I wish I already viscerally understood this truth, but I’m continually surprised by just how much you DON’T ever do if you refuse to try until it can be perfect.
Writing is a perennial one. So many times I think I’d love to sit and work through some thoughts on this topic. But quickly the task gets so daunting, and I’m more and more assured that I couldn’t possibly do it well enough. So I preemptively quit or just add it to the to-do list of items I might do someday if I feel up to the task.
See, I think we probably know enough to know none of us will ever be “perfect.” It just rings of “wrong answer,” the one you’d cross off first on a multiple choice test. And we’re smarter than that. So I couldn’t be a perfectionist. That’s like being a leprechaunist or a mermaidist. We all *know* it doesn’t exist.
But the lived reality of perfectionism is a bit more insidious, I think. Perfectionism can be cleverly disguised. See, I just want to do and be better and better in every imaginable way and find it incredibly difficult to accept when I’m not. But I’m not a perfectionist.
So it’s fine. 🙂 Except for when it’s not, resulting in the momentary breakdowns or exasperated outbursts. Such as one day talking to a mentor about how crushed I was when I was (oh God) not perfect at work. And maybe everyone would know and I’d be exposed as a big terrible not perfect person 😬 So I started hatching a plan to earn some ‘quick wins’ which is business speak for “something easy you can do to establish that you’re not an imbecile.”
Amidst my plan it was suggested that while it’s great to want to work hard, perhaps the instinct to turn around and achieve something in order to earn my way back into favor might not be entirely sound, let alone healthy.
“But…what would I even be DOING in life if I wasn’t trying to be BETTER??”
“Living life maybe..
Being a person?
just… enjoying yourself?”
That’s like telling your friend you need to train for a triathalon and she’s like “maybe you just really need some ice cream instead?” UGH.
So I didn’t appreciate those words at first blush… but I knew in some backwards way she was probably on to something. And maybe I oughta listen.
That week I took some time to just “enjoy life” as the say… had some coffee, read some poems, scrawled out some thoughts on a placemat since that was the only scratch paper I could find.
It wasn’t terrible. And life didn’t self-destruct on account of a little time of just being, so that was alright, too.
I even got on a little anti-perfectionist streak such that I even managed to get back to the blog again. So you know, baby steps.
I’d let you know how that goes but truthfully, I only tend to last for a few days before reverting to that ‘just be better‘ mindset again.
But maybe if I try EXTRA hard this time I can finally get it right. 🙂