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.
I was listening to a Straight & Curly podcast recently and interested to hear Carly Jacobs and Kelly Exeter talk about perfectionism. It reminded me of something I’d recently read in Thrive Global and bookmarked (at the time) for closer attention.
Self-oriented perfectionists – adhere to strict standards for themselves and their behaviour
Other-oriented perfectionists – set very high standards for significant others
Socially-prescribed perfectionists – believe others hold unrealistic expectations of them and are evaluating them critically.
And the fog lifted. Angels sang. A light bulb flickered before burning brightly.
I’d wondered you see, how I could call myself a perfectionist but actually be happy to be exceptionally crappy at some stuff. Like cooking. Or craft-oriented things. And softball, touch football and hockey. (In the days I played stuff.)
Until I realised for me it’s all about everyone else. And what THEY think of me.
I recently talked about the fact I was struggling with a lot of stuff in my life. I’ve lost weight but worry I’ve disappointed my doctor and surgeon by not losing as much as I should. I worry that people at work think I’m not dedicated enough. I worry about my writing and have never really allowed it to be read by others (in front of me / out aloud) for fear of their judgement.
The sane part of me recognises that others really aren’t looking at my life and thinking what a fuck-up I am. (Which makes me realise there’s a bit of self-oriented perfectionism in there as well.) I’ve often mentioned the fact I’m a people pleaser – sometimes to a ridiculous extent. I worry excessively about how others feel and – importantly – what they think of me.
As usual I’m not saying I have answers, but I think recognising this trait and actually asking myself if my suspicions or perceptions are true is surely a good starting point. I am – if nothing else – a logical person. I’m pragmatic. If I stop to question whether this person is REALLY judging me or has high expectations of me it’s likely I’ll realise they’re not thinking of me at all.
Do you think of yourself as a perfectionist? Do you agree there are different types or see yourself in any of the definitions above? Any tips for overcoming perfectionist tendencies?
I’ve joined Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit and some other bloggers to help promote “ageing positively” and the Lovin’ Life mindset across the interwebz. You can link up via any one of us!
** Not sure where the Steinbeck image is from as I found it on Pinterest shared a million gazillion times.