Perfectionism ran my life for a very long time. I always felt the need to be the perfect person, the one who can do everything and be everything. The one who everyone looks at and is like “how do they do it?”
While my perfectionism doesn’t look like that anymore, it is still prevalent. I still find myself extremely disappointed when I don’t make a 4.0 GPA in the semester. I get frustrated with myself when I have to cancel plans. If I can’t do a hobby, passion, activity “perfectly” the first time, or if I’m just not good at it even if I enjoy it, I drop it.
The little ways that perfectionism still invades my life seem insignificant, and show a lot of progress from who I was. But the honest reality is that perfectionism in any way, shape, or form is unhealthy. It is impossible to be a perfectionist and value yourself and what you have to offer. There is always more to do, more to accomplish. Perfectionism makes what I have accomplished seem insignificant compared to what I haven’t, and it changes how I value myself and my time.
Not being a perfectionist is a work in progress, like everything I mention on this blog. I’m a work in progress. Stating that feels imperfect, which is a step towards not being a perfectionist. Other than that, though, perfectionism is dealt with in the same manner that I deal with my anxiety.
If I’m anxious about something, I do it anyways (note: healthy things only). My anxiety operates out of fear, and if I can continually prove it wrong then it lessens.
My perfectionism operates out of fear in its own way, too. Fear that I am not enough of a person, or doing enough activities, or being a good enough friend, etc. It demands a “do it anyways” attitude as well, but it also tells me I need to casually screw things up sometimes.
I got a B in my economics class last semester, and nothing bad happened
I submitted an assignment without fully re-reading what I had written and making sure everything sounded “just right,” and nothing bad happened.
I canceled plans I had for tonight, and nothing bad happened.
I drew a person for the first time in a long time, it looked horrible, I did it again the next day, it still looked horrible, and nothing bad happened.
Unlearning the problematic things I think, feel, and act on is a challenge. When anxiety tells me I can’t do something, I do it anyways. When perfectionism tells me I can’t do something perfectly, I do it anyways and say it is good enough.
While I still feel like I’m “letting myself slack off” or “letting myself off the hook” when I don’t do everything to the unobtainable standard of perfection, I know that progress looks different for everyone. It is progress for me to let things go and recognize that I am only human. Constantly running towards perfection almost killed me. Good enough is good. Good enough is enough.