As indicated on personality tests and consulting with a licensed counselor, my husband and I are pretty much perfectionists. Where some people might view this as a positive and other perfectionists might even give a fist-pump and a “Aw, yeah!”; I am here to tell you that perfectionism is absolutely NOT perfect. As a matter of fact, perfectionism comes with a cost and this negative side of perfectionism can be destructive to one’s self and others.
My theory on perfectionism is based solely on experience. One can read this and agree or disagree whole heartedly. It doesn’t matter to me. These are just my thoughts. (Whew! For a perfectionist, that is hard to write. Why would anyone not agree with me?) Well, here we go. I am going to start by sharing an example of a perfectionist in the making-my 6 year-old son. I home school my son and it is usually without fail that we have some type of breakdown during the process of our school day. One evening while reflecting on the past few weeks of schooling and the inevitable mid-lesson crisis, it somehow became clear to me that my son is a perfectionist in the making. An unfortunate characteristic trait that has begun to manifest in him is that he feels that if he is not “good” at something, then he is not even going to try. He simply goes into shut-down mode. He begins complaining and whining and making every excuse as to why he should not be doing the lesson. Or, his newest tactic is to try to be silly and make me laugh in hopes that I will become the unfocused teacher and not complete the task at hand.
Now, this is not the only thing that leads me to believe that he is a perfectionist and that this a trait of a perfectionist. What I did though, is I began to do some self reflections and discovered that I have done this same thing in a different way. If there is something that I am interested in doing (i.e. blogging), yet I don’t feel like I am “good” at it or that it is “perfect” so to speak, then I simply avoid ever really getting started. And, maybe this isn’t even a trait of a perfectionist. I guess I would need to take some surveys of some people who are considered perfectionists. My husband does agree and I do consider him an extreme perfectionist. I have commonly called him a procrastinator in some situations, but when taking a closer look it is easy to realize that it has been due more to the fact that he is afraid of failure. Afraid of screwing something up. So based on these simple family character traits, I am led to believe that perfectionism is NOT perfect!