When people describe me, my heart does a little dance when I hear them say "mature, confident, disciplined, outgoing, humorous" and things like that. Those are all positive qualities, ones I admire in others, too.
But sometimes, I hear someone chuckle and say, "Perfectionist." The fact that it's a not the best quality to have is noticeable in their eyes and their voice. It's true, though. I've been a perfectionist my whole life, and that's what helped fuel my ED. If you've gone through an ED, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, I guess the best way to describe how I felt was that everything needed to be, well, perfect - no giving in to cravings, no eating more than minimal, no body fat allowed, etc. Perfectionism was even powerful enough to convince me that I can rely on my own desires sometimes, and to distract me from the comfort of trusting in God's will.
Yes, I've recovered from my ED, but a lingering struggle prevented me from understanding that I. can't. Be. Perfect. And it was in my life even before my ED began - it was the constant self-reminder that I must be flawless when it comes to eating, when it comes to body shape, when it comes to grades and homework and tests and blah blah blah. It's frustrating and it took control of my life for about three years.
And I'm letting it go.
Perfectionism has a loud knock, but I choose whether or not to answer the door. When I let it inside, it tells me when and what to eat, how I should look, what size I should be, etc. And who is this so-called "Perfection" to determine all of that for me?
Just like I found freedom in recovering from my ED, I find peace in letting go of perfection. I am me. I am Haley Elizabeth Hansen. I am 19 years old. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a Cal Poly SLO Mustang. I am single as a pringle. I am constantly curious and forever hungry for delicious food.
And I am the daughter of a gracious, merciful Father who loves me just as I am. Why did I look for comfort and strength showing "perfection" when God's perfect, unchanging, everlasting love is, well, all of those things and more? I don't know the answer to that, and I don't need to, because I've already let go of the need to be sparkly clean.
This doesn't mean I'll be out drinking and swearing and not giving a fudge about life anymore; it just means that I won't let mistakes, upsets, fear, calories/fat/sugar, and unnecessary distractions get in the of my happiness and, most importantly, this Divine Romance between God and me.
- I choose an un-planned day full of adventure over a set schedule that makes my happiness as fragile as glass.
- I choose starting constant communication with my savior over constant self-checks for perfection.
- I choose homemade scones, juicy veggie burgers, indulgent desserts, and a forever-long food-adventure with one or two extra pounds over restricted "healthy" eating plans and a toned six-pack.
There are no words to explain how absolutely, breathtakingly amazing this feels. And I'm okay with that, because I always struggle to find sufficient words to describe God's love, too. If you've ever felt or currently are feeling something similar, talk to someone. Don't bottle it up and try to handle it on your own, because it's that mindset of "I can do it on my own" that starts the mess, anyway. It's okay - let your guard down, show a little weakness, and accept and embrace the innumerable beauty marks God has gracefully given you.
You're flawless in His eyes - striving for perfection on earth is exhausting, emotionally and physically damaging, and, let's face it, impossible. Just be exactly what you are, eat what makes you healthy, energetic and happy, and do what builds your excitement and stretches your smile!