You set yourself a new project.
Great! You can do this, it will be perfect.
You start and things go nicely until, uh-oh, you make a small mistake. Now your work looks bad, it’s not perfect!
You’ve failed so may as well leave this project. It probably wouldn’t have worked anyway.
Does this sound like something you would do or something similar? Abandon a project because it wasn’t shaping up to the perfect ideal you’d set in your head? Or did you not even start because you could just foresee that failure was inevitable. Perfection in this instance was unattainable.
This scenario is very familiar to me. I suffer from what is called:
Uuhhh, isn’t it a good thing to be a perfectionist? Doesn’t that mean you’re super duper organised? And really neat?
I have one word for you my friend. No.
Sure some perfectionists are neat and super organised. But not all of us are. The rest of us strive for perfection in other areas of our lives. We focus on those particular objectives and what’s left is a little messy. I’ll put my m’n’ms in colour order but my room looks like a bomb hit it. I have a certain way that the shopping needs to be put on the conveyor belt. I must do things right or what’s the point of doing anything? And therein lies the problem. Here’s a great article from the ABC about perfectionism that might put it in more perspective.
I fall into the latter category of perfectionism. I strive for perfection at all times in most things I do (except cleaning/tidying up – I ain’t got time for that right now) and when I don’t reach that lofty mark I set for myself or even remotely suspect I won’t reach it I become overwhelmed, dejected and ultimately give up. Which goes against my inherent belief that I should never give up.
The problem is I get so caught up in ‘everything must be perfect’ that it actually inhibits my ability to do anything! My perfection gets in the way.
Being an anxious person as well means I stress over un-achieved goals. You can kind of see how that creates a problem in itself.
Is that it though? Am I doomed to be stuck in a never ending pursuit of perfection that I’ll never reach? Are you in that chase too? What can we do about it?
Well, I’m glad you asked!
Over the years I’ve been learning to let go of perfection and just start, keep going.
If I couldn’t immediately succeed at something I put my mind to I stop and remind myself that I need to take it a bit slower and learn in steps. It took me 4 months to launch my blog because I had to make certain that it was good enough. I may never have actually launched Honey & Bramble if I didn’t stop and remind myself that not everything has to start off perfect, you can build and grow and get better over time.
Remind yourself that things like this don’t amount to much in the big scheme of life. And worrying that you’re not already at a certain point in life doesn’t mean failure. Take baby steps. Learning to let perfection go requires small steps too.
I don’t know about you but my energy would be better spent concentrating on seeking out the One who calms my mind and who loves me no matter what.
So enough with endlessly chasing perfection (because pretty sure it doesn’t exist). I’ll get to where I need to be when God wants me there. He’s been equipping me all my life for whatever my life holds and that’s enough for me.
What did you guys think of this post? I said to myself I wouldn’t go this ‘deep’ this early on but when I sat down to write this is what came. And really, this is what I want to share here – the struggles that come with anxiety (and in my case a perfectionist personality on top of that) so for those that deal with this too can (hopefully!) relate and for those who know me can gain insight to my life and understand why sometimes I seem a little crazy!
And here’s a gorgeous puppy for those who read the whole thing! 😀
* Please note that I am not trained in medicine or psychology and thus this information is based only on my own experiences. If you have problems with obsessive perfectionism please seek advice from your doctor *