In my life, being a perfectionist means:
- I expect to get everything done.
- I want to feel in control – ie everything must be going right and running smoothly.
- If things go wrong life isn’t perfect anymore, and that’s a problem.
- If I have a problem, I should be able to work at it and sort it out.
- I’m not allowed to get angry, because it means things are not running smoothly.
- I’m not allowed to feel physically tired, or have an afternoon slump, because that stops me getting things done.
- I love getting things done, or rather I love having done lots of things.
- There is always something else to be done.
- I should be able to translate all (or at least most) of the ideas in my head into reality.
- Because I can’t act on all my ideas and get them done, it means I am not the mum I wanted to be. Or the successful professional/business woman I wanted to be.
- Not meeting these expectations makes me feel like a failure – however unattainable they are.
- Being a perfectionist is the only way I can be.
Until now. As I’ve recently realised, it’s time for change. Being a perfectionist no longer serves me or my family. Reading some of the above sentances makes it clear how skewed my thinking has become due to this expectation of perfection. So I’m going on a crash course in being kinder to myself and lowering my expectations. To get me out of the habit of setting high expectations, wanting every moment to be perfect, and needing to be in control at all times my mantra will be:
- I don’t want to be perfect.
- I’m aiming for imperfection.
- It is ok for me (and my family) to have a rainbow of emotions in one day.
I just need to remind myself, one moment at a time, that there is another choice. I won’t make that choice every time. I will automatically think my ingrained perfectionist thoughts, but I’m starting now to try and replace them, and it’s ok to do that imperfectly.