7 Habits of the Serious Perfectionist ~ Part 2

Wow! Last week’s article got long! Maybe I was getting a little perfectionistic with it. Spell check just told me ‘perfectionistic’ isn’t in the dictionary. Ya know what? I’m gonna let it slide. I think it will be good for me. šŸ˜‰

Well, let’s finish up this list. As a recap, here are the four habits that I wrote about last week.

  1. Setting unrealistic standards
  2. Procrastination
  3. Self-criticism
  4. Self-defense mechanisms

So, for the next five…

5. Dissatisfaction

Nothing ever being good enough is a double-whammy because it seriously limits enjoyment. Honestly, everything I ever try to do is because I believe it will in some way be good for me or for those I love, and a big part of that is anticipating enjoyment. So, how many of you, like me, have planned an outing or a special dinner that you were sincerely looking forward to, only to spend the whole time thinking, “Oh, I should have done this differently,” or “I hope they don’t notice the plates don’t match”? So something that SHOULD be full of joy and refreshment has no value because of the one or two things that went wrong. Talk about exhausting.

6. Depression

Well, yeah. If nothing is ever good enough, if you can never be enough, and you really start to believe that, you’re going to be depressed. And what I figured out is that God didn’t mean for me to find my significance or worthiness in my own efforts. ItĀ just can’t be done. So perfectionism meant that instead of trusting in Christ’s perfection and understanding deeply HIS glories, I was holding up my scraps and expecting them to somehow be impressive. And what I really had to acknowledge (and STILL do battle against) is that I wanted people to worship ME! I wanted people to see a “good Christian” more than a FAITHFUL DISCIPLE. Do you understand the difference? I was leading instead of following. I was shining the light on myself, instead of letting Christ’s light shine through me. And when you see how truly dim a light that is, but you don’t know if you can stop, depression is the result. This is as good as it gets. Depressing.

7. Fear

The root cause of all of this is fear. We fear losing the tiniest measure of control becauseĀ thatĀ could lead to failure. And we fear failure becauseĀ thatĀ could lead to rejection. And the fear of rejection is really just the desire to be loved, but believing that you are not worthy of love. Why do we believe this? There can be so many reasons, and I am certainly not a licensed counselor, so I am just reflecting on my own path. Early experiences of rejection likely play a large part. Who can go through life without facing rejection of one sort or another? Blaming others accomplishes nothing, but neither does blaming oneself.

So what’s the answer?

A change in thinking. And reminding yourself of truths that aren’t always self-evident to your damaged heart. We’ll look at some of these ideas next week, along with a few tips that have worked for me. Some of the strategies are so liberating as I learned to turn some of these habits upside downĀ to get free of them. Sort of like dislocating your shoulder to escape a straight jacket. Except less painful. Till next time.

Blessings,

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I Love my Tagline!

Before I get too far with this blog, I feel like I should address my tagline.

Embrace the Best. Hack the Rest.

This has been a lesson learned by my utter and complete failure at perfectionism. I used to call myself a “defeated perfectionist”. And even as I claimed the title, the word I mourned the most was “defeated”. How I wished I could drop the word “defeated” and just be a full-blown, successful perfectionist. How much easier things would be if I could just figure out how to get everything under control!

At this point, I can’t say that I’m entirely comfortable with the word “defeated”. But I do rejoice at the fact that I now recoil from the word “perfectionist”. This doesn’t mean that I do not still at times struggle. But I have learned more how to direct my struggle against any false sense of control I am clinging to rather than my former struggle against the entire universe conspiring for my demise by those nasty breadcrumbs that get stuck in the cracks of the table leaves.

This blog is a path. A path that I have chosen in order to figure out the difference between excellence and perfection. To learn what things can be “hacked” through, and what is truly worth pursuing all out. Your definitions and mine will differ (though I am sure that we can all agree that nasty breadcrumbs are not to be tolerated). I welcome any and all input. Let’s sharpen one another, “as iron sharpens iron.”