I'll admit it, I'm a closet perfectionist. I should be on a 12-step programme. My only saving grace is that my pursuit of perfectionism only applies to myself. I'm far more tolerant of others; I enjoy other people's imperfections and tend to dislike perfection-seekers. Because, let's face it, perfect people are often very dull. Not to mention smug and often uptight. All of which is not very endearing.
So why do I persist in my pipe-dream of perfection? Why do I beat myself up when I act like an idiot (often), say stupid things (daily) and scream at Alpha and the kids like a fishwife (all the time)? Why do I feel cross and embarrassed every time I get lost when trying to read a map? Why do I over-apologise in a cringe-worthy fashion and feel ashamed whenever I'm late (being incapable of judging time can be a bit of a problem)? Why do I feel sick to my stomach whenever I've inadvertantly offended someone? Why do I feel utterly dumb when I play Trivial Pursuit and get a question wrong, or worse, don't know any of the answers? Why do I obsess about my strange knees, my stumpy legs and encroaching cellulite?
Frankly, why do I give a sh*t? Other people tend to do all of the above (probably) and worse, yet shrug it off and act as if they couldn't care less. And I've never observed the world falling on their heads. Plus their mothers still seem to love them. So it can't be that bad, right?
One of the most difficult things to come to terms with as you struggle through adulthood is the realisation that the attainment of perfection is impossible. I would never be so bold as to claim to have reached that particular state of grown-up-ness but I do seem to have moved on a bit from my last decade.
The best cure for perfectionists is to have kids. Perfectionists are invariably control freaks and, as anyone with a small human bean in their care will be aware, children introduce great big messy gobs of chaos into the most streamlined life. How you deal with it is up to you. The hard-core perfectionist will endeavour to shape their children into perfect packages in their own image - which can work for a while but the teenage years inevitably present a more difficult challenge. Others, like me (mildly neurotic but essentially rather lazy), eventually come to the realisation that they have to let go a bit and accept the fact that they're not perfect, will never be perfect, and that others will accept them despite (or perhaps because) of it.
Viva la imperfection! Personally, I'm working hard on nurturing my faults....
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