Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Strive for Perfection

Call it Type A. Call it Birth Order Syndrome (1st born, btw). Call me a classic Virgo if you believe in that. Call it what you will....I am a perfectionist. I strive for perfection in everything I do. To the point that I am disgustingly imperfect. When it comes to myself, I expect the best and I am hard on myself. I am learning to be better, and I have actually let up a lot over the past few years. A particular incident really highlighted that need for me. But I don't know if I will ever break free from it completely. I try - but that's because I want to be perfect at not being perfect. Yup - I'm complicated like that!
Here's the problem, though. I screw everything up. In my strive for perfection, I question everything, I want to make sure I am doing things right, I try really hard, and I want to please everyone. What really ends up happening is that I push people away and I screw up everything. I am single, not by my own choosing (meaning I did not say "I am going to be 31 and single because I want to be), but really I think because every time someone tries to get anywhere near close to me I screw it up. I try to be too perfect. I try too hard. I ask to many questions. I over-communicate. I am not necessarily what I would call 'needy', but I am a perfectionist - and a major part of that perfectionism is wanting other people to be happy.
I'm really trying to do things that I want to do and to be myself and to embrace myself and to make Rebecca happy. It's harder than it sounds :-) but I'm trying really hard. How un-perfect does that sound - I'm trying really hard to be myself?!?! What happened along the way that got me to this point? Lots of stuff, actually, but most of that I'll keep close because it hurts and its raw.
But in the midst of doing things I want to do and things that make me happy, and being myself, I have once again let my perfectionism screw things up. So today, I'm sad. And of all the issues I have in life and all the virtues I wish I had that I have not been blessed with - this is the one I truly wish could be taken away from me. It has become such a burden.
It makes me really good at things. Striving for perfection means that I am a great problem solver. It means that I will not give up until I have come up with the best possible solution. It means I am efficient. It usually means I am effective. It means I will not give up until I am the best manager that I can be for my students and staff. It means that I am a hard worker and that I make sure the job gets done. I means that I don't settle for anything less than the best. It means that I am decisive and know want I want for myself and it means that I want the absolute best for everyone around me as well.
So when I am done beating myself up over not being perfect and kicking myself for screwing things up again, I'll take a deep breath and realize that there are positives as well. Then I'll remember Psalm 139:14, "I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

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