Please Release Me

If I could change one thing (without pain) what would it be?

I would love love love to not be a perfectionist.  A life littered with self-defeating behaviours is exhausting not to mention the hurt it’s caused over the years. Having spent years trying to change perfectionistic behaviours I am so over it!  Some things have been easy to change and they’ve brought relief and friendship.  I’d like to learn to chill.  Yep, that’s it just be able to chill out and not be anxiously trying to control the outcomes of everything in my life.

As children our father expected stardom from my brother and I.  We were encouraged, nay goaded to reach for the moon.  It didn’t matter how pleased we were with an 89% or (heaven forbid) a 70%, our father would want to know what happened to the missing marks.  We never made it no matter how hard we tried.  It didn’t take long before I became driven by the need to achieve highly so I wouldn’t be punished with my father’s silent disapproval.  I can’t speak for my brother but I certainly became a people-pleaser which came with it’s own anxieties and miseries.

One of the paradoxes of my perfectionist behaviours is that I’m also a procrastinator because the drive to do the best job draws me into focussing on minute details.  This burying my head in the small print  often leads to missing the deadline completely or just never getting there at all.  Research – absolutely love it.  Ha!  Getting the results into a review of literature – forget it!  Uni assignments were the stuff of absolute nightmares as the midnight oil burned late into the early hours of many a morning.

The more I reflect on the cost of perfectionism the more I realise that to be free of it would bring so many benefits.  No more feeling hurt because everything is internalised; criticism would be something I could actually reflect on rather than have it reduce me to a crumpled mess.  Anxiety would no longer sit on my shoulders and I’d be able to shrug off the opinion of others, or even better, accept it.

A work in progress – like everyone else in the human race.  The thought of throwing off perfectionism ‘painlessly’ is a wonderful myth but if you do find a way I want to know about it.

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2 thoughts on “Please Release Me

  1. I so know the feeling of trying to deal with criticism differently and eliminate perfectionism. It is almost hard wired in us, when we have frown up with it. I think I failed my first son a bit, apt to be a bit negative about mistakes around him, but was much better when raising the second and third child. Tried to undo the perpetuation of perfectionistic traits, in the next generation. It just about broke my heart when I heard the neighbour ranting and cursing at her daughter because she dared to ‘bring home an A minus” !!! I was never that extreme, and now look on mistakes/ failure as just another deviation to the path/something positive/ a blessing, given that a mistake can be an opportunity to learn (most times). I think if we keep challenging those irrational beliefs that are so ingrained in us, the mind will eventually let down its guard, and we can grow and adopt new patterns of thinking. Good luck in your journey.

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    • Thank you for dropping by and spending time to comment, it is an encouragement. We do things differently with our children and have made different mistakes. Mine was expecting an effort, any effort, which I think robbed them of reaching their potential. Both children know this now in adulthood and have gone on to achieve well, one in IT and the other in motherhood which makes me equally proud of them. Both are caring and confident. I like how you view mistakes/failures as a kink in the journey, makes it less intense and correction achievable.

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