I for one am someone who delights in a job well done, especially if it’s my own. There is, however, a difference between being efficient and quality-minded and being a perfectionist. Let’s explore that , sometimes invisible, line that separates the two.
“Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough – that we should try again.” ˜Julia Cameron
First thing’s first, you have to understand that not everything is as it seems. There are those who impress in every project, every outfit, every word they say, and even in every little task they perform from day-to-day. Having said that, here’s the funny thing: Though those individuals look and act like they have “it” all together, it’s likely that their lives are sitting on the edge of a very high cliff, ready to take a plunge to the rocks below. You just never see the faults, the insecurities, the mistakes; they won’t let you. They are perfectionists. A unique set of rules govern this group of people. Here are just a few:
Ten Commandments of the Perfectionist
1. Never let anyone see you struggle. That is why it always seems like they are natural at everything. In fact, they will steer clear of anything that they are not good at from the beginning.
2. Don’t admit fault or say you’re sorry. It’s too painful for them to realize that they are not perfect.
3. Have great ideas but have lousy follow through. New things make them vulnerable and put them in the critical arena where anyone can shoot them down.
4. Keep working on it until it’s perfect. There is a voice in their head that tells them “it’s not good enough; try harder.”
5. Avoid social scenes when you don’t feel pretty enough or have just the right outfit to wear.
6. Get constant approval from peers.
7. You must suffer from stress-related illnesses like, headaches, ulcers, high blood pressure, heart problems, and depression.
8. You must be competitive and always be right.
9. Be a chronic procrastinator. They don’t want you to know that they put things off because of fear of failure.
10. You must be perfect as expected by your parents. Or you must always win the affection of the one who abandoned you.
Now, that’s a lot of dysfunction to be whirling around in one person’s life, huh? Trust me…I know. I’ve been that person. Though I don’t still walk on the side of extreme perfectionism, I do tend to visit on occasion. It’s a place I spent a lot of time, so it’s normal to want to go to a safe place. However, I know that being a perfectionist is damaging and only produces constant negative thinking and ruins relationships. You can never be good enough for yourself , let alone anyone else. Pure hell.
Can you think of a time when you may have been wearing the shoes of a perfectionist? Don’t worry if you can; it doesn’t mean your doomed or anything. It just means that you have some real work to do…the kind that will help you succeed at being the person you are meant to be. I had to say goodbye to my perfectionist alter-ego. She really was very flawed and very stubborn…and so am I, still. The difference… it’s OK not to be perfect. I put that stubbornness to better use. I’m a much happier girl with all my faults, mistakes, and things I suck at. The joy is in the journey to become you, not in how much you can impress other people. Be well-be beautiful-be happy.