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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
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perfectionism - May 7th 2018, 08:24 AM

i expect myself to be perfect and hold myself to those expectations, which results in never-ending disappointment and hatred for myself. by being perfect i don't mean that in a physical sense, but in the sense that i should always do things right, never make mistakes, never say stupid things, never say the wrong thing, never accidentally insult people... you know, the things i do daily.
i recently realized that even though i expect myself to be perfect, nobody else does. i'm still coming to terms with this, but i think that other people might actually just see me the way i see them: normal.

i started thinking about this because of an old coworker i had. i always thought that he hated me. i always felt insecure and ugly and awkward around him because i thought that he thought i was just a complete mess. and i thought that until he quit and i eventually forgot about him.
recently my friend at work told me that our old coworker came to visit and was asking about me. it turns out that the whole time i thought he hated me and was happy to see me fail, he actually wanted to get my number and talk to me but he was too shy.
that probably sounds like a normal situation, but to me it was just mind blowing that i was so off about that whole thing.

it made me wonder if other people think more positively of me than i thought they did too, and now i'm starting to re-evaluate everything. i'm noticing a lot of little things and it's so crazy.

but i still haven't stopped assuming that people think the worst of me. it is comforting to know that for one person that wasn't the case, but what about everyone else who "hates me"?
ever since i can remember, i've always entered social situations just assuming that everyone else knows exactly what they're doing, and i'm the only idiot who is feeling awkward and unsure of themselves.

most notably was the first day of freshman year, when i put myself out there for some reason and joined a circle of girls who were talking, one of whom was my old acquaintance. as soon as i joined that conversation, i immediately assumed that they were all already friends, they all liked each other, they all felt comfortable with themselves, they all knew better than me, and they all looked down on me.
the best way to explain it is that when i walk into a social situation, i immediately feel like everyone is on a pedestal above me, looking down at me. they know everything and i'm just this stupid peasant who is making a fool of herself by even trying to talk to these wonderful people.

fast forward to today, where two of those girls are my closest friends, and it turns out that they felt just as awkward and panicky and insecure as i did. not to mention that they ended up hating the other girl they were talking to that day. so everyone else's life isn't perfect, i guess!

factually, i know other people are complex. i know the majority of the people probably think they say dumb things and think their mistakes are the end of the world too. we all get embarrassed and i think a lot of people also feel awkward almost all the time. but for some reason, i can't internalize all that and entirely believe that it's true. for some reason i think i might always believe that i'm the person everybody hates and everyone else knows much better than i do. so i'll do whatever i can to gain their approval and fit in with them, not realizing that because i don't judge people like that, they probably aren't judging me like that either.
to this day, i still partially believe that all my friends have a second group chat where they just shit on me and talk about how horrible i am behind my back. HOW ARROGANT IS THAT. that i think i'm actually so significant to them that they spend their time talking crap on me, instead of just cutting me off. insanity man.

does anyone else deal with this type of mentality? i have to believe that if i had even an ounce of positive self-esteem, maybe i'd have confidence in myself to just exist without feeling like i'm a burden to everyone who has to lay their eyes on me. what do you do to combat this type of perfectionist thinking?


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Re: perfectionism - May 7th 2018, 04:03 PM

Hey.

I totally feel you, I share some of the issues you're talking about. I judge myself very harshly and do the exact opposite when it comes to other people. In social situations, I always assume I am the outsider, that somehow everyone else around me is like one big family and I'm the only one who doesn't belong there. The saddening part is that I feel like they can just sense that in me, like they can just tell by looking at my face that I don't belong with them. I also feel like there are so many unwritten rules in social contexts that I'm blind to, it's like the entire world is playing this game and I'm the only player who has absolutely no idea how the game works and what the rules are.

Needless to say, I find myself constantly falling short of the unrealistic standards I've set for myself, and for some reason, I'm unable to accept that it's okay not to reach them because 'I'm only human and everyone makes mistakes.' Often, my friends point out that I'm being too hard on myself because apparently, being human is the perfect excuse to never reach your own expectations.

I also know what it's like to find out that you've been horribly wrong in your judgement of someone, even after spending a LOT of time with them.

And above all, I know how frustrating and infuriating it is to know that logically, all your insecurities and fears are just made up and they may very well be figments of your imagination, but still failing to internalize that and actually believe in it.

