Unrealistic Expectations and the Myth of Perfection

I am a Type-A perfectionist with mothering tendencies. I am very much a morning person, and once I’ve gotten my shower, I’m wide awake and happy as a lark. I like to have things a certain way, and since I’m a micro-manager, if that way isn’t achieved it’s very hard for me to focus on anything. I have to be dying to miss a class, and my homework must always be at least a high B. When I work, I believe that I should give it my all, and do my very best. And it’s a constant struggle to fulfill my ideal of perfect officer for both my club and my honors society.

I’ve read theories on why I am the way I am. Everyone has contributed their two-cents worth about my personality flaws, and I catch myself taking these to heart, becoming paranoid about being perfect. I’m sure all of these theories play a part in it. I am a first-born, and a “parentified” child. I was homeschooled, so I expect more of myself academically than I expect from my peers, and it’s a thorn in my flesh that I am not the best at everything I do. I am an unrepentant over-achiever, and anything short of perfection, or my perception of what that would be, is not good enough.

These tendencies have caused huge problems for me. Friendships have been lost, or put in danger, because I come across as bossy and a “busybody.” I have been known to make friends feel like I don’t really want to spend time with them because I’m so busy, and penciling them in is taking away from other things, or on the other hand, I’m way too involved for their comfort. I never stop moving, meaning that I’m exhausted at the end of the day, and grumpy because I haven’t met my expectations for me.

Pausing now, in an hour of time gained unexpectedly, I can’t help but think about my expectations, my values, and the consequences. If I’m being brutally honest, I know that my goal- perfection- doesn’t exist on this earth, and it makes me think about why I do what I do.

There’s this drive in me that’s forever pushing me forward, while pulling me back over my mistakes at the same time. I need to do better. Need to reach my goals. This need makes it impossible for me to sit still (even as I’m writing this my feet and legs won’t stop moving, and I’ve gotten up several times to do little tasks.) I’m tied to both this vague future point and everything I have ever done wrong, and it leaves no room for present satisfaction.

I try to be “normal” and not let these needs and habits interrupt my life. I can try to explain it to those who are closest to me, but whether they take this into their calculations of me or not is another matter. I try to take everything I’m told with a grain of salt, and not let it become too personal. But sometimes, I really just need affirmation.

Sometimes, I just need someone to be patient with my quirks and habits. I need to people understand just how deep their words, even the most basic comments, go. I need to be heard out and what I say be taken seriously and treated with respect, and not joked about. Some days, it’s a struggle for me to not sink into a semi-depressed state because I’ve fallen short of perfection yet again.

Please don’t give me a handful of nice sounding Christian platitudes. I know that God is the only place where perfection exists, and that I’m not God. I don’t want to be God. I know that I’m a broken human being, and telling me that I shouldn’t have such high expectations of myself doesn’t help, it just makes me feel worse, because no one else lives like I’m a broken human, too. I know that one day God will make all things right, and restore the earth and everything in it to perfection, and I have faith that I, too, will be restored.

It’s not something that logic can work through. Trust me. I’ve been trying for the last twenty years. It’s not something that I’m entirely sure I can fix, and if I can, I can’t help but wonder if I’d really want to fix it.

You see, these traits make me a fantastic employee, a great student, and a Super-Womanesque officer. I’m responsible to a fault.

I guess my point in writing this is to clear my mind, to point out that you can take me or leave me, but understand that there’s way more under the surface than you could ever imagine. I (almost) always mean well in what I do, despite how that comes across. And above all, I just wanted to point out that I am merely human, despite everything I can seemingly accomplish without help. Please treat me like that.


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