Confession: I’m a perfectionist. My Mum is, My Dad is, My Grampy is. Traits are genetic! This trait in particular can have good qualities and not so good ones.
Having a desire and discipline for producing excellence is a great thing: that’s perfectionism working at its best. It means that what you do is done well. Hard work is always appreciated.
It goes over the line when it HAS to be perfect in order for you to finish, or relax or do something fun without worrying about your imperfect task.
But, a secret for you: “perfect” is just an idea. It changes like the wind. Each time you achieve what you thought was perfect, there’s just this little bit further to go before it really is perfect. Right? Perfectionism is striving for something always out of your grasp. If you can achieve it, it’s not perfect yet.
Trying to complete tasks perfectly is one thing; trying to be a perfect person is a whole other ball game! I’ve done it my WHOLE life. I’ve tried and tried to adapt my behaviour, or act a certain way to fit in to my box of what perfect looks like. But my idea of what it looks like is just that: an idea. It has no substance. It’s limiting more than it is liberating. It brought me to a point where I reached the end of myself and thought, “Who am I really?” When I’m not trying to be a certain acceptable way, or measure up to a standard of expectation, what’s the real me? What do I actually like thinking and doing?
The healthy side of this, is simply learning and growing, and adding to who you are, instead of changing everything about you, or cutting parts out of you that you think are wrong or bad. Nothing in you is bad, it’s just you. If there are negative parts, they’ve gotten there for a reason: through your response to life’s circumstances, and you can grow out of them. You won’t grow out of them by ignoring them. But you can commit to that natural process of dealing through life’s issues, and when your heart is right, your behaviour and attitude will catch up. See, perfectionists only monitor surface problems like having a short fuse and yelling at people for no reason. Healthy, growing people, know that something happened in their heart to make them act that way, whether that be a reaction to being controlled by somebody, or some situation, and they’ll do something about the root.
There’s a final level to perfectionism: the fixing of other people. Perfectionists value the bettering of themselves, and so if they see similar faults in other people, they like to share their keys to success. “Here let me help you get rid of your anger problem”.
But you can’t fix a problem that’s not yours. And they won’t fix it, if they don’t think it’s a problem.
You know, all these things that we try to eradicate out of ourselves: we think they make us weak. But we want people to see us as powerful and strong. We wear masks that everything is hunky dory and that we don’t ever have problems with anything. The sad thing, is wearing a mask of strength, hinders other people from being real around you. It’s scary to reveal what you’re going through to somebody who has it all together.
But I value having real friends, which means being real. Being real means, admitting you don’t have it all perfect, but that you’re committed to growing. Being real means being vulnerable, being honest.
I’ve said this before, but it’s been the moments where I admit a true feeling or thought and the response has been love and affection and a deepening of friendship- when I expected rejection.
Commit to being real, and being you, no matter what it looks like. Let’s not make projects out of people, or even ourselves. Take responsibility for what’s yours. Grow in health and become more and more whole.
- The perfectionist virus (margotcairnes.org)
- Perfectionism: Excessively critical (addpositively.wordpress.com)
- 5 Steps You Need to Follow to Snap out of Your Perfectionist State and Be More Productive (zemanta.com)