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?