The Art of Being a Perfectionist


Perfectionism has always been a large part of my personality. In first grade, my teacher, Mrs. Nelson, busted me for throwing away my homework when my grade was below a 97. I was afraid to take anything lower than that home – not because my parents are psycho – but because I didn’t want to let them down.

A couple of years ago, my husband and I were watching old family videos from my third/fourth grade era. I played in a piano recital, received an award and was “interviewed” by my camera-wielding mother after we returned home.

[off camera] mom: You did so great, honey! First place! Hold up your Beethoven (I won a plaster bust of Beethoven) so we can show your grandma and grandpa.

me: (looking flustered and with a gap in my front teeth) sigh. I didn’t hit all the notes on that one movement.

mom: But still, you did great!

me: It wasn’t perfect… (walks off camera, upset)

Chris pointed out that I beat out middle school kids…I was a 9 year old in a sea of teenagers. My mad Mozart skills had trumped them all.

However i was reliving the fact i missed a note on one of my scales twenty years ago.

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Needless to say…always the perfectionist.

Lately, I’ve been realizing how unhealthy this method of operation is. it stresses me out. Eats away at my sanity, my sleep, my free time (what’s that?). Today, I received a nugget of wisdom from someone I’ve respected for a long time and it really kind of kicked me square in the pants…he said (my paraphrase):

“Don’t always make things perfect. Perfectionism doesn’t leave room for imagination.”

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