Marital, Family or Individual Therapist serving the Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield and Noblesville communities in Indiana



Pretty Hurts
Written By: Jennifer Doerr



The talented and beautiful musician, Beyoncé Knowles released a song earlier this year entitled, “Pretty Hurts”. The song has a powerful message about perfectionism that can be applicable to all of us. Self-image is the ideas you hold about your own ability, personality and appearance. We measure our own self-image based on what we see in others and how we think others see us. We compare our looks, our physique, our intelligence, our everything to what others have. The problem with doing this is that we are basing opinions on appearance only. How many people in your life would be shocked to know what you really feel about yourself or how you behave behind closed doors? The lady across the street from me runs every day, she is disciplined and in shape, she has many friends in the neighborhood and her children are at the top of their class and excel in every sport they play. Her home is immaculate, her outfits always look so well put together, her nails are always done and I wonder how does she do it? More importantly, I wonder, why can’t I? The problem with comparing yourself and what you have to others lies in what we don’t know about the perfect woman across the street. Her husband is gone five out of seven days, she takes pills to keep herself thin, and she has spent the children’s college fund in order to keep up her appearance. She is so busy building an appearance; she doesn’t have time to address the pain that sits inside of her. The fear of exposure perpetuates the cycle so much so that if her lack of perfection is revealed, she will likely not be able to cope.

The need to not only measure up, but more destructively, to be perfect, comes from nothing good and produces nothing good. In fact, the more you attempt to meet and achieve perfectionism, the more wounded your soul becomes. If we care more about how others perceive us than what is true about our lives, how are we able to be authentic? Authenticity requires courage; it requires you to step outside of what the world’s expectations are of you and authenticity requires you to respect where you are in your journey and to have the gumption to acknowledge your lack of perfection. When my neighbor asks me how my kids are doing in school and I tell her they are struggling; when she asks what sports they play and I tell her I can’t get them to participate; when I go out to my mailbox and she sees me in my sweats and tank top, or when I tell her about a mistake I recently made, I can see in her eyes that I have somehow made her feel better. There is a sense of relief and disbelief from her; she is relieved that I have just made it clear I accept and embrace flaws and she is in disbelief that I am able to share my own flaws with her. So the next time you have the opportunity, share a mistake you’ve made with someone, share a messy situation in your life, take that opportunity and share your pride in imperfection.
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This article was authored by Family Tree Counseling Associates, a marriage, individual and family counseling center serving the Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield and Noblesville communities in Indiana. If you would like to contact us, please fill out a contact us form or call us at 317-844-2442.
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