2.07.2011

quitting perfectionism

Perfectionism is a disease, in my opinion. It's a disease because perfection is unattainable, yet that hasn't kept me from trying. Not that trying is all bad - the right amount of trying is great. However, I tend to take it to extremes. I often get stuck in the trap of all-or-nothing thinking, and I push myself way past healthy trying, and straight into perfectionism overdrive. It is not pretty, nor is it healthy for me or for anyone around me.
Now that I'm a parent, I have realized that what I do matters. It matters for me and it matters for the kids, because they learn from me. If they see me pushing myself for unattainable heights or belittling myself for not reaching those heights, they will learn to do the same. I'd like to just go ahead and break the cycle.
Humans make mistakes. I am a human and I will continue to make mistakes my whole life. I won't ever be perfect, so I might as well quit pushing for perfection!
Here's a great article about the disease in general.
And here's a wonderful one on perfectionism in relation to parenting, specifically.

Am I the only one trying to recover from perfectionism?
How do you embrace all the non-perfect stuff in life?

4 comments:

SherilinR said...

that's a good perspective. i tend to want to expect perfection from my kid (in some areas) but i rarely demand it from myself. that's messed up.
i should really try more.

Jamie Lee said...

Ever parallel our lives are...

"Perfectionism" has been the burdening theme lately, for sure. I struggled with this in an excruciating way last week, and continue to at present. I'm thinking it'll be a good topic to bring up with my therapist next week.

I don't know how to recover. But I agree completely, it's an illness for sure. It causes so much pain and suffering!

Perhaps it's good to go about this pursuit with the additional question: "Am I carrying out further perfectionism by trying to absolve my perfectionistic tendencies?" A worthy way to remind ourselves to be careful, even here, with extending kindness, compassion, love and patience to our selves.

Barbara said...

I struggle with perfectionism too,Jess, but I think what keeps me going is seeing the growth in myself and my work from trying.
I have to push myself really hard sometimes because I notice that depression is often nipping at my heels, but somewhere in that action is where I find comfort.
Out running it.
Sometimes I 'll do little experiments... immerse myself in how others see the world, and in doing that it helps me to see how small my perceptions can be at times...it helps me the see the beauty I don't always readily see...

Lainey Seyler said...

lucky (and unlucky) for me i don't deal with striving for perfection. i screw up so often that i'm used to messing up. :) i'm also not at all a detail-oriented person, which can certainly have it's downfalls. being a perfectionist isn't all bad, in moderation.