Updated: Dec 18, 2019
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I think that’s why my perfectionism turns me into a bit of a procrastinator sometimes! There’s just so much anxiety building up to have to do every little thing so perfectly that I get overwhelmed and depressed, so I don’t do it.
Do you want to know what having depression and anxiety, and a little splash of perfectionism looks like? It’s like…we must do it all perfectly, there can be no mistakes. People will judge us if there is something slightly off center, something slightly askew. They must not see us be imperfect. We must do the thing perfectly…we’ll do it tomorrow.
It all begins by setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves. From how we want to live our lives, to that assessment grade we need to have, to how much money we feel that we need to be earning in order to be happy. But you know what makes it worse? What compounds the problems and ridiculous expectations that we already have for ourselves?
I’m gonna make social media to be a big bad guy here.
Social media has really exploded over the last few years, the biggest players being Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. And while it’s been great for connecting with long lost friends, making new friends, joining support groups, and selling off that unwanted junk you have, it’s got a pretty confronting downside. I’m talking about those ‘perfect’ pictures. The ones that we compare ourselves and our lives to, and bring on that Debbie Downer attitude because we don’t have that perfect life.
Yeah mate, I definitely do it too. It’s become a big cause of stress, and anxiety. It’s like I’m failing my family because we don’t have that perfect life that I’m always seeing.
Here’s what I’ve found when my perfectionism is running the show –
- I never accept praise for anything that’s gone right, or any achievement I’ve really done.
- I can’t enjoy the success that I have done because there are a million others things that I still need to be doing and I’ve got no time for enjoying my day-to-day life.
- I always worry about tiny little mistakes that are really, just nothing.
- I nitpick and complain about every tiny little thing that someone else has done! I mean really, what gives me the right to?!!
- I cannot be spontaneous. I mean, I’m bad at it normally, but when I’m in the throes of making everything ‘tippy top notch’, there’s just no room for spontaneity. None. Zip. Nada. Zilch. Just don’t try it.
There’s this old saying, that I think applies to perfectionism - ‘like a person who cannot see the forest for the trees.’ It’s just that, being a perfectionist makes you focus on every little detail, every tree, rather than the whole picture, the forest. I think that’s why my perfectionism turns me into a bit of a procrastinator sometimes! There’s just so much anxiety building up to have to do every little thing so perfectly that I get overwhelmed and depressed, so I don’t do it.
But what have I done to try and fix this? For starters, I have something to eat. HAHA! Seriously, it’s amazing what my brain can do when it’s had some decent food. It really calms down, and I can get a bit back to normal. It lets me
- Forgive myself a little...lets me remember the fact that I am just human and make mistakes.
- Sit down and set realistic goals and timeframes for them.
- Remember that I need to accept other people’s imperfections. That’s what makes them who they are to begin with!
- And be a bit more flexible. I’m still not what a lot of people would call spontaneous, but I’m more open to changes that happen in different situations.
I know I still have a long way to go to be able to live more comfortably with myself. But learning about what I can do to continue to accept myself for who I am right now, as an incomplete yet amazing person, will continue to be my goal. I’m slowly not just saying but actually believing that doing my best isn’t just good enough, it’s actually better than being perfect.