There are areas of my life that I have a tendency to lean more towards perfectionism. In some areas, I’m fine with status quo. I’m not a big shopper, and don’t need the nicest clothes, home décor or technology. I like things neat and clean, but if they are not, I don’t fret. But when it comes to my work and my health, I tend to want things to be perfect. And I can be fairly competitive in these aspects too.
But being perfect is never attainable. Even if you appear perfect to others, in your own eyes, there’s always room for improvement.
And wanting to improve in itself is not a bad thing. It’s what keeps us growing, learning and moving forward in our life.
But when you are trying to be perfect, things can turn bad pretty quickly.
Perfectionists tend to have all-or-nothing attitudes. If you can’t do something perfect, you won’t do it. And if you do go for it, then it must be perfect. You will stop at nothing to make sure it is perfect. This can lead to frustration, health issues and depression.
But as I time passes, I’ve realized that to truly be the best, I need to make mistakes. I need to try new things and fail. That’s the only way I will learn.
I also have started to realize that I not only need to accept my imperfections, but love them. Imperfections don’t make me less than a great person, but they make me the unique person that I am. It’s ok that I don’t win everything, but it’s great that I try. In fact, I love the fact that I’m a competitive person, and I laugh at myself when I try to compete in ridiculous situations.
Like last week I took a Cardio Strength class at my local gym, and we had to run sprints toward the end of class. So me, being me, tried to outrun everyone. And I got frustrated with myself because I could not outrun a very tall, athletic male. Here’s 5’1″ me trying to outrun a guy who was probably almost a foot taller than me. There was no way that I was going to even come close to his speed! But I tried, I failed, and I laughed.
I have learned not to get angry, not to spend the next week trying to increase my running speed so I can hopefully have a “rematch” next class, but to just use that energy to do the best I can, accept that as great, and move on.
You can turn your perfectionist nature into a more beneficial trait once you start to love yourself, imperfections and all. Realizing that you can only do your best is the first step.