Chasing perfection

As a child, I wanted to be like everyone else who didn’t have Cerebral Palsy.

I wanted to walk properly without a limp; I wanted to walk heel toe like everyone else. I was constantly checking my heels to see the difference between both heels and how they were wearing down and would get annoyed with myself because they weren’t uniform.

When I crayoned out of the lines, I’d throw the colouring sheet I was using in the bin and start again. It’s no excuse but I suppose emotionally I was struggling to come to terms with everything I was dealing with.

The outlines on my handwriting were too small. If I made a mistake I would start again; although luckily that perfection never spilled over into me being the best in and out of school competitively. Being a perfectionist seemed to be centred around my Cerebral Palsy.

Or perhaps it wasn’t so much about perfection for me. I just wanted things to be right. But for those who are chasing perfection all the time can be exhausting. It’s an endless uphill struggle when we try to be the best at everything.

It’s an impossible quest, one that ends with disappointment every time, because no one can expect to continue to be the best all the time. The bar on perfection will always be raised. The boundaries will always be moved; it’s not something that will always be in our grasp.

Being a perfectionist can also be a stressful burden. Having to keep up standards is stressful enough. Being the best at some things is better than being the best at everything. Being the best at everything means we’ll never really enjoy our successes.

Sometimes it’s not always obvious to us that we are perfectionists, but it’s more obvious to everyone else. Letting go of having to be a perfectionist in those areas of my life, finally paved the way and gave me the freedom and peace to choose how I wanted to be in my life.

29 Apr, 2012

4 thoughts on “Chasing perfection

  1. I used to be really bad at having to have everything just so. But I’ve gotten over that mostly.

    Now that we are adopting a small child being perfect won’t seem to be that important anymore, because messes will happen and things will get out of order.

    1. Thanks for your post Lisa.

      I believe that the reality for most of us is that our lives aren’t really like that. Wanting everything perfect and chasing perfection is a pipe dream in a Cinderella story! Our realities are different.

      I know that having CP made me less than perfect and I never had a problem with that. I think the lack of support and understanding made it more difficult for me to accept the fact that I had it. I must have been compensating back then as a child.

      I think you’re right. Adopting a child gives us a different take on our life. You will have messes given his young age, but he just needs to be who he is. I wish you all the luck in the world.

  2. Growing up I used to try to do things perfectly… like ‘normal’ kids, walk, play sports, talk, even think and when it didn’t happen I got very angry and violent.

    Even now I try do be perfect, especially at home. I try to do ‘home repairs,’ but deep down I know it is not going to work, then the anger comes back (not the violence).

    1. I totally get you. This isn’t about you… this is about you having to deal with Cerebral Palsy, not so easy to do.

      As a child I was also very angry. Looking back it had nothing to do with me either. I know with the right support we would have coped a lot better. Sometimes it’s the understanding that helps us perceive our life better.

      I began to surround myself with people who were positive, that also helped. The key is positive support and understanding. I believe both of those attributes are very important.

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