I had a very interesting therapy session yesterday and I will explore several topics that I still analyze in my head. First — am I able to accept that I don’t need to be perfect all the time. And second — is there a room in my psyche to allow for me to admit being wrong once in the while, and am I capable of acknowledging that I can make mistakes.
Wow, there is a lot to unpack here, but I find this desire to understand what is going in my mind invigorating and very helpful for my self-growth.
Yes, I have no problem admitting that I am a perfectionist. I remember the story that my first serious girlfriend told me many years after that happened: we were in my room and were talking and kissing, and she took a book from the bookshelf and, after reading the title, put it back. But she put it back the wrong way — it was in some way askew and after several minutes of visible discomfort from me, I finally got up and put that book back the way it was supposed to be. No big deal, right? Maybe a little OCD from me, but we were kissing at that time and something not being in the right position at the right place took me out of the mood until I got it fixed. After I fixed it, for some reason my girlfriend wasn’t in the mood herself…
I expect things to be done the right way; I expect relationships to be cultivated the right way; I expect other people to aim up to my vision and my level of perfectness. All that is unrealistic, I know, but if I see or experience something done half-arsed or not to my liking — I react badly to it. My question is always — if I can do something the right way, why others cannot. Of course, it is extremely difficult to admit that there could be many right ways to achieve the same result. And this is really exhausting — to expect perfectionism from myself and others. I know there isn’t (nor shouldn’t be) a problem with occasional sloppiness, but seeing something out of my imagined perfect place makes me distraught and angry. Can I allow myself anything less than perfect and still be ok with it? I think I can, but it will require a lot of work from me to readjust (just a little) my value system and accept that sometimes I can just things be the way they are — warts and all.
I react badly to my mistakes as well. I tend to over-analyze things I do wrong and try to find an explanation that would point out something external that made me do something the wrong way. Almost like I want to look for an excuse for a mistake I made instead of just accepting that I am not always perfect and can make mistakes (and that neatly ties up to my NEED to be perfect). Of course, taking the blame for all the wrong things that happened to me would be wrong as well — but I am sure there is some middle ground to be found here. At least I already learned to accept and admit to my mistakes at work in the professional setting. If I see it myself or if somebody else points to me, I did something wrong (after checking if that is actually correct) I have no problem owning up to it. It still pains me internally that I wasn’t perfect, but it also pushes me to NEVER again make this kind of mistake. And in the end, that works out very well — for me, at least. I still cannot accept other people making the same mistake time after time. And that is another matter I can work on getting better, not perfect — just better will do.