Perils of Perfectionism

When people ask me if I’ve been writing lately, I mumble something about not having time because of the demands of a job, children and home. That’s a much easier answer than the truth, which is that I suffer from the debilitating, paralyzing disease of perfectionism. Perfectionism is not so much the desire to be perfect as it is the fear of failure. What if I write something controversial, or make a grammatical mistake and I’m an English teacher? Even “worser” than worse, what if I write something so utterly uninteresting that people say, “who cares”? It’s unfortunate because I write such interesting, wonderful blogs in my head and I come up with really amazing story lines that never see the light of day.

Perfectionism is such a sad, mentally incapacitating disease because it can prevent us from achieving things that we’re entirely capable of achieving. The cure? Take chances. No-one is perfect and everyone makes a grammatical mistake once in awhile. So what if something is controversial? What’s the worse that can happen?

This year, I’m fighting perfectionism. The alternative is to sit at the computer, fingers frozen on the keyboards, eyes staring at the blank page, until I finally shut the computer, shove it under the bed, and succumb to a Netflix addiction followed by sleep. That way I bury the unhappiness that comes from a creative person who is not being creative because of fear of failure.

2 replies
  1. Sharon
    Sharon says:

    It’s difficult for people in this predicament. It’s only until we recognize the things that are hindering us from stepping forward and making changes can change occur. Sometimes we need to just breathe, talk a walk/ hike to clear our minds. Life is not perfect and we are imperfect beings . We can only learn and grow from situations . We fall down, don’t stay down, get up and continue the journey.

  2. Elaine Hirn
    Elaine Hirn says:

    Peta-Gaye….A great blog on perfectionism. You have such an insightful spirit. Fear of failure is such a deep seated feeling and along with it comes unreasonable demands on self. Nothing seems to be good enough…a race against self with no finish line and we are the only judge. You love to write, people love to read what you write….please keep writing! xx

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