Life Hacks

The Tales of a Perfectionist on the Road to Recovery

How I will learn to be okay with just being okay

Per – fec – tion – ist:  pərˈfekSH(ə)nəst/ Noun. A person who refuses to accept any standard short of perfection. Ex. I make my bed before I leave for the day, strive to make every sentence of my stories flawless, and have to make sure the people around me are happy.

Being a perfectionist is a gift and a curse. It is a trait that allows me to always put my best foot forward; however, it also keeps me up at night as I always think there are things I should be doing better.

Although my perfectionism has been a helping hand in regard to my grades and passionate personality over the years, it has sparked some negativity in my life as well; it often leads me to self-doubt and under-appreciation.

Some recent soul-searching has left me to ponder questions such as, where my perfectionism stems from and why I am the way I am. I have come to learn a great deal about myself because of it.

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The truth is that there is no true method behind the madness. I am a perfectionist simply because I need to know I am trying my best. A lot of my confidence is driven by the successes I acquire due to hard work and the reputation I have of “always being put together.”

Knowing others view me as the girl who gets her work done and stays on top of things is a great compliment, but it also makes me feel as if there is a standard I must constantly live up to. I am the one who places this pressure on myself, though…I am my own worst enemy in this fight against the expectation to be perfect.

This characteristic has worked its way into nearly every aspect of my life, including school, work, and my relationships, which is exhausting, as you can imagine.

The state-of-mind that nothing is ever good enough has left me feeling depleted, which tells me it’s time to make some changes.

If you’re anything like me, I say we start appreciating ourselves for where we are in life. It’s okay to strive for perfection, but it’s not okay to beat ourselves up over it.

I am proud to say I am a perfectionist on the road to recovery and will learn to be okay with just being okay.

I want to be content with the progress I make every day and proud of the hard work I perform.

Because this quality is deeply rooted in my personality, it’s going to take some time to change, but I have a few ideas up my sleeve for how I plan to go about this.

Give myself a reality check

I often get unnecessarily ahead of myself in moments that I shouldn’t. My mind makes negative conclusions and assumes the worst of a situation. It’s important to ask myself if the situation is really as bad as I am making it out to be.

Stop letting the fear of failing control me

As a perfectionist, one of my greatest fears is failing: performing poorly on an assignment, disappointing my loved ones, falling short in my own eyes. I am coming to terms with the fact that this fear is counterproductive, though. It will only hold me back from setting out all I hope to do and make me an indecisive person who cannot make decisions on her own.

I am ready to set this fear free and trust myself to make the right decision in the present moment.

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Photo by Tristen Lee Young

Find balance in perfectionism

I set the bar relatively high for myself and those I surround myself with, and there is nothing wrong with that; however, I must find a balance between pushing and accepting myself.

Thinking I could and should be better will only lead to disappointment, so I must be comfortable in my skin and surrender to my imperfections. I believe it’s all about compromise, and learning to be flexible with myself while maintaining my high standards.

Perfectionism is a lifestyle that’s going to take some time to change, but the first step is to not be so hard on me.

To the all the perfectionists out there looking to cut themselves a break, join me!

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Also published on Medium.

Journalism and Mass Communication Major, Barrett the Honors College at...