Perfectionism is something that I have particularly struggled with over the years, however, it's something that I didn't realise affected me until I started recovering from my eating disorder.
Until I started CBT for my eating disorder, I believed that the way that I thought was normal and rational. I didn't know that other people didn't expect themselves do always do things right, they didn't rip pages of notes out and re-write them because they had made a spelling mistake and they didn't believe that their failures made them a bad person.
Even thought over the last year I have become a lot more aware of my perfectionism, it is still something that is affecting my everyday life. In fact, whilst I am writing this post I have 3 draft posts just waiting until they are perfect... I have spent years of my life believing that if people saw something about me that wasn't perfect, they would forever believe that I was a bad or unworthy person.
I have by no means overcome this issue, however, I have at least started to challenge my thinking. Whenever I make a statement that my therapist believes comes from my perfectionism she asks me whether I would think this about someone else if they had not done something perfectly, to which I answer of course not. If I wouldn't believe this about another person, why should this be true for me? Why should I have to live to a standard that I would never expect anyone around me to meet?
Perfectionism is something that I will have to continue working on for a very long time but (pre-warning what I am about to say is incredibly cliche) by admitting that I have a problem, I am halfway to moving forward from said problem.
As a challenge to myself, I am not going to go back and meticulously edit this post until I feel like it is perfect (So I am sorry for any spelling or errors in grammar - it is all for a good cause) that idea is something that causes me a lot of anxiety. However, that is another thing that I have learnt this year, anxiety doesn't always mean that things are bad, I am so used to my patterns of behaviour that by changing them I will inevitably feel anxious. However, its still important to change them, (again, incredibly cliche) I have to experience a little anxiety in order to prevent a lot of anxiety in the long run.
Yes, there have been some good things that have come out of my perfectionism, and I have to trust that these things won't disappear by challenging my perfectionist behaviour. But, perfectionism has taken so many things from me and I refuse to bow down and let it.