Living by principles is not living your own life. It is easier to try to be better than you are than to be who you are. If you are trying to live by ideals, you are constantly plagued by a sense of unreality. Somewhere you think there must be some joy; it can’t be all “must,” “ought to,” “have to.” And when the crunch comes, you have to recognize the truth: you weren’t there. Then the house of cards collapses. In trying to live out your principles and ideals, the part that matters the most was lost. The hideous irony then has to be faced. As one woman put it to me,

“I have everything and nothing. By the world’s standards, I have everything. By the heart’s standards, I have nothing. I won the battle for my precious independence and lost what was most precious to me. I want to love and be loved but something in me is sending love away. I do not understand.”

For the person who is living by ideals, the essential problem in relationships usually involves the difference between love and power…In an effort to be mature and independent, such a woman tries to be more and more perfect because the only way she can alleviate her dependence on that judgmental voice is to be perfect enough to shut it up. But there is no shutting it up. It wants more and more and more. Thus the opposites (feminine/masculine) meet in a terrifying contradiction. As she runs fast as she can for independence via perfection, she runs into her own starving self, totally dependent and crying out for food.

Addiction to Perfection: The Still Unravished Bride, Marion Woodman, pg. 61-62

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