On perfectionism

I am what some people might refer to as a "perfectionist". I work super hard, I take care of my body and do my best to stay fit, I eat well, I drink lots of water, I take vitamins, I floss my teeth, I tweeze my eyebrows and woman-scape as needed, I am super organized, I hate clutter, I have tons of goals, spreadsheets, calendars, lists, etc., etc., ad nauseum. However, as I've gotten older, I've realized that there is a distinct difference between being a perfectionist and just trying to be the best version of myself.

I am not a perfectionist. There are elements of true perfectionism that I feel are negative, and that really wear on your soul and your ability to be an empathetic person, friend and family member. Perfectionism is a heavy burden to bear, and a weight on your shoulders. A monkey on your back. True perfectionism causes you to lie, and to close yourself off from other people so they won't see the imperfections that exist in your life. I am not referring to the habit some people have of only posting "happy, perfect" things on Facebook, but rather to not being able to develop real, open, close, intimate and personal friendships with others because you're so focused on appearing "perfect".

I don't think true perfectionists are able to developing lasting and happy friendships or relationships with other people, and I think their focus on the appearance of perfection not only prevents them from becoming whole, deeply and truly happy people, but also prevents their closest loved ones from becoming so (meaning, spouses, children, etc.) They keep people at arms' length that want to develop supportive and open relationships with them, because being close with those people might mean they had to admit "my family is crazy," "my kids are a nightmare", "my house is a mess", or "we are broke". They don't want their spouse to be open with others, either, and they place pressure on their spouse to make the most money, to be the fittest, to be organized, and to be all the things they see as perfect. They place pressure on their children to play sports, to be popular, to get good grades, to have the most current clothes and the straightest teeth, because if they didn't, others may see them as imperfect. An imperfect family, an imperfect spouse, an unlucky wife or a taxed parent.

"Perfect" is a social construct. I think my life is perfect. Perfectly imperfect, perfectly messy, perfectly crazy, and perfectly mine. I am very open about my flaws and my struggles (hence the starting of this blog) and I think that being open about those things actually brings me closer to my own personal perfection. I love people. I love talking to people about real things, and connecting with them, making them feel comfortable and like I am like them. (Seth tells me the reason he fell in love with me is that I make him feel comfortable just being himself, in his own skin.) I don't care if your house is small, and a mess, and you're broke, and your family is full of raging lunatics, I just don't. I do, however, want to talk about those things. About the "why" things are that way, and how it affects you, and for you to feel that you can come to me because I will be an honest sounding board, I won't judge you, and because (GASP) I have the same struggles as you! In fact - and here's the kicker - no one's life is perfect, despite what they want you to think.

The craziest thing to me about true perfectionism is that, while you are so busy feeling negatively about anything that is "wrong", or inadequate, about your life, there are probably people looking at you and going "gosh, I wish I had their skin", or "their clothes", or "their house", or "their job". And maybe that's why perfectionism is a "thing", because people want the admiration and the envy of others. But is that truly fulfilling? When you look in the mirror at the end of the day, do you feel made whole by your big house, your clean laundry, your thin body, your perfectly polished nails, the perfectly styled photos you uploaded on social media that day, and the envy you receive from others for those things? Or do you feel pressured to keep it up, to go into debt, and to be lonely to perpetuate that perception of perfection?

How boring would the world be if we were all a bunch of perfect, plastic, vapid Stepford wives? Interminably so, that's how.

Anyway. Just my two cents.

4 comments:

  1. Great post! I am a perfectionist with work, and struggle with the stress this brings. Your post was thought provoking! - Trish

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    1. I struggle with it! I've done my best through blogging to change that about myself. I like to speak from the heart and fruitfully, even if that reveals imperfections about my life. It's sort of therapeutic that way!

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  2. What a post! I think I struggle with the exact opposite and am always thinking I should be more of a perfectionist but really no one is perfect like you said. I'll definitely be stopping by your blog more often!

    - Kat | www.DeliriumStyle.com

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    1. Thank you! Link me to your Facebook and I'd be happy to follow. :) I am sort of feeling the same way about blogging right now - I need to do more, be more organized, blah blah blah. But over time I know it will come together more and more. Just have to remind myself, OOOOHHHHMMMM. Haha!

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