Coffee Talk |Perfectionism and its Deceptive Characteristics
Good Day Starshine!
I’ve decided to start a topic called, #CoffeeTalk. Each topic is something I’ve discussed with my peers through candid conversation, usually over coffee (or drinks).
For the past couple of weeks, this topic has been haunting me. I am, like most artists, a perfectionist.
I liked things a certain way (usually, perfect) before I could present it to the public.
I didn’t like being humiliated/laughed at for being different because I wanted to remain “perfect” in life.
I criticized small mistakes that I or someone else did, because it didn’t turn out like I had it set in my mind (which was perfect of course).
I got frustrated when I did workouts and it looked NOTHING like the fitness gurus of the internet!
What is wrong with this picture?!
Perfection is a myth! There’s no such thing as being absolutely perfect! Although so many folks told me this, I didn't figure that out until my adult life. How embarrassing!
I had to search my past, in order to figure out why I felt that I always needed to strive for perfection in my craft and my life. So I took it to my parents.
My dad is also a musician, a perfectionist guru. I remember a time that I sang in the car to a gospel song, completely out of key, and he shunned me and said “you can’t sing to God if you’re going to be off key.”
He was being funny, but my child brain believed it as fact. For years I wouldn’t sing worship songs if I couldn’t get the key right (Read: Perfect).
I had this conversation with my dad some time ago and our discussion wrapped around the reason we are such a “perfectionistic” family. It all boiled down to music, art, performance, and craft.
Artists are passionate in their craft. We spend HOURS to get something perfect, and if it falls short, we lose it!
That’s the problem! Perfection can not be achieved.
To be honest, perfectionism is one of the root causes to analysis paralysis. Basically, you overthink on something and eventually you never end up doing the very thing you are overthinking about.
Ultimately, you have an unfinished painting (or you never started it), an instrument lesson saved on your "watch later", a project that seemed great at the time but is now a mere thought in the past. Now, you're sitting at home not even realizing what hobby brings you joy anymore.
Perfectionism leaves no room for error. It leaves no room for anything but the ideal outcome.
I always think back to Mommy Dearest and the wire hanger scene.
If you haven’t watched Mommy Dearest, you need to. This lady is a psychotic perfectionist.
Anywho, I digress.
I let perfectionism get in the middle of my personal life. I treated people unfairly if they didn’t live up to my standards. I’m not ashamed to admit that I still have a long way to go before I completely rid of perfectionism. The good part about that, is that I have learned that striving for perfection is dangerous, and striving for excellence is more rewarding.
Excellence leaves room for error. It leaves room for growth. It sees failure as opportunity to do better. It is nothing like Perfectionism.
In life, we have to learn to appreciate the path that leads to growth. There is no *hop-skip-GO* and you’re at your destination. There are roadblocks, falling boulders, sweat, tears, falling, getting back up, and falling again.
Life is about appreciating that path and not getting hung up on why something didn’t happen (or what could go wrong). It’s not about self-criticism when things didn’t go as planned. Life isn’t about living like Barbie in her sunny town with no mistakes EVER.
So, we should always strive to be excellent in our lives and what we do. We should always look at mistakes/errors as learning opportunities. We should always be eager to learn (because not one person knows every thing). We must always be willing to grow.
Here, Here! To ridding of perfectionism for good!
P.S. y’all pray for me. This has been a very hard thing to do. I’m working on it though!