Why it sucks being a Perfectionist

Recently I remarked to my mother how I hated being a perfectionist. The next day she sent me an article she found online titled ’10 Tips to Help you Overcome Perfectionism’ or something like that. I read it over, and while the intention was sweet, the article did not help me at all.

It basically outlined a bunch of tips to help someone who strives to be a perfectionist to others. People who have to do everything perfectly, and never mess up. People who always have to be perfect for others and impress them, etc.

My problem is, I’m not a perfectionist in that way… I’m more of an OCD/neat freak/perfectionist. I know it’s bad to say things like “I’m so OCD”, but I literally do not know any better way to describe it. When I was seeing a psychologist a few years ago, she even said I have Obsessive Personality Disorder. So to me, it’s not about having my life perfect, but rather, every single freaking detail of things.

Like if I’m organizing things, and when I put them all away, I notice that one little piece is sticking out a tad. Or if I’m photography food (I’m a food photographer), every little detail has to be perfect, and if something was out of place, I have to retake all the photos to get a better shot. Even last week I was taking photos with this new black backdrop, and the bottom wasn’t touching the side part all the way, and you could see a tiny streak of white underneath, and I had to fix it so it was perfect.

Those are just little examples of my personality type. I guess you could say I have an ‘all or nothing’ type personality. It can tend to be very addicting and obsessive. I obsess over things. If I’m doing something, I have to give it my all. And when it’s time to give up, I can’t. I keep going and going and pushing myself. Some may call this perseverance and determination. But it’s gotten to the point where I’ve felt ill because of how much I can’t let something go. It sucks.

At the same time, I appreciate it. I like being neat and organized. Everybody tells me I’m so organized, and quite frankly, I’m glad I have my shit together, unlike most people whose lives are a mess. They misplace thing, forget where they saved files, forget to hand in assignments or pay certain bills. I’m so “ocd” that those things would never.. ever.. happen to me. I have never forgotten something, lost something, forgot to give someone something. When I was in high school, I kept a list in my phone of all the clothes people had borrowed of mine so that I could remember to get it back. (I always have clothes back on time, so it was never a problem). Same with money; if I ever owed someone something, I paid it back immediately. Other people (who owed me money), waited weeks and months, of me constantly reminding them and hounding them until I got it from them.

This phrase heavily applies to my life: “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself”. Literally, because no one else can do things as good as I do. (in my mind) (for my standards).

And this is why I hate being a perfectionist. It scares people off. They despise me for being so ‘uptight’, ‘picky’ ‘annoying’, etc. I created a cup system in my house when I lived with 6 girls so that our sponges didn’t cross contaminate food and it didn’t get nasty. But then at the same time, I was being reasonable for all of those months. I often was the only who restocked the toilet paper when I was empty. I organized the fridge and would find nasty/old/rotten food at the back. If I lived on my own, food would never go bad because I’d use the food I had before going out and just buying new food, leaving the ones pushed to the back to be forgotten about.

UGH. It’s such a struggle. This stuff literally gets to my bones and makes me cringe.

While I hate my tendencies and obsessiveness, I am also so grateful I’m not a messy forgetful slob.

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