Perfectionism Keeps Picking On Me

Part of the reason why I started blogging again is to try and combat this fierce perfectionism in me. You may think that writing a blog for other people to see would promote perfectionism, but for me it’s not about whether I do it for other people so much as it is doing it at all.

I get an idea of what to write or make and I even think of some killer phrases to put down, but then I’m afraid it wont come out the way I think it. I’m afraid I wont have anything to link my thoughts together. I’m afraid the next thing I write wont make sense with the post I wrote yesterday. I’m afraid that I’ll be doing this whole blogging thing wrong.

The truth is that I’d like to be good at lots of things. Not necessarily perfect at them all, but just to kind of bloom and really “get” it. I want to hand-make things, decorate, look pretty (and explain how I did it), I want to write, I want to sketch…but in my mind I’m just kind of okay at all of these things. A lot of advice I’ve gotten is to just try and be really good at one thing. But I don’t know what my thing is. I’m not entirely sure I want just one thing. But I’m also afraid that it’ll take too long to find it or master it.

Want to know something else? This one is a secret…

Okay, here it goes.

I’m terrified of hard work. I’m sure some of you have said that you don’t want to be bad at something. And I guess that could be part of it. I definitely don’t like being bad at something, but it’s kind of easy to just own the things I don’t excel at and blame myself. I can use those things against myself so easily. It’s kind of like a secret ammunition supply, so this sick and twisted part of me doesn’t mind being bad at things because it just gives me new material to use to be mean to myself.

Maybe that’s the kicker. I know how to be mean to myself. But I’m not as good at being nice to myself.

Image art by Emily McDowell found via BuzzFeed
Image art by Emily McDowell found via BuzzFeed

I have been married for just about 5 months now and have experienced more free time in my schedule than ever before. I only work in the afternoons and mu husband is a full-time student and works in the evenings as well. It’s pretty safe to say that I have the freedom to sleep in basically 5 out of 7 days of the week. He gets up and leaves at about 6:40 every morning and I can either get up with him and start my day or I can go back to sleep and wake up whenever I feel like it. I bet you can guess which one I choose. I set goals for myself to wake up early, take a shower, walk the dog, sweep the kitchen, do some writing, and make myself a lunch to take to work. I would have almost 8 hours of free time before work if I got up with my husband. I bet that sounds pretty amazing to some of you, especially college students and stay at home moms. But instead of getting up and doing the things I want to do to make my life feel productive and flowing, I lay in bed and beat myself up for not getting out of bed.

If I get up it’s going to be cold, then I’ll have to pick out clothes, take a shower, dry my hair, do my makeup, style my hair, make breakfast, take care of two pets, exercise my dog, exercise myself, try not to watch tv, make use of all of the records in the house that I’ve contributed money to purchase, read the many unread books on my shelves, clean the kitchen, fold the laundry, do the dishes, sweep, vacuum…Can you see where this is going? One thing is not enough. Perfectionism for me is all or nothing. Everything is too hard, and yet nothing feels horrible.

Photo and product by Totally Barbaric found via Pinterest
Photo and product by Totally Barbaric found via Pinterest

I know this basically sets me up for failure no matter what, but it really does just happen so quickly that I have a hard time fighting it. Sometimes I do get up and shower, but then I either lay around in my towel and watch TV for hours or I take hours to do my hair and makeup. That’s commitment to avoidance right there. I do NOT like doing hard things. And right now, most things seem hard.

So I want to know, how do you end up convincing yourself to do things you don’t like or things that seem hard?

What motivates you to just do the regular stuff you have to do?

Let me know in the comments!

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16 thoughts on “Perfectionism Keeps Picking On Me

  1. I know what you mean – I’m in between jobs right now, and I have all this free time where I could be doing anything I want. . .but I end up freaking out because I don’t have a job, lounging around reading, and basically doing nothing productive. I’ve found that getting up when my boyfriend does, and going through my morning routine really helps me wake up enough to actually do what I need to do. Most of the time 🙂

    1. I really want to start getting up with my husband. It’s just the waking up and staying up past that’s soooo hard! Thanks for the input though. I’ll give it another try tomorrow 🙂

  2. Wow. Thanks for putting all this into words, because I swear this is my life. I never connected it to perfectionism, but it makes sense in a way.
    Hm. Yeah, I don’t know what else to say, but I’m gonna have to take some time to process this…

  3. For me, getting up and doing the mundane things is motivated by the fact that I can get back into bed again at the end of the day. . .That there’s an ending point or point of rest.

