Hello and happy Tuesday! How’s yours going so far? I’m slowly working my way through a law paper…and being incredible jealous of people who are done classes/schoolwork.
On the bright side, they’re calling for 15 degrees and sunny today, so I’m thinking I may take my laptop down to the Coffee Culture down the street and do some work on their patio today. Might be nice!
So today I wanted to talk about perfectionism and expectations. I know I’ve talked about this on the blog before, but my expectations of myself are high. Really high.
I spend a lot of time thinking about what I ‘should’ do. Whether it’s in regards to my eating habits, my workouts, schoolwork, small decisions, big decisions…I feel like I have a tendency to follow a set of rules for myself. Expectations I have to reach, rules I have to follow…I’ve been aware of and trying to break these patterns for years. I’ve made a lot of progress, but I still haven’t quite escaped from my own high standards.
For example, I realized the other day that I’m going to get a 79% in one of my classes. When I saw that, I was disappointed because I was aiming to get straight A’s this year. Which got me thinking…why did I decide I needed to get straight A’s? I’ve made the decision that I won’t be moving on after I get my MA (I have no desire to work towards a PhD) so really, as long as I pass everything, I’m fine. Who decided that I needed straight A’s? Where is this pressure coming from?
This month I’ve been taking a laissez faire, unstructured approach towards my workouts, deciding the day of what I want to do instead of following a schedule or routine. Last Friday, I was struggling with this a lot. I had no desire to work out. None. I had a busy day planned, so I didn’t really have a lot of time for it anyways. But I still had a nagging thought at the back of my mind that I should go to the gym. Because I was physically able to (I wasn’t feeling sore at all), I should work out. I knew I wouldn’t be doing myself any favours if I went, so I didn’t. But I was frustrated with myself for feeling that sense of “I should.”
Last week, veggies were not appealing to me. It was sunny and warm out (some days, anyways) which is normally when I start to want salads and fresh vegetables all the time. But…nothing. Not appealing. But because I thought I should, I made myself a couple of big salads for a few lunches. And then would end up eating all the ‘good stuff’ and throwing the leaves in the garbage. Because I expected that I would want salads, I tried to force it. Which, of course, failed (And of course, as soon as I stopped trying to force myself to eat more veggies I started craving them. I’ve had monster salads for lunch the last two days and adored them).
The perfectionist extends to social situations as well – I’m always worrying about saying the wrong thing, or coming off as unlikeable. I’m pretty sure that’s why I have a tendency towards awkwardness in a lot of social situations. I just don’t know how to act natural, because in my head I’m thinking about what I just said and how it was portrayed. That probably explains why I’m such a fan of texting…I can think about my response, write it out, think about it some more, change it if necessary. Not so much in real life situations.
I don’t really have the answers for how I can fix this…I’ve been working on it for years, first through therapy and it continues to be my own work in progress. But being aware of and expressing a desire to change is where it begins, right? I think I just needed to write this out as a reminder to myself to push past that desire for perfectionism and high expectations. Whenever I put pressure on myself to do something, to reach a certain standard, There’s a few questions I need to ask.
Why do I need to do this/reach this standard?
Who says that has to be the goal?
I’m not very good at being content. Whatever I do, I tend to think of how I could have done it better, gotten a better grade, lifted more weight, made a ‘healthier’ choice…I could go on. But, I’m going to keep working on myself and breaking down that habit. It’s ok to strive for excellence and for my personal best, but complete perfection is not part of that picture. Because I would like to think I’m pretty awesome, even with some flawed aspects
Have a good one!
<— Do you have perfectionist tendencies?
<— Texting or calling someone? I kind of hate talking to people on the phone. Thank god for texting.
<— Do you worry about being awkward in social situations? I’m actually pretty terrible.