Archive for the ‘Perfectionism’ Category

Top Ten Countdown: Number Four

August 27, 2010

Number four in the Top Ten Things I’ve Learned in 365 Days with Flylady is:

Homemaking (or blogging or crafting or decorating or…) done imperfectly will still bless someone: me!

As anyone who follows Flylady knows, it is perfectionism that we SHEs battle over and over in all areas of our lives. Perfectionism can rear its ugly head in so many ways, from putting off buying Christmas gifts until I can buy the perfect presents to procrastinating about cleaning the kitchen if I don’t have time to scrub it top to bottom to talking myself out of participating in an event if there’s a chance I might not perform perfectly to not following a dream because I can’t execute it perfectly the first time to doubting that others will love me if I’m not perfect. On and on it goes with SHEs.

But Flylady reminds us over and over that we need not be perfect to be blessings. We need not do something perfectly for it to bless others. We need not be perfect.

Every battle I have won over perfectionism in the last year has been a blessing–to me!


Prefectionism, Creativity and a Letter to the Young People in My Life

August 14, 2010

I have recently been made aware of a venue for distributing art that has very exciting possibilities. I think it is a perfect venue for each and every one of the creative young people in my life. But, I know that they will, each and every one, protest that their art is not “good enough.” To them, I say:

Dear Young People,

Please, I beg you, do NOT withhold your art from the rest of the world because you think that it is not perfect. You have each been given amazing artistic gifts from God. I believe He intends to have you use those gifts to His glory. Satan will lie to you. He will tell you that, unless your art is “perfect,” it is not valuable. Do not believe this lie. Do your art. Distribute your art. Even–maybe, especially–if you do not consider it “perfect.”

Love, Your Mom and Mother-in-Law

And I am going to set an example by sending in a prototype for distribution. So, there, young people. Let’s see what you can do!

Anti-Crafting-Procrastination Day

August 7, 2010

Wow. Today, I finished a project that I don’t HAVE to have completed until November. