1. Perfectionists cannot stand it when something is not completed. For example, when a person…
2. There is a rigidity about things always having to be a certain way or else they become very upset. Things cannot be out of order, altered from their usual place, etc.
4. If you’re going to do your best, you can’t always worry about pleasing everyone else (“You know you shouldn’t be writing this blog. I told you to major in something else in college. You’re an idiot. Nobody cares what you think.) Pay no attention to that voice in my head…
3. Practice makes prefect. Practifect makes perfice. Aw, you know what I mean.
5. If you are a Christian, be happy all the time and when you are mad, talk more piously.
6. Almost perfect is never good enough. Perfection is so hard to reach, you often don’t try. This is so frustrating that I’m not going to list the last four. It’s too overwhelming.
I forgot the other four.
In an article by Elizabeth Scott at About.com, I came across this statement.
High achievers tend to be pulled toward their goals by a desire to achieve them, and are happy with any steps made in the right direction. Perfectionists, on the other hand, tend to be pushed toward their goals by a fear of not reaching them, and see anything less than a perfectly met goal as a failure.
That rings true. Sometimes our goals are so lofty with a song, recording, preparing a presentation, aspiring to a project, or writing, that we are immobilized. My friend, the late John Claypool, used to say that there’s a difference between wanting to do something and wanting to BE somebody. The first group accomplishes a lot. The second group tends to make themselves and everyone around them miserable. It’s all about “how you look.” Faggetaboutit!
In this culture so shaped by the visual dimension of life, are we so oriented to expectations that come from without us that we cannot find the “push” from within?
So, here is my advice to perfectionists. Lose yourself in the task once in a while. Don’t worry too much about how to sign your autographs just yet. Just write good songs. Sing your best. All that obsession with fame, stuff, adoration and making a million is too much about being PUSHED. Let yourself be pulled by something that offers so much joy you just HAVE to find it!
Accept the process and enjoy the ride. The journey of healing will not be automatic and instant. Taking something in, getting somewhere, growing, all involve time, faith, hope and love.
Strive for reality, not perfection. A friend of mine was struggling with some people whose behavior disappointed him in his church. He expressed his disappointment and I replied, “You have to learn to lower your expectations.” He asked, “How do you do it?” I answered, “From reading the Bible.” Have you ever noticed what a sorry lot of people are in the Bible–Jesus being the exception, of course? If you want to feel good, read a Bible story. But it ought to encourage you. God works with the available material.
Try on a new self-assessment based on reality, not what you have experienced, come to mistakenly believe, or adapted to as a reaction to life. Work on those voices inside your head. Turn off the editor when you want to be creative. Let it flow. You’ll be surprised what comes forth when you aren’t worried about what someone will say about it.
Finally, lie down and sleep when you run out of ideas. You’d be amazed what the acceptance of our limits can do to unleash creative power. Turn the world back over to God every night. It’s liable to still be there when you open your eyes in the morning.