Day 17 of my mental health themed A to Z Challenge is Q for Quintessential. This is something which represents a perfect or typical example. I always think of describing an English country pub or a summers day as quintessential. But for the purposes of this blogging challenge I am interpreting it as perfectionism.
A little while ago I listened to an episode of one of my favourite podcasts, Episode 46 of the Couragemakers Podcast. In it Meg interviews Wendy de Jong who describes herself as a recovering perfectionist. It was really interesting to hear perfectionism being discussed as a negative characteristic, as something that is unhealthy and ultimately leading to mental health issues. I was also intrigued by Wendy’s work on The Gratefulist as an antidote to a life of perfectionism. Because of my #FridayFive gratitude practice I am keen to explore how gratitude is healthier than perfectionism.
Since listening to this podcast I’ve been thinking about me and whether I would describe myself as a perfectionist. Do I seek to be the perfect dog-mum? The perfect friend, sister, girlfriend or daughter? Do I try to be the quintessential blogger? The quintessential good girl? The quintessential hard worker?
Many years ago I would have said yes straight away. Yes I am a perfectionist. And I think I even used it as an answer to the what is your greatest weakness question in an interview (which makes me cringe a little now!) I do believe in doing things well and doing my best. I can become stressed when I’m not doing things right or well enough but my biggest worry is that I’m not good enough rather than being perfect.
But what if perfectionism takes over your life? It’s really easy to give in to the pressure to be perfect whether that pressure comes from yourself, other people or society. It’s easy to get sucked into creating the perfect Instagram photo, having the perfect body and the perfect life. Perfectionism can take the fun and joy out of life.
Are you prone to perfectionism? Can you stop it taking over your life? How can you embrace your perfect imperfect self?
Thankyou for reading,