Before you start this depressing blog post, please view this 16 year old Alt Rock song that has some relevance to the below, but mostly has just been stuck in my head all day.
Perfectionism is one of those wonderful traits my mother passed on to me. Pair that with my phobia of disappointing anyone and you’ve got a pretty good recipe for disaster.
Essentially I am afraid of being wrong. Sara touched on this a bit in her previous blog, how my mistakes are more in number but smaller in size. That’s because, when presented with a problem, instead of calmly taking care of it, I panic.
This is why I don’t test well, especially multiple choice tests. When presented with four different answers that are all designed to trip me up, suddenly every single thing I’ve learned flies right out of my ears. I find different ways they could all be right.
It’s also the reason that I am still writing this blog post even though I stayed at work until 8:45 tonight. When I say I’m going to something, then I need to do it – I have this need to follow though.
This is one of the things that I like least about me. You lose a sense of control over yourself when you feel so chained to pleasing others. It pains me that I would sacrifice things that I enjoy, that I find valuable, because I can’t say no, or I can’t stand up for myself, or I feel like I have to prove myself over and over again.
It also affects my work. Instead of addressing a problem and then moving on, I harp on details for hours. And then my emotions spiral as I think of all the ways this problem could’ve been solved if only I had done this, or that, or the other thing. And then I get mad at all the time I wasted worrying, when I could’ve just gotten more work done. Honestly I have to say, it’s pretty exhausting being me.
I’ve thought about a million different ways this can be solved. Short of actual therapy, I’ve tried relaxation techniques and better organization methods. And I’ve definitely tried to not give a fuck. But I can’t shake this very innate desire to please, to do well, to be perfect. I want be right 100% of the time. I want to be liked by everyone. I want people to think I’m important, and smart, and beautiful, and good.
But what’s really hard, and really kind of sad, is that I know I am all those things. When I’m alone, I can understand that I am doing well, that I am doing my best, and that as far as humans go, I’m definitely above average. But all that disappears when I am faced with the reality of a situation, and it doesn’t matter what I know or what I am. I become terrified and I think that the reason I won’t be able to do the things I want or be the person I want to be, is because I’m not good enough.
Slowly I’m getting better at being nicer to myself. The first step to solving any problem is of course, admitting you have one. These days when I mess up, I can get over it much more quickly, can see where improvements can be made, and address them properly. Sure it’s dull work, but it’s better than the emotional spiral I’m usually faced with. Perhaps one day I’ll be less neurotic, and more carefree, but today I will settle for doing my best.