Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Perfectionism

Are you a perfectionist? My dh laughs when I tell him I am a perfectionist, but I know I am. He doesn't laugh to make fun of me; he laughs because he doesn't understand what I mean by perfectionist. Of course I mean perfectionist in the way that Marla describes, a person who is paralyzed by the knowledge that they can't do a job perfectly, therefore doesn't do the job at all. That describes me to a T. Most of the time, the reason I don't do something, or put off doing something, is because I think I won't do it perfectly or that I don't have the time to finish it to my satisfaction.

The time aspect should be settled fairly easily by learning that many jobs can be done or almost completely done in 15 minutes or less. It really is amazing how much work can be accomplished in 15 minutes! If you haven't tried it, you really should! It's a real eye-opener.

The other aspect of this type of perfectionism is that you can't do the job perfectly, or you'll fail at it, or that you won't be good at it. I have this part of it pretty bad too! When I start something new, I have visions of people saying, "Wow! This is great! How do you do that? That's the best _______ I've ever seen!" Boy, is that ever pride! How many times have I failed to bless someone with something I've made or done because I felt that I wouldn't be the very best at it? I haven't tried new techniques on the piano or in sewing because I wasn't sure I could learn it quickly or perfectly. I've always resisted learning how to make alterations in clothes or patterns because I don't think it would be easy to learn and it would look awful. I don't want to play the piano for people because I don't play as well as someone else (who incidentally majored in music in college!). I do wrestle with pride, let me tell you! The more I think on this, the more I realize how sinful this attitude is. I am 40 years old. There are multiple things I could have learned to do over the years that would bless other people if I'd been willing to not be the best, but do it MY best. Things like baking, sewing, needlework, paper crafts, improving my piano skills . . . things that should be done to bless people, not to stroke my pride. So it's time to toss this kind of perfectionism and start doing things for people simply to bless them. And I kind of think I'll get a blessing too, because you can't bless others without God blessing you!

4 comments:

Tammy said...

Raising my hand here! I'm a perfectionist, and yes, it often keeps me from doing things! How long did it take me to paint my kitchen? Um...embarrassingly long. I put things off, and off and off.

One huge job that I've been putting off has been my sewing room. Well, "junk room" more aptly describes it. It's been the catch-all room ever since we moved.

Yesterday, I decided to see what 15 minutes could do to that room. I set my timer and set to work. I got an amazing amount of work done in that short little time frame...so I did it several times throughout the day. I think over all I ended up working in there for about an hour and a half. Not very much time at all (and when I think of all the time I've wasted, I could have had an organized room by now!).

One side of the room still has boxes and clutter, but it looks really good when you walk in the room!

My next hurdle for this room is going to be painting it. Currently the walls (and some of the ceiling) have trees, flowers, grass, sky, etc. painted on them. YUCK!).

Susan said...

Good for you, Tammy! I can get SO much work done if I set a timer, but if I just go at it "for as long as it takes" it will take me forever. I wonder why we're like that?! It's really kind of funny. But whatever works to get the job done.

Sarah Joy said...

OUCH! YOUR STEPPING ON MY SHOES SUSAN! Wow. You sure hit the nail on it's proud little head. I am a classic messy perfectionist myself, and that is exactly what I deal with.

Mary said...

I agree with the other posters. You hit the nail on the head.

I am a perfectionist. I know my mother is too. I am trying to turn her on to FlyLady.