Thanks for bringing this up Jack. When you’ve been raised in a home where only perfection will earn you love and your only choice always was ‘be perfect’ or be ‘unloved’ it’s really difficult to let go of this voice inside of yourself that always relentlessly whispers lies – demanding perfectionism in everything you do.
I often still catch myself out – I’ll often push myself harder than anybody should, demand more, be satisfied with less. I dismiss my positive qualities and annihilated myself for my bad ones. Like a really bad parent. I struggle to have compassion for myself. And lately I’ve noticed that I also struggle to have compassion for others.
Sometimes I don’t even try because I’m certain I’ll fail. Other times I try things that no person in their right mind with my resources at the time would’ve and I make myself get to the other side. Failure is not an option.
I think this ‘trait’ or flaw has earned me a lot of treasures in life. It’s how I started my business with zero clients and no money, freshly defeated by my precious career and turned it into something resembling a stable future. It’s also earned me a lot of heartbreak. It’s why I expect the unexpectable from others, it’s why I can judge the hell out of those I love around me. It’s how I almost always feel that everyone around is not doing enough, committed enough, worthy enough. It’s how I’ve lost every person that I’ve ever liked enough to attempt to have a relationship with. And so… I’m constantly torn up by perfectionist expectations and yet I’m never good enough. And in reality it results in me never being good enough for people I reach out to. This must be how one makes ones own nightmares into reality – without even realising it at the time.
They say it’s lonely at the top. I can tell you from experience it’s a lot lonelier at the bottom after you’ve fallen off the previous high.
I suspect I need to focus on developing more compassion as an antidote to perfectionism. I am not yet sure if I deserve it but I know the people around me definitely do. And that is who I am at my core – a caretaker, a protector, a loyalist. I love with an intensity that I can only describe as painful. So then why do I struggle with compassion? Isn’t that the ultimate perpetual torture?