Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Recovering Perfectoholic

How much more difficult can I make this thing?
Friends, despite outward appearances, especially if you were to drop in at my house without prior warning, I am a perfectionist going way back.  

Actually, if you look at the state of my habitat where I live, this makes a lot of sense, if you understand perfectionism.  

See, I *want* things to be done perfectly, and I look around and get overwhelmed at all there is to do, and I get even more overwhelmed when I think of doing it all perfectly, so it would pass a white-glove inspection, that I get all paralyzed and don't even start at all, because if it isn't perfect, why bother?  

Or, in the interest of it being Perfect, I will over-engineer the everlovin' HECK out of something- a project, a story, a blog post... and half the time, it becomes a non-starter, because I get hung up on making each little detail Perfect.

And grades.  Whoa, Nellie.  If you knew me in school, you'll remember that one of my biggest and most distinguishing features was that I'd be irritated with myself for any grade less than 100%, but I'd especially cry big tears and be worthless for the rest of a day when I'd get less than a 90%.  College made things a little different, because instead of numbers, they used letters, but I still knew an A was an A.  I just chose a major in which I knew I'd never earn an A, so at least I was able to let go of that drive for Perfection in chasing a 4.0.  It was never going to happen.  But if I got less than an A- in a writing class, it made me question Everything.

The only time in my life that I really, actually took a fukitol attitude was graduate school.  It was both maddening but possibly a little liberating. But it wasn't really me.

I think the tendency to be a Perfectaholic is hardwired into my DNA.  I am fairly certain that I get it from both sides of my family.  I always thought of being a Perfectionist as a badge of honor.  A virtue.  If something was worth doing, it was worth doing Right.  Perfect!

But that's a fool's errand, chasing Perfection.  If I thought that if I achieved Perfection, the perfect thing I did would be above reproach, I was wrong.  Perfect is in the eye of the beholder, and one person's perfect is someone else's pile of crap.  There is no such thing as being above reproach.  

I cringe when I think back on all the little cards or presents I had the idea of making and gifting to my loved ones, but I was so wrapped up in making sure it was Perfect, and I had all my over-engineering into it that I like to do, that I'd fizzle out shortly after getting started, and the card or present would never get made, and that sentiment would never get to be expressed.  

My Perfectaholism made me lose the opportunity to let someone know I cared about them.  "Perfect" is in the eye of the beholder, but done is Done.  

Because I was a Perfectaholic, I was too afraid to even start things that could have meant a lot to someone else, or even to myself.  I was too overwhelmed to take the first steps in reducing some of the chaos in my home because I wanted it Perfect.  I missed out on getting to have people over, because the house looked like crap.  I've never been able to relax when I go anywhere, because it's always running through my mind that if I were home right now, I could be cleaning.  Spoiler alert, though- even when I was at home, I wouldn't clean, because the hardest part to that is getting started, in my opinion.  

So I'm working on it.  I'm working on recovering from Perfectoholism and embracing the "done is Done" mindset.  Letting go of judgment, embracing the imperfect and unpredictable.  Just like anything else, it's a fumble toward Progress.  It's a journey made of lots of little steps. I backslide and regress, but in the end, I think I'll be far happier and healthier if I can recover from being a perfectionist.  

Life certainly would be far easier if I can stop trying to make it so perfectly difficult! 

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