Perfectionism is the trait I have that I feel damages me the most. I’m the all or nothing type of perfectionist. This affects my parenting, housekeeping, diet, and physical health. I mean, it really doesn’t leave any aspect of my life untouched.
Just as a few examples: I decided to make a home made gift for some of my family members. I thought it would be a nice Christmas present. After much searching I finally ordered a cross stitch kit and when it arrived I realised it was MUCH larger than I thought. I set myself a goal of trying to complete a certain amount to do every day and for a while I managed to make that goal. Then, Ryan broke his toe and everything went out the window. I finally had to admit that I would not finish the piece before Christmas, and I haven’t touched the thing since. Not because I made a mistake anywhere, just because it wouldn’t be done when I hoped. My logical brain insists that it doesn’t matter WHEN I give the gift, but logic doesn’t have a place here.
Another is in my diet and fitness level. For most of my life I have struggled with my weight. I have lost weight before, but it took obsessive levels of calorie counting and exercise. It was all I thought about, all I talked about, and when the weight loss stalled, I quit and gained everything back.
One more example. I’m not a “neat” person. I have tried, but my brain is too scattered. In a previous relationship my housekeeping became a big issue and in an attempt to fix it, I managed to get my apartment into a show-home level of spotlessness. Then, I stopped functioning. I swept the floors several times a day. I couldn’t bear a single dish in the sink. The sound of the dog eating would wake me up in the night and I would lie there waiting for her to finish so I could clean up any messes she might have made. There I achieved perfection at the cost of my mental health.
I don’t want to be a perfectionist, and I don’t want my kids to get the idea that if they are not perfect that they have somehow failed. I’ve been trying to do some reading to see if I can’t reframe my thinking and work toward wiring my brain to accept “better” rather than insisting on “best”. Here are some things I have come across if you are interested and of course would love to hear any suggestions you all have.