Perfectionism has its good qualities. Your work is always done very well. You have a great attention to detail and you always strive to do your best. Also, the people-pleasing aspect is great for those around us as we will always drop everything to help them or otherwise make them happy. If we aren’t careful though, perfectionism can really get in our ways sometimes. Completing tasks can become a longer process for a perfectionist because they get hung up on the minute details. Perfectionists also experience “analysis paralysis” when trying to make decisions during projects and often find themselves unable to do so for fear of it not being perfect. Perfectionism also hinders our enjoyment of the day to day. We over analyze things and have a difficult time letting things go, even if they do not matter in the long run. Perfectionists also often project their ridiculous expectations of themselves unto others making those around them unable to measure up. As you can imagine, this affects relationships and can leave a perfectionist feeling isolated or misunderstood.
When you’re a perfectionist, it’s hard to let that go. It’s difficult to release control of how the bathroom is cleaned or in just which way the dishwasher is loaded (Anyone?). How can our partner possibly know exactly which pants go with which onesie for our little one? Letting go of control is something that is extremely difficult for a perfectionist. We have a semi-conscious belief that if we do not do all the things, it will not be done “correctly”. But, we all know on some level that isn’t true. There are many different ways to do any singular task. Perfectionists believe they have the only right way to do it. There is very little that will make them feel otherwise. I will always be a perfectionist by nature. I will always think I have the best way of doing things. However, by letting some of that go and knowing that others can do things with the same result, even if they don’t do it in the way I would, I can breathe a little easier and feel better about how I’m treating those around me. No one wants to be made to feel incompetent and I don’t want to make anyone feel that way. But by micromanaging the way my husband puts his own clothes away in his dresser drawer, that’s exactly what I’m showing him – that I think he’s incompetent instead of a capable adult human being. God bless that man for his patience with me.
Here are 3 ways that becoming a parent has shed a light on my perfectionism and helped me to loosen my grip a bit and breathe a little better:
1. Done Is Better Than Perfect
This was somewhat of a hard concept for me to fathom. How could B- work be better than A+ work? It’s simple: because A+ work takes 3 times as long as B- work. Generally, the end result isn’t significantly different. I’ve been learning to take imperfect action instead of “waiting for the perfect opportunity” or “waiting until the scene is just right”. This simple shift has allowed me to accomplish more in a shorter amount of time than I would have before I started shifting my perfectionist beliefs. It also keeps me moving forward instead of staying stagnant in my life. I take imperfect action on this blog every day. I know I just need to do something, so I just start writing or pinning or whatever it is that’s going to take me closer to my goals. I know what I have to say can be helpful to others. Sometimes I sit down at my laptop and stare at it waiting for the perfect topic to come to my brain. I have some fleeting ones that come through but I always judge them as “not good enough”. Usually, I end up just having to force myself to start typing on whatever topic comes to mind and end up with some blog posts. Sometimes I even start 3-4 blog posts as the topics come to mind. I would have never been able to do this without recognizing my perfectionism and taking active steps to do better. The thought of starting a blog post and not immediately finishing it makes me less apprehensive than it did before. That is so helpful in my life, and I’m so grateful that I was able to start working on it sooner rather than later.
2. Finding The Beauty In Imperfect Moments
Sometimes it’s hard to see the beauty in a moment as a perfectionist. For instance, before I became “woke” to my perfectionism, my husband could have taken the time to vacuum and mop the floors. Super nice, right? Instead of being grateful that he did it and that I was married to someone thoughtful enough to do his share, I would focus on the fact that he didn’t move the end table to get all the dog hairballs under there. That kind of thinking was (and still is) difficult for me to let go. However, I’m getting better at catching myself and doing a little self-talk around it. “Hey, at least he took the time to do it at all. He could have just avoided it for fear of you criticizing him to death about not doing it right.” So, obviously I’m still working on this. But, I am better able to focus on the good aspects and let go of the imperfections a little. The self-talk helps me to go to my husband and simply thank him.
3. Delegating Became Easier
Since I’ve been learning to let go of control, my life has gotten easier. I’m able to ask for, and accept help from others. It is so helpful to be able to ask my husband to clean the bathroom because I have 2.85 million other things I “need” to get done. This seems so simple, but an earlier version of me would assume I shouldn’t even bother asking because it won’t get done as well as I’d do it. The truth is, he can clean the bathroom just fine. Either way, it will be cleaner than it was before. My toddler loves to “help” with the chores around the house. No one wants to be the parent correcting their every single move. This is how kids start to resent doing chores. So, I just let him do his thing and clean up the rest. There is nothing that fills me with more pride than seeing my child trying to be an active participant in the household. We all have to do our part!
When you have a child, you have to learn to let go of a lot of things. Things will not go exactly to plan. Your sleep schedule will change. Your priorities change. Your ability to focus on one task for any length of time changes. If you don’t take steps to start to let go of perfectionism, you are going to be exhausted. It’s not easy, but letting go gives you more freedom and enjoyment of your life.
In what ways are you a perfectionist? Where could you release some of the control in your life? I’d love to know in the comments below!
Much love and productive vibes,
Momma Caped Nerd ❤
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