Why I Am A Recovering Perfectionist!
Brought up by a perfectionist mother, I used to hold the belief that unless you do it and get it right, keep trying until you do. Whether it was school work or sport or how I dressed myself, everything I did had to be done perfectly, or I would receive criticism and be made to fix it until it was good enough for her expectations.
In an extreme example of this, I recall in my year 11 fashion class, having to unpick the work I had done that day at school which the teacher was impressed by, because it didn't meet my mother's standard of 20 years working as a dressmaker. Whilst I can appreciate a job well done, and taking pride in what I do, I do feel we have become a little too obsessed with this notion of perfection as a society.
You only have to look around at the constant flood of advertising and social media that we are exposed to, where people go to great lengths to stage their view of perfection, then take it the next step further and apply filters or touch up in order to meet their need for acceptance. At the end of the day we all need to accept the fact that we will never be perfect at everything and that we will make mistakes. What is important is that you not only try your best, but that you actually prioritise what it is that you want to put your attention and focus into.
The expectation of being a perfect partner, parent, employee, entrepreneur, home maker etc. is both unreasonable and unattainable. Why not prioritise your effort on your relationships and commitments, and then aim to do your best in all other areas, without having a breakdown when you don't get the perfect grade, job or home?
In a recent book I read by Elizabeth Gilbert, her mum liked the saying, "done is better than perfect". This was a relatively new notion for me, as it is far from that of my upbringing. I know for a fact my mother would not have accepted this and would have seen it as an excuse to slack off or do a half hearted job.
Whilst I wish to begin to employ this philosophy, I don't intend on using it as an excuse. However, I do intend on lowering my expectations of myself and others, especially when it comes to the less important things in my life.