Sensitivity

Perfectionism

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I’ve missed writing on this blog! I’ve been exploring the reasons that have been keeping me away from writing in this space… And really, much of it is legit. In the past 3 months I’ve moved continents, started grad school, moved into a new apartment, met a whole bunch of new people – and all of these are enough to stress out even the averagely-sensitive person. Since I am highly sensitive – it’s really been a whole lot for me! And I have to acknowledge that.

I hope you too are acknowledging everything that’s been going on in your life, even when you feel like you ‘shouldn’t’ be stressed out by it, or are beating yourself up for being overwhelmed by something ‘everyone else’ can seemingly handle well.

You’re not everyone else. You’re you. You feel what you feel. Period.

On this journey, you have to honor how it feels for you. It’s all about self-compassion before you’re able to offer it to anyone else.

Underneath it all though, I am aware of one tiny excuse that’s been keeping me away from my website. And in the name of radical honesty, I am going to spill the beans here…

It’s perfectionism.

See, I want to have everything all put together, a perfect vision, an iron-clad roadmap, a bulletproof masterplan for how this site should look and sound and achieve. And in setting myself this impossible standard, I’ve stressed myself out before even clicking on ‘Create a New Post’. I scare myself out of doing the one thing I’ve always known to be true in my life, no matter what has gone on: write. Putting pen to paper. Fingers to keyboard.

I’ve allowed myself to minimize the importance of the one and only reason I started this website in the first place: to share my stories in order to connect with other fellow HSPs and empaths.

And part of my mind knows that’s it’s absolutely ridiculous. My higher guidance knows better. I HAVE to write, I have to keep the flow moving, even if the outcome isn’t ‘perfect’. It’s the process that counts. It’s the imperfect product powered by heart and intention that matters. I still have a higher vision for this website, but I know I can only do what I can for the moment, and when the time is right, it will grow. It’s better than leaving it stagnant because it’s not ‘perfect’ every step of the way.

I just wanted to share this here so I can let the words flow once again.

Do you relate? Is there anything you’ve been putting off because you need it to be perfect right off the bat?

I like what Anne Lamott has to say about it…

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”
― Anne LamottBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Recovering Perfectionist

This drive to get things done well seems to be innate (hello, Virgo). I remember being 5 years old and making a mistake on a spelling test in Kindergarten, and the self-criticism and sense of frustration that followed – that feeling hasn’t really changed much, just the scenarios and ‘mistakes’ I’ve made since then.

If I were to slap a label on myself, it would be ‘recovering perfectionist’, to remind myself that letting this urge overwhelm me will only drive me nuts. Seriously. It is one joy-sucking monster that will take over. And so I am mindful when it strikes, and I am committed to redirecting my energies to something productive. (This post is evidence of my rebellion: BYE, PERFECTIONISM.)

I also know that HSPs in general tend to lean towards the perfectionist side of things too.

That’s because it’s also one way to stay in control in the face of overwhelming stimuli in the external world. When all things seem chaotic and impossible, one way to handle and manage the chaotic feelings internally is to make sure everything is right and in its perfect place.

“If I do this perfectly, I will experience less feelings of failure/shame/anger/sadness (which are intense and overwhelming, and I want to avoid those feelings.)”

This points back to how we process and manage feelings of shame, fear, frustration – how are your coping mechanisms like? What do you do? What are your stories around these feelings?  

Explore them. What do your beliefs around doing something ‘perfectly’ or being ‘perfect’ say about you? Does it say anything about you as a human being?

These answers will help you unravel a little bit of the inertia/angst that come as a result of perfectionism.

One thing I know for sure is that perfectionism doesn’t serve much purpose, except to keep us from living and breathing as fully and freely as we are meant to. In being imperfect, in stumbling sometimes, in being a little sloppy, a little more carefree – that’s really when you get into the flow of things, and when you allow breathing room for magic to happen.

If you have any stories to share, I would love to hear them. Thank you for reading! 

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