

This also gives a good bit of info on how the mind traps us in illusions and emotions.

Exposing the Image of Perfection
As I was working with a client to break her self judgments that led to feeling unworthy she came up with the following list. It is a core belief inventory of what she is supposed to be. She was in Graduate School at the time and sent me two sections, one about being a woman, and the other about being a scholar. As you read notice how these criteria contradict each other. With conflicting criteria in our subconscious it becomes impossible to satisfy the ridiculous voice in our head.

As a Woman I “should” be:

  • feminist,
  • mother-researcher
  • discover something essential to the continuation and elevation of the human race
  • say yes to everyone who asks a favor
  • appear sexy and professional
  • point out when others use sexist language or get angry about it
  • love being around children
  • want children
  • control a man
  • understand lesbians but don’t talk about sex with them
  • cook, plan and prepare all meals
  • maintain proper ingredients in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry facilities
  • ensure that others around me are fulfilled and entertained at all times
  • be famous and featured on the news
  • appear fresh, clean, open, ready, happy, intelligent, witty, sophisticated, baffling, and talented,
  • appear sexy but unavailable
  • nurturing and understanding
  • be interested in a big wedding
  • be intrigued by make up but not pretentious enough to wear it
  • look elegant
  • drink tea
  • eat slowly in public
  • don’t say anything too smart in front of a man because he might resent you
  • bond with other women

As a Scholar I should be:

  • articulate
  • smart, brilliant, witty
  • argumentative and constantly correct
  • yet willing to be open to new ideas
  • politically and culturally aware
  • best feminist scholar and writer in the world
  • get a PhD, want a PhD
  • research constantly to stay ahead of the others
  • compete to see who has the better ideas
  • show off brilliance
  • get many publications
  • be better than less educated people
  • dress up
  • must be serious and approach work with serious effort and general attitude of seriousness
  • have new and amazing brilliant ideas that prove my worth as a human being
  • show that women can be intelligent
  • have a lot of books, and admiring students
  • be nice and funny
  • know so much that preparing for a class is no longer necessary
  • Be smarter than everyone
  • seem distant, unreachable and serious.
  • do something for political recognition
  • if there is work to be done, then no breaks allowed
  • no for-fun books
  • every spare moment must be spent in preparing for a future class, seminar, presentation or paper

By the time she was finished writing the criteria she concluded it was pretty ridiculous. In the end she couldn’t take seriously what her Inner Judge was saying about her. She had the thought but she didn’t believe it. The result of this awareness was that she felt better about herself. It is a big corner to turn when you no longer believe the critical voice in your head.

Be careful if you decide to inventory your image of perfection on your own. You can do it but there are some holes that one could potentially fall in. There is a danger that you will believe the standard that the mind has set up and get overwhelmed with self judgment. You start looking at all the things you should be and conclude that you are a failure because you still believe the criteria. This can take you on a downward mental and emotional spiral of unworthiness. To most effectively tackle this part of the mind I suggest preparing yourself first with several assignments from the Self Mastery Introductory Course first. The first four sessions are available free as well as a lot of extra audio.