Dating a perfectionist
Perfectionism stems from a dissatisfaction with where you are and who you are, and because of that, nothing is ever good enough. It will tell you stories like: So if you are perfectionistic, the question needs to be – how long do you want to be dissatisfied for? There is no one solution for perfectionism, but there is a process. I knew my perfectionism was a problem for years before I had the balls to do anything about it. A few big failures have been crucial in helping me construct a healthier sense of self. I got into Harvard without actually having to try that hard, but when I arrived on campus was immediately knocked off my high horse by my peers much smarter and more talented than I.
It is a process of starting to untangle from your high standards, your rigid expectations, and your stories about what you need to accomplish to be a good, worthwhile human being. For a perfectionist, letting go of your standards and expectations feeling like jumping out of a plane only to realize you’re not wearing a parachute. I coped by trying harder and putting even more pressure on myself, and got so wound up that I ended up dropping out of school my junior year.
This quality can help you notice and react to problems quickly, but it is also a cage that traps you.
No one is going to say, “Hey buddy, can you stop being so organized, so conscientious, so disciplined? I could hear it in their voices when they bragged about me to other people. My success helped them feel they were good at what they did. They didn’t want to see the other side of me – the part of me that felt insecure and weak, the part of me that was exhausted from working so hard, the part of me that was struggling desperately to keep it together. I never purposely set out to fail, obviously, but I am extremely appreciative for the times I did.
set your sights higher.” Perfectionism never let me enjoy any of my successes.
I always had to buckle down and move on to the next thing. Their lips said one thing, but I could see the truth in their eyes.
But she was also there to tell me that each of these accomplishments was not sufficient, that I should try harder, do more, be better.
When I had achieved something difficult and was enjoying my success, she was there to whisper in my ear, “Not good enough…