the perfectionism of a perfectionist suffering from perfectionist-isim

Is it possible, I mean, could it be that my ardent dislike for perfectionism is in fact related to the fact that I am a perfectionist? I think I've recently discovered I have a streak of the ugly, horribly distracting, consistently annoying trait of perfectionist-isism. Who, me?

In many ways, it does me favors. I generally arrive places on time and I care very much whether or not I get a good grade. In other ways its a real detriment.

Seriously. Perfectionism annoys me when I see it in other people. Its not the job that they did well because of their perfectionism that annoys me, but its the attitude that seems to go along with it. Its either "I'm more concerned about the project at hand than I am you." or "Oh, hi best friend, how long have you been standing there? I'm just working on this project and I didn't see you come in." Its either intentional or non-intentional, but both seem to have the same effect.

So what would you say to someone who has deceived herself for 19 years concerning such an important character deficiency? It may actually be possible though, that I'm just now becoming a perfectionist. How can I nip this in the bud? Are their support groups? Rehabilitation programs?

"Someday I want to be perfect, so I've got to do something about those flaws in my character. You know, like perfectionism." - Kaylene ;)

I am, in reality, finding that there is a crucial balance between conscientiousness and having "freedom" (living life without a care in the world). Jesus takes the burden out of trying, but trying is not a sin. Trying, in order to earn salvation or man's approval, is sin, but trying for with the right motivation is not. Just some thoughts. Curious to hear what you think. There's another aspect of this I didn't go into pertaining to the fact that its really when we "give up "that the Lord can accomplish His work through us. A part of the picture that is not to be forgotten, yet not taken to the extreme of, for example, quitting my job and expecting God to rain money on me. Anyways, thats another huge topic. Where do you see the balance being?


9 Reflections:

vickychick said...

HI! I like your blog! It makes me feel...Realaxed...I know I'm a weirdo! :P

Kaylene said...

I'm glad you find my blog relaxing! Thanks for dropping in!

Katie said...

Hey, I totally agree about the perfectionism. I have struggled with it for years. I'm not a perfectionist in every area, but in certain areas I really struggle with it. My mom always laughs at me when I have a project I'm working on, because I will start all over just because of a tiny mistake.

God has really had to work on me the past few years to realize it's ok to not be perfect. I think that a lot of my perfectionism is sin, because at the root is pride. I want to prove I'm good enough, that I can do it right on my own. But God has had to prove to me that I can only do it through Him and Him alone. So gradually I'm trying to relax a little, and realize that yes, a small mistake is ok, and a B or even a C in my class won't kill me. :)

Kathy said...

I think that often perfectionism is tied to being overly concerned with how others view us. Aah, ugly pride! I know whereof I speak, as I have struggled with the need to be perceived as competent, or perfect, and I can honestly say that it has brought me much more disappointment than satisfaction. When I really recognize that all I have that is of any value is from God, I can lay aside my need for perfectionism and experience true freedom in Him.

Kaylene said...

Thank you both SO much for these thoughts. Well said.

I definitely concur. Perfectionism is related if not powered by pride. The fear of man plays a huge part. Just another way that pride creeps in.

I don't think there's anything wrong with striving for excellence, but as you said Kathy, we're going to hit a dead end if we try doing it on our own strength and wisdom.

And Katie,I'm the same way. I'm not a perfectionist in every way. I looked around my room when I finished writing this, and it was a WrEcK! I'm not the neat freak sort of perfectionist. I guess I just have a streak that surfaces in certain ways. :)

Anonymous said...

Something else I thought of, Kaylene. Last night my mom was sharing with me that because I am a new creature in Christ and because he has saved me from sin, HE sees me as perfect. If I would keep that as my focus, it would help keep me from striving to be perfect in my righteousness. And if I realize the battle is ALREADY won, I can have victory...well, then things would go a lot better, but unfortunately, I don't always do that. :) Just some random thoughts...thanks for sharing! I can relate too!!

I love ya!

Kaylene said...

Wow Melinda, great thought. Its actually a very beautiful thought. Its because this is true, that we have the strength for righteousness. Christ's strength. From my perspective I'm still a sinner. From the Lord's... I'm pure white. That definitely addresses the issue of perfectionism and "trying" to do better all the time. thanks for sharing that. <3

Susan Trahern said...

The title caught my eye and I have to comment...I would have never thought I would have to deal with the pesky perfectionistic behavior. After all, every flat surface that I have ever been responsible for is cluttered. But a quick look into my dresser drawer, closet or file cabinet will reveal neatly folded socks, undies, clothes all hanging in one direction with shirts on one side and pants & skirts on the other, files alphabetized...hmmm. Seems the perfectionism has reared its head internally where no one sees but me and God--thoughts, attitudes, theology. Holy Spirit is constantly at work reminding me who I am in Christ...not what I appear to be to others or even to myself, but literally who I (Eph 1) God does not just see us as perfect--we are perfect. For Christ's righteousness was imputted to us when He took on our sin. (Romans 5) Hallelujah!

Kaylene said...

I was excited to read your comment, Susan. We studied Romans in class this week. We spent a good little time on Christ's imputed righteousness. Thanks for sharing!!

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