  4. I use the same system for organizing my schedule of “regular” things as I do my schoolwork, projects, etc. so maybe that helps me see things on a more similar plane, of all being important. But… that can definitely lead into the “all or nothing” mindset which is stressful and counterproductive. It’s a tough thing to balance.

    1. I was never a very good student, so I’m not sure that would work for me. But I’m curious to know what kind of organizing system you use!

      1. Basically two things: a calendar for all of the times/details about places I need to be + Todoist, which is an app that lets you make to do lists organized by project, with due date reminders, subtasks, etc. I have “projects” for each class + a running shopping list + blogging + other misc. tasks. And I write EVERYTHING down in it. No need to spend energy remembering things (and stressing about remembering things) instead of just doing them! 🙂

  5. Right now we are in a transition where I’m a stay at home wife until we close on our house. (yay!) And my husband is full time work full time school. Some days I get up with him and some days I don’t. I totally understand how you feel!

  6. I struggle with perfectionistic expectations of myself, too. I’ve been married for a year and my darling hubby (really, I adore him) is a pickier eater than I am, wanting more variety and not eating leftovers, but we agreed that I’m the “team leader” for the food and cooking area of our home. After eight years of living on my own and making (or not making) whatever sounded good to me, it’s hard to adjust to planning meals that he finds appealing too. Logically, I know I do a good job most of the time but feel bad when he mentions we’ve already had potato-based dishes three times this week. Meal-Planning Fatigue is a real thing!

    1. woah! that sounds like a task. Ha, Meal Planning is another thing on my list of things I wish I did but don’t. Any secrets to share? I also lived on my own for a long time and went without meals all the time just because it didn’t seem as important than cooking for someone else. My husband lived as a bachelor for a couple of years with some buddies and isn’t really that picky but with both of those backgrounds, it doesn’t really lend itself to two adults with well-rounded diets.

      1. I have an electronic document that indexes all our favorite recipes by type of food, along with the source of the recipe (cookbook & page number, or website address). When I plan meals (not every week or anything), I scroll through the list and copy/paste the ones for the current week into a new document. I refer to the recipes to make my grocery list and then check the list to figure out what’s for dinner throughout the week.

  7. I think you have really worded this well. It is so hard to do things you know will create so much good for you, but the bridge to that wealth is full of hard and meticulous work. I have had both sides of this story happen to me now and I can finally say I am finally happy to wake up with my husband.
    But its because Jesus showed me that its an act that (for my husband, maybe not others) reaches far beyond just waking up.

    Highschool was videogames until 5am and sleeping until i could barley make it to work in the afternoons. College was skipping breakfast and slide into class, and a bedtime all over the place.
    Newly married had many learning curves and, then well…babies, thats something totally different in the sleep department.

    One day when i was in Japan, i was talking to a Jamaican lady (i know…true story) and she told me one thing she remembers about her mother was that she ALWAYS made her bed. You could not walk into her house, on any day, and find her bed a mess. I have no idea why that impacted me or her. Maybe because its so simple, but made such a big statement.

    Since then, I always make my bed.
    I would say,dig into yourself and create something YOU are proud of…not other bloggers. Not a christian womens book and not your single friends who seem to know whats best for your marriage 😉 (i hope you feel me) I think i vote for getting up early. It is like investing into your own personal growth bank. But, i also wholeheartedly believe you must have days you will sleep in and enjoy it. You claim those days and never feel an ounce of guilt over it. Do the dishes the night before, pick out the clothes before bed, whatever and sleep until you wake up.
    I have said a lot, and i probably didnt say what i meant.

    Mornings are horrible.
    But they are also really super useful.

  8. This is me all over. I set goals, plan everything – I’m going to stay awake once I feed the baby at 5:30 and put him back down. Then I can do a load of laundry, clean the kitchen, have some quiet time, savor my coffee, etc. Then 5:30 comes and I go straight back to bed until my babe forces me awake. I want so much to be productive and to have my home and myself perfectly organized and put together, but I’m almost scared to work on it and make it happen.

    And I always have so many things I want to do! I obsess over these things I want to accomplish. I want to train for a half marathon, craft, become better at writing, read the 5,000 books I have on my shelf that have yet to be read, make all the desserts that clutter my Pinterest board that I will never make, work on my photography skills, volunteer at a crisis pregnancy clinic. But at the same time, I don’t feel good at anything in particular. Maybe the key is to commit to one thing at a time… I don’t know. In the same boat as you!

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