Some of you may or may not consider yourself a perfectionist, but here are some questions to ask:
Are you hypercritical of your mistakes? Do you set absolute ideals? Do you fear of failures? Are you a control freak? Highly conscious of your surroundings? Are you always worried of how others think of you? Are you constantly comparing? Are you the worst critic of yourself?
For me, I didn’t realize I was a perfectionist until I started my blog. I don’t think I’m an extreme perfectionist, yet. But if I’m to answer “yes” or “no” to the above questions, they are all yeses.
The thing is, I’ve always looked up to perfectionists. They’re the over achievers and they accomplish the impossible. I admire that they pay high attention to details and set high standards for themselves. Almost all successful people I know considered themselves perfectionists. My previous boss was a perfectionist (okay, she was a real pain to work for), but her achievements were undoubtedly admirable. I wanted to be her.
So when I began my blog I carried this perfectionist attitude with me. Always trying to be better and finding ways to improve. Since aesthetic has always been important to me, I didn’t want to put anything out there unless it looked perfect. After all, I’m a lifestyle blogger and I needed to be inspiring. And over the years, the perfectionist inside of me became more and more dominant. I became critical of everything I put out there, and I would beat myself up for the little mistakes I’ve made or things I didn’t do. All that matter was that everything has to appear perfect.
I thought I was doing the right thing because I was getting noticed. My peers started to recognize the work I put out there. I felt proud and humbled by the recognition from reputable press and bloggers. Yet, I was not content. I became even more obsessed with making sure that everything must be edited, or styled, before I share anything online. To put it simply, I was craving for more attention and approval of my work. And the more I craved, the more perfect I wanted myself, and everything, to be.
I think this is where I started to feel a tipping point. I was constantly evaluating myself, or worse, comparing myself to others. I was afraid to show flaws. I was afraid of failures. I wanted everything to be picture perfect. I only wanted to share things that I think other people would want to see.
I was also worried about people finding out who I am (or who I am not). That I’m just another average girl you see on the street trying to be an expert of some sort. That all the things I’ve built up here, a beautiful blog and my recognitions, are all because of luck. There were times I felt like I was a fake and that I didn’t deserve any of this. Ever heard of “fake it till you make it”? Yea, that’s how I felt most of the time. I started feeling insecure and had self-doubts.
I didn’t like this negative energy inside of me. I found myself constantly comparing to others. I felt like I was always competing, but for what? I felt stupid and childish and it was not who I wanted to become. I knew I was a better person than that.
Over the past half of the year I did some self-reflection. I knew something has to change. I knew I wouldn’t be able to let go of the perfectionist completely, but how do I maintain the qualities of it without losing myself?
I don’t know if I have the right answers to this, but a simple step I’ve been taking is to be less harsh on myself and be more content. It’s been working, I think. I feel more focused and I don’t compare myself to others as much. It’s a work-in-progress for sure. Though I’m curious, are you a perfectionist? Do you share similar feelings? How do you cope with those negative feelings that come with being a perfectionist? Do you have any advice or experience dealing with the ups and downs of being a perfectionist? Please share your thoughts here!
Thanks all for reading and be sure to head on over to Erin of Apartment 34 to read up on her experience.
Special thanks to Heather Day for the use of her studio. I admire Heather’s work and ambition greatly as a fine artist, and feel that the interesting layers of her art speaks really well to me in regards to the struggle of being a perfectionist. It’s an honor for me to share her work in this post. Beautiful photos by the talented Ashley Batz.