PERFECTIONISM...

  1. Leads to procrastination
    An obvious one. I get intimidated by how much work is required to get things done. Because I am usually making them harder than they are.
  2. Takes up so much time
    Between the initial procrastination and the time it takes to complete a task/project to my standards, that's a lot of time. Which leads us right back to procrastination.
  3. Makes me too hard on others.
    Especially my kids. I get really frustrated when my vision for something doesn't go as planned. Which is most of the time, when you involve kids. I am really working on this one because I hate that I have hurt their feelings in the past over my own crazy expectations.
  4. Is part nature, a lot nurture.
    Praise from my family usually centered around academics when I was growing up. Money for As on report cards, lots of praise for honor roll, staying up late with us to get projects "just right." My dad (a fellow perfectionist/procrastinator) often told us that any job worth doing is worth doing well and held himself to a really high standard. There was also the unspoken expectation that we be "easy" kids and not give them trouble. Which I internalized completely.
  5. Makes me defensive.
    I take criticism way too seriously and am not particularly graceful about receiving it (depending on the source - wanting people to perceive me as "nice" trumps all). I will beat myself up over mistakes for ages afterward.
  6. Feels safe, even though it's based on fear.
    I have a persistent worry that I would not accomplish as much (academically, professionally, personally), or that what I did accomplish wouldn't be as impressive. Also - and really, the bigger one - is that people would like me less if I didn't do things well. Perfectionism is the safe route because it "helps" me ensure my status.
  7. Is so hard to let go of.
    Somehow I can't help tying my personal worth to my accomplishments and other people's perceptions of me. Perfectionism has "worked" so far and it's hard to imagine what would happen if I didn't have it there in the background pushing me forward.
  8. Is slowly loosening its grip.
    I am trying in tiny ways to not put so much pressure on myself. This month, I did a few small things just well enough without agonizing over them. (Like, I hung a picture without measuring first.) I think I'm learning to let go in areas where it doesn't really matter so I can put effort in where it does.