process of a perfectionist

When will it end? When will I be “finished” as a person? I used to struggle so much with the process of life. I wanted to be perfect and I found the fact that I was not both disappointing and discouraging.

If you have read my blog for a while, you may remember me referring to myself as a “recovering perfectionist”. It’s true. I have come a long way. Just ask my sister (don’t sisters always know?). Not that perfectionism is inherently bad, but it was bad for me. I used it to point out all my flaws and failures to myself, to make myself miserable and never enough.

But now – mostly – I embrace process. I love it, in fact. I find process completely energizing and exhilarating. The fact that I am never finished; there is always more to learn, more growing to do. I don’t have to have everything all figured out. I can be free to make mistakes because, of course, I am still in process.

But every once in a while, I have days like the ones I’ve had recently where process is arduous and painful. And I’m just sort of tired of it. Weary. And I would like some days where maybe if I don’t have all the answers, I wish I just had some.

And when I am having those types of days, I do what I know makes things worse, but I can’t seem to stop. The familiar voice of perfectionism sneaks back inside my head.

I point out all of my flaws to myself. I point out all the ways other people are better than me, stronger, more together, prettier, more fashionable, better with their money, and on and on.

And then, when I finally convince myself that comparing myself to other people is destructive and terrible, I simply continue on by comparing myself to my former self.

Perhaps I have grown and changed, but I point out how it is just not enough. If it was, then I would be there, I would be done, I would be finished, I would have arrived. And I wouldn’t be struggling so much.

The thing about the process of personal growth is that it is just so endless. But the only other option is to become stagnant. And who wants to be stagnant? Living, but not really alive.

So I go on, putting one foot in front of the other and trying to grow through these days when process feels heavy. And I remind myself that these days are part of the process. I will never be a recover-ed perfectionist. I will have to settle for recover-ing. Because recovery is a process.

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