Perfectionism–the dark side of it eats at me. Ten days since since my last post. Ouch. There are many excuses, good ones too, like my bout with stomach flu over a week ago and family events to fuss over. But I have to admit the real reason is a relapse of a recurring affliction… perfectionism. Perfectionism is so much the antithesis of blogging it’s no wonder it froze me out with writer’s block. Perfectionism is a trait similar to obsessive compulsiveness in that our society loves these qualities until they bite us in the ass. If you’ve ever really suffered from the dark side of perfectionism you know what I’m talking about. I saved Perfectthis New York Times article on perfectionism because I knew there would be an opportunity to share it at some point and here it is.
It’s good to be back on the blog, ready to make mistakes, get messy and embrace the joy of making a fool of myself.
I just read this and I thought about your post. Seth Godin wrote this on his blog.
“The object isn’t to be perfect. The goal isn’t to hold back until you’ve created something beyond reproach. I believe the opposite is true. Our birthright is to fail and to fail often, but to fail in search of something bigger than we can imagine. To do anything else is to waste it all.”
I like that. Sometimes I think he writes just to write, like when my Mom would say “Steve, your just talking to hear yourself talk.” But sometimes I think Seth and Steve get it right. Oh and since I lifted Seth’s quote his URL is http://sethgodin.typepad.com/
Keep up the good work.
Dear Steve, Thank you for Seth’s quote. I believe with all my heart in the bold, quixotic gesture and here Seth presents the boldest act of all, inviting failure for all the right reasons.
Yes! I have only just begun to realize that my perfectionism is oppressive… not just to myself. I see now that I have picked and picked here and there at things that don’t matter and have made others feel inadequate without even realizing it.
I think my perfectionism is rooted in shame- or the prevention of shame- an unnamed, faceless, pointless… darkness. I have had a long struggle in trying to deal with or prevent shame and now I see that while I thought I was working through or dealing with the shame I have actually just been avoiding it.
I see perfectionistic qualities in two dear young nieces and have made it a point to encourage imperfections and to try to help them embrace, find humor with, and rejoice in them.
Now to do that with myself…