I’ve talked about perfectionism A LOT on this blog. Not to mention my own perfectionist tendencies. In fact, when I attempted to find an old post to link here, I found so many I figured I’d just link to the many MANY posts I’ve written.
However… flicking back through them, along with a new realisation has made me think about the notion of perfectionism – not to mention my own behaviour – quite differently.
Both pieces kinda boil down to the suggestion that lowering our aspirations or goals, lowers our expectations (of our own achievements), meaning we’ll be happier with ourselves and our lives. Apparently.
The good – and bad – thing about some social media sites is that they’re constantly sharing old content. Although it can get a bit repetitive, it also allows us to discover stuff we may have missed first (second, third or sixteenth) time around.
I tend to be a sucker for a good quote or click-bait-like headline. And while I make fun of inspirational quotes and other similarly wanky fodder, I find myself clicking on links which promise to solve all of my problems and make me a better person. So this – via Huffington Post – caught my attention:.
A week or two ago I shared a conversation I had with my life coach Karen. I said that I was concerned about selling my business wares, unsure if it was ethical to be implying that I (ie. ‘lil ol me’) was the BEST person for someone’s writing/blogging/social media needs. It wasn’t that I didn’t / don’t think I can actually do (whatever it may be I’m offering), rather I struggle with the ‘why’ they should accept my offer.
A Finnish reader, who’s also a blogger and all-around lovely person, Satu, has asked me to do a guest post. Naturally I was honoured to be asked, said yes and then went to bed last night pondering on what I might write.
Because I’m well… me, the blog post in my head got as off-track as my on-screen blog posts are wont to do. So, as I don’t want to send her some War and Peace-like tome, I thought I’d share one of my thought-tangents here.
You may recall that a couple of months ago I undertook a blogging challenge compliments of a US blogger I follow, Tina from Faith, Fitness, Fun. The 30 days of self-love challenge required me to write about a number of pre-set topics (30, obviously). There were no prizes, no accolades. The ‘challenge’ part didn’t signify that you compete and win something; rather it referred to the emotional and mental challenge of writing about things that may be confronting and uncomfortable. (And possibly I added the ‘challenge’ part myself!) The themes themselves threw up a lot of issues for me and I got a lot of value from pondering on them, even if I don’t (yet) have all of the answers.
A local blogger, Liz, from Last Chance Training is currently undertaking the challenge and on the weekend I caught up on her posts, one of which resonated with me: the topic of ‘perfection’.
My own ‘Desiring perfection’post goes on (and on) about my younger years and how I’d strived (and starved) for perfection. I end by saying that I don’t want to be ‘perfect’ any more; that I want to be ‘good enough’.
But reading Liz’s blog made me think about the topic again. I suspect I don’t desire perfection BUT I still have perfectionist behaviours and attitudes. On this weight loss program I wonder why ‘I’ haven’t lost as much weight as everyone else and probably berate myself for not being as committed as I should be. Again… I compare myself to others FAR too much. As Liz says in her post, there will always be someone better. At something. Or everything. On the weekend, I also got a comment from a blogger (J) from 52 Weeks, 52 pounds, who suggested I consider the ‘continuous improvement’ approach rather than targetting perfection. Which made a LOT of sense.
What interested me most about Liz’s post however, was a comment she made about wanting to be ‘recognised’ for her achievements. This seriously resonated with me. Which – on one hand scares the shit out of me, because I wonder if I’m wanting it to ‘be all about me’ again!?!
But when I think about it, attention and recognition are basic human needs. I mean, logically, I know one person isn’t going to be the best AT EVERYTHING. As I’ve said in this blog before… I do realise that I can only be the best ME possible. For no one else can achieve that.
But… I wonder now, is my constant striving for perfection more about being congratulated, or acknowledged or recognised for my achievements – rather than the actual achievement itself. Possibly.
Naturally, the over-analyser that I am now needs to wonder why this is. In my perfection post I talk about having an over-achieving big brother and perhaps (through no one’s fault) getting a little lost in the background. Perhaps my battle with anorexia was indeed about starving for attention. Does that matter anymore? I don’t think so.
I need to focus more on the NOW and what I need to do differently as I move forward. Work-wise, I have probably (on occasions) felt I hadn’t received the recognition I deserved – although I have chosen to work with (relatively) important people and organisations, but in support roles. In my current role, however, I feel valued and acknowledged. Which is a change.
Although I worry it will make me sound pathetic (okay, more so!), I wonder if my lack of importance in other peoples’ lives makes me feel a bit insignificant in my non-working life. Sure, I am a daughter and sister, and a friend and aunt; but I’m no one’s great love, or mother, or wife etc.
I’m not saying people don’t care whether I live or die, but (other than my parents), I’m not the centre of anyone’s universe. Which begs the question: should I be? Does one need to be loved in that way to feel important and valued, or to feel – at least – acknowledgd and noticed? God, I hope not.
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Hi, I’m Deborah… a seachanger living on Australia’s Fraser Coast, in Queensland. I write about books and life in general.