This Sunday I took part in a webinar about perfectionism as I have been struggling with it my whole life. I always knew that about myself but what I didn’t realise was how much listening to someone talking about it would influence me. You know this feeling when you’re reading a horoscope and everything seems to be about you? Well, this is how I felt listetning to Jadwiga Korzeniewska. But it was not a nice feeling. As she would describe different types of unhealthy instances of perfectionism, I would get more and more angry and ashamed. I could recognize myself in all of the descriptions.
In the past I would say that perfectionism was my thing. I was proud of that. I thought that being busy just for the sake of being busy was a must. And I thought of people who didn’t behave the same way as lazy. But somehow they managed to achieve their goals and I didn’t. I was constantly stressed out, exhausted and angry. Finally, I got depressed. However, at that time I didn’t know that I was depressed. I thought I was lazy and useless. So I decided not to take my final exams on my third year at the uni to punish myself for not trying hard enough and not learning as much as I thought I should. Sounds crazy, right? I bet that all of the unhealthy perfectionists reading this understand me.
So I sabotaged my professional life and my relationships trying to meet expectations that were impossible to meet. At some point I realised that this is not how a young, intelligent person should feel, so I reached out for help and got better. Or at least I thought I did. It was better but my perfectionism kept coming back. I worked to get rid of it taking baby steps and I thought I was making progress. Until I realised that I had been postponing publishing this website because it was not good enough for me. I have bought a lot of equipment, software, plugins etc. to make it perfect from the very begining. But is it ever going to be good enough for me? Probably not. I have been afraid to do things I’m not perfect at and I have been procrastinating like hell. I have been frightened to speak German because I knew I could make a mistake. I have been taking more and more couses and trainings to finally feel ready. And of course I have never felt ready enough.
So I’m sorry, my dear students. I have been lying to you. I’ve been telling you not to be afraid to speak and make mistakes as they are a part of the learing process but I myself did not follow my own advice. Last week I didn’t publish anything on my Geek English Facebook Page, because I got overwhelmed with the number of things I thought I had to do to make this site perfect.
Well, guess what. It’s not perfect. But it’s finally here. And I’m going to make it better step by step. Why am I sharing such a personal thing with you here? Because I want other people struggling with unhealthy perfectionism to know that they are good enough. And they should stop being afraid of trying new things. Of speaking a foreign language. Of starting their own business. Of life. And if you see a person following the pattern I described here, tell them they don’t have to feel this way. Tell them they’re awesome!