Perfection does not exist. We all know that. Yet there are many people who are perfectionists. Sometimes it is not bad at all to be a perfectionist. You take your work very seriously and do not hand in sloppy documents. Even now with the holidays it is very handy to have a perfectionist at home who can pack all the presents perfectly ;-). But without craziness, perfectionism can also be very bad for your personal growth.
I am reading a book by Brené Brown called The Courage of Imperfection. She talks about how you can embrace yourself as you are. When I came to the chapter on perfectionism, I had to swallow a few times. Every sentence I read came in hard. I am a born perfectionist that I also recognize and in certain areas it works against me. Brené describes that perfectionism usually arises in your youth. For example, you are constantly being praised for the high grades you get at school or because you always behave in an exemplary way. Because of this you see yourself as those high grades or that exemplary behavior so you keep doing that because it gives a kick. You keep striving for perfection, but perfection does not exist. I will not go into the details of my youth, but I also always feel a kick when certain perfectionistic actions are done and praised for this. Perfectionism goes hand in hand with shame. With shame, you will be fed back here to yourself. You feel bad about yourself. This means you continue with that perfectionistic behavior because it gives you that kick. But it actually works destructively.
So … am I self-destructive because I maintain my perfectionistic behavior?
As you can see, I try to understand how my perfectionistic behavior works. I am aware that it does not come in handy in some ways. I want to change it, but something that has been stuck in your body for years is difficult to get loose. Nothing is impossible of course. Step 1 is acknowledging, followed by the rest. Perfectionistic behavior can also emerge during the change process. For example, you set a goal to stop you from suffering through your perfectionism within four months. There is also something perfectionistic in this goal. You demand too much of yourself, because if you look at this goal realistically, this is actually not feasible. You put enormous pressure on your shoulders because it has to change within those four months and that can also be counter-productive. So basically you should embrace your perfectionism and accept that it is in you. The fact that you are aware that a certain behavior is perfectionistic in nature is already a good thing.
Moral of the story: nobody is perfect. And if you think everything should be perfect in your life, please let that go. You will not be happier.
Here I can also learn something ☺
Quote with this story: Perfection is the enemy of progress
Happy holidays and lots of love,