I'm still struggling with all of this, so obviously, I can't say for sure how to overcome this kind of mindset. But I think the most important thing we can do is just keep working on self-image, because if, somehow, you were able to start seeing yourself in a better light, maybe things will get better. When we feel like there are so many things wrong with us, we believe that other people MUST be able to see it, to sense it, to talk about it and point it out to each other, simply because all these flaws are so obvious to us. We see ourselves and all we see are flaws. All we see are mistakes. Where we've gone horribly wrong. And we're overwhelmed by all the things we believe is wrong with us. Surely other people can't have missed out on all of it? Surely they're not blind to all of it? Surely they don't want anything to do with me? Why, then, are they still in my life, hanging around? The only explanation seems to be that they like what they see - they like mocking and making fun of me, because I'm so horribly messed up that I must be a twisted piece of art they can comment on behind my back.

Change is always hard, and changing the way you see and treat yourself, I believe, is one of the hardest change there is. Right now, I'm trying to be slightly easier on myself. I refuse to lower my perfectionist standards (I'm pretty sure I'm incapable of doing that), but I'm trying to give myself more chances and more time to get there. Maybe I'm trying to be more tolerant and patient with myself, like how a teacher would be with a four year old in class. It goes against my nature to not reprimand myself and I usually fail, but I'm trying. I'm trying to be okay with the fact that I'm screwing up being okay with screwing up.

I think it's unwise to stop judging yourself altogether - it's important to self-assess, analyze and improve. While it's okay to judge whether something we've done was right or wrong, I think we should hold back on drawing conclusions on what that judgement means on a larger scale. For example, it's okay to be frustrated at yourself because you've screwed up. But try to avoid feeling like you've screwed up because that's just who you are - a massive screw-up. Try not to feel like your mistakes define you as a person.

Also, since you already know logically everything that you need to know and you're only having trouble internalizing it, I think the internalizing happens over a period of time. It takes a while. Try reminding yourself those facts when you feel otherwise. When the feelings start taking over, rely on these basic facts that you wish you believed in, trying to convince yourself that you DO believe in them.

I may not have a lot of practical advice to help you out, but I do hope this helps you in some capacity. Often, it helps to just know that there's someone who feels the same way and that you're not alone in your struggle; that you're not crazy. There's nothing wrong with you, despite all the things that you might have got wrong in life.

Hope I've helped. PM/VM me if you need anything!

Take care.
Love. - xx


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Re: perfectionism - June 7th 2018, 02:48 AM

Really well written post above I think. But I have another idea.

Keep up with your perfectionism, always be yourself. I will explain the two ideas below.

- It's simple: Do the right thing and never do anything bad. What you mentioned are the right things to do, "i should always do things right, never make mistakes, never say stupid things, never say the wrong thing, never accidentally insult people..." and many more. Learn to be perfect, but with the correct reason. You should try to be perfect not so that you can be on par with others. Simply because so that you are being yourself to the fullest. If you think that you had to "be on par with others" then perfectionism isnt the problem, but your confidence! Insecurities, doubtfulness, feeling dumb are really irritating and depressing, and we all know that. So to keep on with the perfectionism means you always remind youself to not be bothered these feelings and focus on doing good work. This is good. It's really good if you can avoid insecurities, nothing is wrong about that!

Trust your perfectionism, it will lead you to great things, trust me. But remember to use it in the correct way, which I will mention below.

I have a point to disagree with above. I don't think people are screwed-ups. If they are, why are they truly great people in the world? The key lies in whether you believe people are perfect or not. I think that many people to too scared with the idea that humans are perfect, they didnt put in enough effort to take this name of "being perfect", so they choose to believe their are not perfect. It's very simple: Who wouldn't want to be perfect? But who can really take the "pain" (which is effort) and work to be perfect? Those who can are those perfect people we see today.

They simply believed in human perfection.

Please DON'T work on self-image, because you are already perfect. Working on self-image is ruining your confidence!! If you need to see yourself in a better light just to feel good, that means you are still not feeling good about yourself. In this sense perfectionism is a very good trait you know? It will drives you to focus on getting things done and less on yourself. Especially if you are doubtful and still not feeling good of yourself. Only your work, and who you are, will satisfy you and make you contented. Nothing else will. Definitely not the "exterior self" you wish to package yourself as. All you need to do is simply working hard towards being good, simply because you are interested to be perfect.

I don't believe humans are screwed-up. In fact I truly believe everyone is doing their best and are striving for perfection. This is why if I am not working hard or slacking, I feel like a failure. But then I realize something important: Perfectionism doesnt allow me to feel like a failure, it is not efficient! But I am a human and I do feel sad and discouraged at times. What should I do?

..................

