It has recently come to my painful attention that I sacrificed most of my life to fantasies. I wanted to be the best, the most beloved in all things, and I needed people to tell me that I was this mythical person. Impression management was more important than the experience of living.
The price for my unwillingness to accept reality was a chronic sense of failure. Failure as a student (because I couldn't score 100% all the time); failure as a teacher (because some of my students refused to comply to my unrealistic visions of them); failure as a mother (because my children weren't perfect); failure as a wife (because my husband wasn't God); failure as a woman (because I was not a sex goddess and did not particularly enjoy the company of children); failure as a Christian (because I had doubts and could not invoke God's power on demand). The universe would not conform to my dreams, so I was a mistake.
Last Good Friday, I drew pictures of the failure monsters, the success idol, and other evils. I renounced them and burned my artwork before God's altar.
Now I need the help of my friends to see myself realistically: to acknowledge both my strengths and weaknesses, to be comfortable with my limitations, to absolve myself of responsibility for things which I cannot control.
It's a hard road, but it's a whole lot better than hating myself.