Letting Go of Perfectionism
I recognized that I had perfectionistic tendencies when I was pretty young. However, I thought that was a good thing. I thought that being perfect was what everyone should aspire to.
These issues early on may have affected others, but I didn't realize. Looking back, even though I know that my perfectionism (when I achieved it, that is) probably made me too standoffish to really be friends with, it was what it did to me that was the biggest problem.
If I wasn't perfect, I had no worth. Second place wasn't good enough - I had to get first. The shame of not doing well in a piano lesson was almost too much to bear. My stomach hurt every... single... Sunday night - because I was terrified I had forgotten some homework or to study for a test.
In adulthood, friends and family were the ones who clued me in that it wasn't actually a positive trait.
Some examples of it interfering with my life included...
- not letting others come to my house unless it was absolutely spotless,
- not allowing anyone to see my newborn baby until I was dressed and had full make-up on,
- not sharing things I was good at, but not perfect at, with others.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
So what I did was actively combat being a perfectionist. It wasn't easy.
I did things like actively leaving the dishes in the sink instead of washing them and putting them away. Letting my hair get a little greasy before I washed it. (I still couldn't let it go too long.) I actually started leaving the house without make-up (I know - gasp!)
Those types of activities helped to tame my perfectionism - to an extent. I still see it rearing its ugly head when my reputation is at stake.
Photography and writing are examples.
I can't make grammar or spelling errors in emails and texts, because someone might think I don't know what I'm doing with words. I can't post unedited photos on Instagram because they aren't, well, perfect.
But I'm trying. I want to get rid of this trait because I know that it really does affect my relationships - with others and with myself.
So, I'll finish this so I can try to actively ignore the floor that desperately needs to be vacuumed. Keep in mind that I'm not lazy... I'm working on my mental health.