Start trying, start failing

I had a bit of an epiphany today.

For quite a long time now I have been a perfectionist. I don’t know exactly how I have developed this tendency, as I’m quite sure I wasn’t always like that.

To me perfectionism can be summarized to the sentence “I’m not good enough.”

I feel I am a failure if I believe I don’t perform as well as others. And I often believe that. I have a hard time showing people who I really am, in fear of not being accepted. Hell I may not send messages to old friends on my worst days for fear of bugging them.

I don’t ask for help, cause I have to be strong. I never rejoice if others fail – I’m way too kind for that – but other people’s success does make me feel average. And oh how I abhor that word! I truly want to excel at everything I do and procrastinating is a huge part of that.

Until today, that is. As my usual perfectionist self I had decided some time ago to go for a certification. Quite a difficult one, looks nice on your cv. Not everyone passes, so of course I should. Except I didn’t!

And to my surprise I didn’t beat myself about it. Sitting here quite calmly writing about the incident and I’m fine with my failure. Nothing broke. No one cares. Paycheck will keep coming in. I’m still allowed to go to the office tomorrow.

So I started wondering about what has happened during last year. I’ve expressed my opinions freely at work. I have a lot more courage on that front being the authentic me in my professional role. I know how to make an argument. And I don’t mind not always winning them. I even had something I would call arguments with a friend. That shit scares the hell out of me! Turns out the friend didn’t leave me because of those disagreements.

And so – there was an intresting passage in the article I linked to above, which I think holds true for me;

Brown’s remedy? Try practicing authenticity. Let others see you, exactly as you are, and let go of the protecting shield of perfectionism in order to express vulnerability.

“Authenticity is a practice and you choose it every day,” she says, “sometimes every hour of every day.”

Not to worry though – I’m not perfect yet (pun intended!!). Just today I felt very inadequate with my process compared to a colleague. So there’s still a long road ahead!