About a week ago, during research work for a side project, it hit me. Perfectionism is evil, and it is ruining my life. This monumental revelation, by itself, shifted my mental focus in a much more positive and active direction. A lot of the action, to be fair, is behind the scenes for now. But, I will tell you it is exhilarating. These major decisions will result in a lot of excellent content for Dirty Windshield.
More On The Perfectionism Epiphany
At the time, I was watching an interview on YouTube discussing a new book set to come out. The guest author was relaying a childhood memory of his that triggered a memory of mine. Our stories weren’t related, but the imagery connected it to my mind. Memories of drawings I created with my father’s instruction or while watching “Mark Kistler’s Imagination Station.” Instantly bummed I let my talent waste away except for the single art class I took in high school. In this instant, I realized that I have always been way too hard on myself with just about everything. So much so, that I have not tried to do many things that I wanted and would likely enjoy.
Fascinated by this epiphany, I spent some time thinking about how much this had affected my life. I shared the idea with my husband who, at first, was basically in denial believing perfectionism drives him. We debated the topic of perfectionism and how it relates to procrastination for the duration of the evening. I’ve worked hard and been successful my entire life chasing other people’s goals and put my enjoyment and personal success aside out of fear that I was not good enough.
With the New Year, I resolve to work on conquering my perfectionist ways. I commit to accepting my accomplishments for what they are and not what they could be.
Dark Side of Perfectionism
As a recovering perfectionist, there are six areas where I feel the behavior creates outside adverse effects:
- Procrastination – Putting off starting because some aspect will not be perfect
- Black and White/All or Nothing Thinking – Essentially, if it is not perfect, it is a failure
- Negative “Self-Talk” – “Nothing I do is ever good enough” mentality; criticizing yourself in hurtful ways
- Highly Critical in Nature – Judgemental of ourselves initially, which turns into a habit that where we judge other people, objects and situations against our unfairly high standards
- Fear of Failure – All of the above, readily inhibits us from seeking our full potential
- Feeling the Need for Acceptance – the ones who matter won’t have an issue, and the ones who have a problem, don’t matter – chances are they do not even think about it that way
Reflecting On The First Few Days
Making and breaking habits require discipline and acceptance that mistakes happen I am aware when I mess up, and I am continually making progress. After much thought, I challenged myself to work on mini side projects each day surrounding areas I am interested in, but for which I do not typically make time. To ensure my regular work would not suffer, I committed to a daily word count for writing for the entire year.
As I mentioned earlier, a memory of drawing is what initiated my shift, so I will be drawing for a minimum of 30 minutes a day going forward. To balance out my learning with something else I have wanted to learn, but always struggled with, I chose to practice guitar. Those who know me personally, know my love for music, but also know I struggle with instruments. So, this is a big one for me because it directly relates to giving it up for not being “perfect.”
As of now, I can already see how letting go of the high expectations has opened up my creativity. I couldn’t be more excited to see what great ideas this new outlook will bring. Much more to come soon!