My search for the perfect job is off to a bad start. First of all I’m not actively looking, more so just thinking about it. Secondly I have no idea what the perfect job for me is. And so there lies the ever troublesome fear that I always succumb to. FEAR stands in my way most every day. And if I had to rate it’s success I would give it an A. See, I’ve come to realize that I could be categorized as a perfectionist. But, like my quest for that perfect job, I’m the type of perfectionist that only talks about the perfect things they want. But never actually tries to obtain them for FEAR of imperfection. Are you following me?
Let’s dig deeper, really tear me apart.
I want to be a free spirit. One might call it a hippie (I do.) I envy those who go with the flow and embrace natures way. They don’t worry about details or outcomes. They live in the moment and fully enjoy the present. At least that is my interpretation. This type of free thinking does not mix well with my need for perfection. How could I let me hair down and enjoy the moment if I’m worried about what is going to happen after the moment? Will it meet my expectations? Will it be perceived by others as a failure?
FAILURE: Now that is the root of my perfectionism. FEAR of FAILURE! I know I am going to fail (by my own standards because I don’t give myself any chance of not failing), the fear is so great, I don’t even try. I lose out on so many life experiences because my FEAR paralyzes me into thinking I cannot do it.
Fortunately I am a functioning FEAR of FAILURE sufferer. What I mean by that is that I realize some individuals suffer far greater than I. I have a full time job, a husband, 3 lovely dogs and a handful of people I can call friends. My appreciation for those things should be more than it is. My negative self image diminishes the idea that I am worthy of any of it. A perfect person deserves to have those things and I am far from perfect.
Let me try to explain how I feel in words.
When someone gives me a compliment, let’s say they told me I am doing a great job at work, I completely freeze up. My face flushes and I get hot and uncomfortable. If I’m already having an emotional day sometimes my eyes well up. And you might think, good, you feel proud. But no, I feel ashamed. I feel unworthy. I feel like I somehow pulled the wool over their eyes and fooled them into thinking I deserved such a compliment. My inner self does not let me forget that I am not good enough. That I am less than everyone else.
My rational side tries hard to fight this ugly monster. Tries it’s hardest to point out the facts and bring me to the other, positive side. But majority of the time that battle is lost. And I might be able to hold myself together for appearances but you better believe that on the inside there are casualties as far as the imagination can reach. Even as I write this post I know how ridiculous it sounds.
I’ve discovered over the years, through many different counselors, that this is only just a bad habit. With practice and self awareness I can retrain my thought process to take a different route. And I do believe that to be true. Because I have made great strides in acknowledging my bad habits and redirecting some of them. But this battle has proven to be harder than I can handle. My struggles are evident to the ones closest to me. They suffer the greatest from my inability to move forward and for that I am very sorry. But I am still optimistic that I will keep improving. That the FEAR of FAILURE perfectionist inside me will lose power and the free spirit that has been trapped inside since childhood will find her voice.
She has to. I need her now more than ever.