At the start of every summer, I make a mental list of all the things I’m going to be during the next school year. I get this image of a perfect, confident, straight-A, beautiful, helpful young woman. Every time. When September comes, I follow through with it–for a few weeks. Then school and/or life problems become too overwhelming, and I have to refocus my energy. By the end of the year, I look back and feel disappointed with myself and the girl I did not become. And so the cycle begins again.
But earlier this year, in June, I was determined to be that girl. I was going to do it! I was! So when September started, I hit the ground running. I kept running. The only way to succeed was, in my eyes, to set my expectations for myself unattainably high. So I never lived up to my own standards. As soon as I started coming close, I’d raise the bar just out of reach.
It crushed me.
I need something or someone to blame for my predicament, because I’m so sick of blaming myself. Because I don’t really believe in blaming other people, that rules out the someone. I’m going to blame perfectionism. But who brought on the perfectionism? I did. It was me. See? As soon as I try to find another reason, I realize that it really is my fault.
Perfectionism is such a trap. It’s only a matter of time before it leads to defeat. How frustrating it is to keep jumping, jumping high for a bar that will never be in reach. It would defeat anyone. Who wants to keep trying for something that will never be reached? All I really want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep all day, because there’s no way to fail at that. I am so sick of failure. In other people’s eyes, I was great, but I never gave myself the grace to admit it. To me, everything I did was falling short. Now look where I am. I used to live by a quote: “If you shoot for perfection, you will reach excellence.” But no! Well, yes. I did do well. But I got tired of goals just out of view, just out of reach. And then the will to keep shooting dies out, the stamina dwindles. Why try if nothing I do will ever be enough? But, like I said earlier, perfectionism is a trap. And once one’s brain is there, it’s next to impossible to get it out. So I’m sitting, with no more strength left in my bones to keep jumping, so my grades start to slip. Little by little–it’s gradual. My brain is still trapped in perfectionism, so trying to let myself lower the bar is like trying to swallow sand, but I haven’t got anything left to keep jumping as high as I did. I can only reflect on how terribly I’m doing.
Don’t let perfectionism trap you. Don’t ever let it trap you. Set your bar high, but never out of reach. I’m telling you, don’t jump into this whirlpool. It’s no way to achieve anything.