As long as I can remember, I’ve wrestled with perfectionism.
It was perfectionism that drove me to get straight A’s throughout my elementary, junior high, high school, and college career (save one class in high school: my third quarter Spanish III grade was a B+…and I still remember).
It was perfectionism that led me to almost lose my life from anorexia and bulimia.
Perfectionism has always driven me to do things with 100% of my energy.
Some might argue that such a drive isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, high standards can be a motivating factor in pushing yourself beyond what you thought you could do, right?
But the problem with perfectionism is that there is never a point when you can sit back, sigh contentedly, and say, “I just did a great job. I’m happy with that.”
And that can lead to an utterly exhausting and demoralizing existence. Because nothing will ever be “good enough” if perfection is the only option.
The drive for perfection has also caused me to miss out on some pretty awesome experiences. When I allow perfectionism to drive my choices and determine my experiences, I subconsciously (or even deliberately) decide not to do things at which I would be just mediocre. I’ve missed out on the journey and the accompanying growth, fearful of not being the best at whatever I undertook. And in those moments, I’ve also missed the point.
It takes some conscious effort, but lately I’ve been trying to do my best to strive for excellence rather than perfection.
Striving for excellence doesn’t require me to reach an unreachable result. It simply requires me to put forth the best effort I can put forth. And I can commit to being and doing my personal best at something. The bar is still pretty high…but it’s definitely attainable.
How have you been able to tame the beast of perfectionism?