A few months ago my psychologist brought up the possibility of Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD). Whether it’s actually an issue for me is still undecided, but my take-away from that session was that I’m a total perfectionist.
I’ve since realized that I am naturally inclined to be a perfectionist. And, that I grew up in a household where being a perfectionist was encouraged (although unintentionally). So, I basically got double whammied, nature + nurture.
My perfectionism can be a positive in some areas of my life, such as my focus on quality in my jewelry, but it can definitely be a negative too. I also realize that it is one of the major sources of stress in my life (the other being fear).
Today, while putting in a load of laundry, I had a new realization. When I was growing up, my step-dad taught me that there’s no point in doing a job if you do it “half-assed.” The first time I remember him saying it I was about 10 and he was teaching me how to clean the bathroom (he wouldn’t have used “half-assed” back then, but he did when I got older). I of course absorbed what he taught and it has dictated how I approach every task throughout my life.
While loading the washer, all of this was going through my head (don’t ask me why). Suddenly my brain decided to flip it around and I realized:
Anything less than perfect is half-assed.
Stop and think about that for just a second. Think about what it means. Think about how it would impact everything I do. As a perfectionist, this is the real lesson I learned: that unless I do a task to perfection, I’m doing it half-assed and that is not okay.
No wonder I’m particular. No wonder I’m picky. No wonder I get stressed out.
Now I need to work on letting it be okay. I’ve been trying the last few months, but now I that know why I feel the way I do I hope I will be more successful at it. I hope it will relieve some stress, and I hope it will help me to have greater self-compassion (something new I’m working on). Wish me luck!
If you’re a perfectionist too, I’d love it if you’d comment below with your story and a share a realization you’ve had. (Non-perfectionists are also highly encouraged to share!) Let’s help one another! 🙂