For some people this seems like a no brainer. They ask themselves, “Why would I be anything else, I’m not perfect!” However, for my perfectionist friends, this statement might elicit a number of thoughts and feelings.
How do I know this you may ask? Oh, because I am a recovering perfectionist.
I never ascribed to the “evil P.” I never connected how I operated and naturally did things as being perfectionistic. In my mind perfectionism was excessive. I wasn’t excessive, I just liked things to be done a certain way. However, people who know me well had no problem throwing the “evil P” on my chest.
I was raised in a family that taught me when you do things, “Do it right the first time,” “Do it again! If you didn’t want to spend all day doing _______ (fill in the blank) you should’ve done it right the first time.” In school, if I didn’t write neat enough, or add well enough, or subtract great enough or put every period, comma and question mark in the right place, there would be CONSEQUENCES!!
GASP! Perfectionism was born!
For me, perfectionism boiled down to avoiding consequences!
I graduated high school, college and graduate school all with honors! I am proud of these achievements. I must admit my perfectionist tendencies supported me in these areas. I was always a longtime and loyal employee as a result of my evil P tendencies. It helped me stay in line and achieve all kinds of things at high levels.
I spent my entire life trying to do the best I could the first time for many reasons. While perfectionism has some awesome outcomes, it also has its drawbacks. As an adult in the work place, I was always a leader, a visionary and willing to walk alone if need be (traits not always revered by my management teams). I was not great at following poor lack luster leaders. So, I made it a habit to always do everything as perfectly as I could to avoid having my managers to talk to me.
On one hand I didn’t want to have to deal with negative consequences like verbal warnings and written warnings, because those could lead to being fired. If I was going to get fired they were going to have to work HARD to do it! LOL! On the other hand, I didn’t want to have any unnecessary conversations with my managers. These things never really went well so, I didn’t want to hear anything other than “GOOD JOB.”
Perfectionism can help us in many ways and hurt us in others.
In diabetes, perfectionism caused me not to relax and not to take each day as a new opportunity to do better and be better. The evil p caused me to stress while checking my son’s blood sugar. It caused me to stress until the number popped up on the meter, it caused me to stress after seeing the number. If the number was bad I felt bad. I spent time thinking about all we did to cause the bad number, which spun into a plan on how to prevent the next number from being high. If the number was good I’d still stress while trying to think on how to maintain that number.
It was a never-ending cycle! Until I gave up that is!! Yep! I kicked that crap to the curb.
Have you ever seen a Perfectionist Quitter! NEVER!! It’s not how we operate, which is part of the problem. We are high achievers because WE NEVER GIVE UP!! We are constantly trying to outdo the last time. Because, “I CAN DO IT BETTER NEXT TIME!”
Am I the only one!? Perfectionists UNITE (in my Power Ranger Voice)!! LOL, Ok, too much? You know I have an 11 year old son, right! I digress.
I used to get upset anytime my plans didn’t work out. If I didn’t make the grade or if I didn’t hit the mark at work. I’d spin out with stress and thinking about all the things that were going to ensue as a result of the failures. Until one day I failed a case at work (I got paid to write reviews that had an attached grading system) and I decided instead of stressing I’d use the opportunity to remind myself that I am a HUMAN and NOT A ROBOT! Things happen. I asked myself, “What can I learn from this situation?” I moved on!
No stress, no spin out and no ending of the world.
I chose to change!
The evil P was not serving me!
As we come all the way back around this mulberry bush 😊 (thank you for sticking around), I want to ask you, “How is the EVIL P serving you?”
What is it causing you to stress over, or think irrationally about? I believe some of my diabetic friends deal with this too. We try really hard to get this thing right but there are just too many variables at times and the outcome is out of our control. However, there are other times when it’s all us! We just needed to make better choices. No matter what, we DON’T have to beat ourselves up about it.
Give yourself some GRACE! Give yourself 1000 do-overs! Pat yourself on the back and say, “It’s going to be okay!”
If you are a perfectionist or recovering perfectionist you are welcome here. You can take that evil P off your chest and lay your truth on the table. We’ll just look at it. Analyze it! Pick it apart and then figure out what steps you need to take to do better and be a better version of you.
It’s okay to be imperfect around me!
I practice imperfect perfection every day! Remind me to tell you the story about my daughter’s dirty room! It’s killing other’s but it works for me!
Don’t let your desire to do your best drive you up the wall or run you to crazyville!
Be well & test often,
Carmella J Bell, MS, LMFTA
The Diabetes Strategist
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