Now I will give you a good view of perfectionism, and you can judge yourself how much of it do you want to take. I will place a [] to indicate the key sentence.

type 0: I failed. I am angry. Why am I such a failure? Why is everyone perfect? [I can't do good things, everyone is better than me]. (Then keep on getting depressed)

type 1: I failed. I am angry. Why am I such a failure? How did everyone became perfect? I have to be at least as good as them. [I must keep on working hard so that I am not a failure.] (Then worked hard but with an anger in heart.)

type 2: I failed. I am angry. But it's not good to always be angry. [I must work hard instead so that I will do better.] (Then keep on working hard as usual)

type 3: This is not good enough. [This is not 100% perfect] (Then keep on working hard as usual, without emotions in heart.)

...............

Ok, type 0 it indicates a depressed person who might be type 1, 2 or 3 if they are not depressed. If you think you can't do anything, this isn't perfectionism yet. But you can get to type 1, 2or 3 very easily: Just by starting working on what you want to do (aka. working hard)

But type 1 is NOT perfectionism. It is very important to distinguish it. People who think that they need to work hard to not fail their life, are not truly perfectionists. Perfectionist realize that being only "not failling their lives" is not enough to satisfy them. These are those with type 2 and 3. (with the later are actually illusioning themselves)

And the type 2 perfectionist are the ideal ones. I don't believe humans have no emotions. So if you fail, acknowledge it, and work hard. Do not let emotions affect you, but acknowledge their presence, and keep them to motivate you. The key is to ask yourself what it means by perfect. Never let others to affect your "perfect". Most importantly never think that your perfect must be what others expect you to do!

The "ideal" perfectionist like in type 3, are what you can see in robots. I don't find that robots are any better than humans, in fact due to lack of emotions they lack creativity as well. The key is not to focus solely on results. When type 3 appears in humans, most likely they had some severe trauma or failures that caused them to be like this. Often they are actually just type 1 people, but went on to be extreme. This is not good either.

But did you notice for any type of people I wrote here, are all focused on themselves?

.............

- Now the next point, being yourself. This is a very easy thing to say but very hard to do.

To perfect yourself is a task of a lifetime. It's so difficult to be perfect! So, don't spent too much time bothering others. If you do, you will divert a lot of your attention to others and you won't have enough time to be perfect! There is one good quote i think its very good:

"A true leader do not use polls. They do not use votes. They do not care about critisms. They only always, always, always do the right thing."

You are a leader too, you are the leader of yourself. And to "always do the right thing" takes a lot of effort, so don't spend time on caring what people feel, simply because there is no point of doing so! You will realize that having people to look at you positively, isn't making you feel any better! In fact, it indicates a certain insecurity if you feel happy about it, because that means you rely your happiness on other's opinion! This is very important. In fact you should be worried if you are happy about a stranger's compliment: "Have I been so depressed all the time that I am happy with a compliment from a stranger?"

Everyone's life is perfect. But there are lazy people, there are people who live in doubt not believing in human perfection, there are unfortunate people. Now, if you can hear someone we most people think as "unfortunate" saying: "I lived a happy, perfect life.", who are we to think that we don't have a perfect life? Yes, I know I seemed like I am talking fairy tales, but I know first hand how unfortunate people had to struggle. You can't help but wonder how they can still think their life is perfect. It is simply they are enjoying their lives by working hard. There is no but and if's. No matter who you are, there is no such thing as "unfortunate" if you can read and understand this sentence.

You might read in articles (in fact most of them) saying there are such a thing called negative perfectionism. I believe those people (which is also most of them based on the number of articles), are in type 1 or 3. The real perfectionist are simply free from doubts. They struggle in their work, but they work on it without any doubt. They dont struggle emotionally. If you have to care about how much self esteem do you have, you are making your life unnecessarily complex!

People are really simple. They aren't complex. When we make ourselves complex we tend to think human are complex. The problem lies on ourselves, and we should use perfectionism to fix it. Perfectionist tend to blame themselves a lot, but they are equally as willing to fix them. If you really see a person who is complex, then that person is a troubled person, and they are probably struggling to see the truth of humanity. I mean it.

Life is simple. Don't care about anything else. Do your work you enjoy, be with people you love. Thats all. This is the essence of minimalism and perfectionism.

PS. I am not sure whether I am a perfectionist. I won't mind if you say I am or I am not! I only hope I helped



Do my best at everything I can to live a happy, perfect life.

Happy life won't come by being happy everyday. Struggle and always work hard.

Forgive other's imperfection, they will work hard about it once I point it out to them, just like what I should be doing.

On the other hand, never tolerate with my own mediocrity. Never slack and always strive improvement.

Never settle. Never give up.

Last edited by Thinking; June 7th 2018 at 01:54 PM.
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