I have a lifelong wish to be perfect, and I’m in recovery from it.
I don’t look like a perfectionist – but I am.
I don’t look like a control freak – but I am.
I don’t look impatient – but I am.
I didn’t discover a lot of these things about myself until I started engaging in intensive reflection, spiritual work, and recovery a little over three years ago. This work has been incredibly difficult, and meaningful, and valuable.
I learned that I have a lifelong desire and quest to be perfect. I didn’t notice it along the way, because I think of perfectionists as people who have exceptionally neat handwriting, keep their houses clean, file all their papers alphabetically, and make their beds with hospital corners. I don’t do any of those things. I’m a perfectionist – but I’m messy, and disorganized.
However, I beat myself up a lot when I make mistakes. I get excited to start a new day, “fresh, with no mistakes in it,” a la Anne Shirley. I eat a square of chocolate and tell myself that the day is ruined, subsequently allowing me to eat an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s Hazed & Confused. (Hazelnut – yum!)
And – this is the big one – I like for the outside world to see me as happy-go-lucky, sweet, and flawless.
It can be incredibly h
ard to put down the shield of perfectionism, even when you acknowledge how it cripples you.
My own variety of perfectionism is unique to me, though I’m sure there are others who suffer from similar afflictions. For me, it’s mostly about feelings – did I say the right thing? Did I hurt anyone’s feelings? Did I make them feel badly? Did I do something that will cause someone not to like me?
Ugh. Yuck. Disgusting.
It’s okay to be imperfect – perfectly imperfect. #progressnotperfection
Now, just tell my head.