I am the ultimate perfectionist. I am very critical of myself.
Qualities perfectly acceptable in others, I do not tolerate with myself.
I am terrible with change. And for this reason, I am not usually very spontaneous. I like to have a plan, and am not a happy camper if everything does not go according to plan.
A worry wart to no end.
I overthink anything and everything.
I’m extremely indecisive. I will spend hours deciding if I want to make a small purchase, and then have regret for weeks after the fact (I’m talking like $20 here).
I tend to push people away. When relationships start heating up, I freak at the though of commitment and make excuse after excuse to get out of what I’ve gotten myself into. Despite any pleadings from the guy.
I possess a very black or white mentality. I tend to want everything I touch to be just right, and when the world around me refuses to cooperate, I get annoyed and frustrated. I need to learn to see those subtle shades of gray.
I don’t like to deal with my emotions. Instead I let them bottle up inside of me until I’m ready to explode.
It seems a paradox that a perfectionist would procrastinate. All the same, many nights I am left staring at a blank computer screen for hours, trying to decide where to begin. I often put off turning in papers, checking them over and over, to be sure they are just right. I tend to procrastinate; afraid I may not meet the high standards I set for myself.
This isn’t something new; I began life as a perfectionist. Even as a child, I was passionate about life and the successes I could make for myself. Since kindergarten, each report card I brought home would begin, “Shane is a very conscientious student,” a teacher politely telling my parents something they already knew, that their daughter feared failure. I have come to realize through the years that more than just working toward success, perfection is a search for the unattainable.
As the first singles player for my high school’s tennis team, I developed an all-or-nothing mentality. It became more of a mental than a physical game for me. I would play really hard at practice with no fear of losing to worry about, but come match time, my aggression would retreat inside of me. I could be ahead ten games of my opponent, but the pressure of knowing my team was counting on me for a victory would make me timid, fearing any show of aggression would lead to an “out” ball. I would perform on the defensive, feeling myself tense up at each swing of the racket. My coaches would tell me time and time again how I needed to loosen up and quit “playing it safe” all of the time. My fear of not reaching expectations and disappointing my coaches or letting down my team was always in the back of my mind. I found it near impossible to perform in the present, as frustration would overcome me. I was so focused on positive results and achieving that I had trouble forgetting past mistakes. Perfectionism affected my mindset in competition.
College, thus far, has changed me. The sudden transition to independence has brought me out of the rigid routine I used to follow and has taught me to be more flexible to change. I have stepped out of my comfort zone numerous times in the past three years, opening myself to new possibilities that I would have never considered previously. I have not only grown as an intellect, but as an individual, in my strengths and weaknesses, and that which shape my values and beliefs. I learned by experience that parents are not flawless, that the teacher doesn’t have all the answers, and a friend will be hurt if I give them the straightforward truth. As my whole view of the world expands, I shed my childhood innocence and gently enter into the maturity of the grey area.