Better With Sprinkles

The Colourful Side to Healthy Living.

On Perfectionism.


Something happened when I went to work on Saturday.

I had to be there at 10:30 am, so I planned accordingly. I got up at 7:00, was at the gym by 7:30, home by 9 and eating breakfast/getting ready to go by 9:30.

At about 10:03 I was brushing my teeth when I got a text from my boss asking me where I was. I replied “You asked me to be there at 10:30, I’m just about to leave.” Then I went back and double checked my earlier texts.


He had asked me to be there at 9:30. I was now going to be about an hour late.

If that happened a year ago, I’d be freaking right the eff out at this point.

One thing that seems to go hand in hand with anorexia or an eating disorder? Perfectionism.

We feel that everything we do has to be perfect – we have to get the perfect grades, say the perfect things in social situations, eat the perfect diet and of course – have the perfect weight.

With perfectionism, you have the fear of never making a mistake – ever. You keep quiet in social situations, because you’re afraid of saying the wrong thing. You spend every waking moment studying for an exam because anything less than a perfect mark is unacceptable. You don’t eat your favourite kind of chocolate cake at a birthday party, because that makes you appear “weak” and less than perfect in the eyes of others.

You think that everyone is judging you. If you do or say one inappropriate thing, everyone around you will immediately dislike you for it, or think less of you. You have to feel like everyone likes you. If you do something wrong, suddenly this ‘perfect’ image of yourself that you display to others will be shattered.

With my perfectionist tendencies, nothing was ever good enough.

I said something witty to a friend? It could have been funnier.

I got an 85% on an exam? Why wasn’t it 90%?

I got 100% on quiz? Why didn’t I get the bonus marks?

It’s the most effective way to drive someone crazy.

One of the first things I had to focus on in recovery was getting rid of the perfectionist mindset. I had to learn that I was fine JUST THE WAY I WAS – there was absolutely no need to be perfect.

I may not always get the perfect mark and some jokes I make may fall flat on the floor – but that’s ok. My parents, my boyfriend, my family, my friends – they all still love me nonetheless. I can go to a party and eat two slices of cake if I so chose – and no one will notice. If they do, they’re just noticing that I really, really like chocolate cake (especially with a thick, sweet icing)!

I had to learn that the world didn’t end if I didn’t do something perfectly – in regards to every aspect of my life, including my diet. I was fine just being myself.

No matter what happens in my life – it will move on. If I bomb a test or say something inappropriate, it will be just fine.

Case in point: I hightailed my booty to work and apologized profusely to my boss. He laughed it off and said I owed him one (and, he let me stay a half hour late to make up some of the money I missed out on). No harm done. We laughed at my absent-mindedness and figured out what my next shift would be.

<– Do you have perfectionism tendencies?

<– How do you deal with them?


7 thoughts on “On Perfectionism.

  1. oh gosh I couldn’t relate more. I am the same way, I am such a perfectionist and it totally drove my ed at the time. I could not fail and if I did i took it out on myself. it was all about the all or nothing, black or white. Great post! I love those little reminders of how far we have come.

  2. I am a super perfectionist and I don’t even realize it most of the time! I guess that is my biggest issue with it. I forget that things just don’t always go as planned and blow up my mind before I stop to remind myself that things will go on just fine. But when I am conscious of my perfectionism it’s not bad at all. I can enter a situation knowing that what will make it better and more exciting is if something DOES go wrong!

  3. Pingback: The Shower or the Internet. « Better With Sprinkles

  4. Totally can relate. I’m so glad you shared this. One thing my favorite therapist told me to deal with perfectionism was “Sloane, you’re just not that important!!” It sounds kind of hurtful (esp. for a therapist) but its true! I had this intense fear that EVERYONE was watching EVERY SINGLE THING I did and were judging it and judging me constantly. People just don’t think about me that much. They have their own lives to live, and that’s far more important to them than if I said something at lunch that was a little weird, or if I didn’t perform well enough at a practice, and what I’m putting on my plate. Its something I have to keep reminding myself when I start thinking “Oh my gosh, this person saw me do this, and they probably think this about me now, and they’re probably going to tell these people about it and then those people with think badly of me, and now I have to damage control etc etc.” Its MADNESS. Thanks for posting this!

    • I definitely had the same fear – I thought people were judging me 24/7 and if I did something I thought was weird or wrong, it would reflect poorly on me and they would suddenly dislike me or think I was weird.

      But it’s true though – people are way to caught up in their own lives to care about what I had for lunch. (except apparently now I want to tell people what I eat for lunch – hence the blog) 🙂

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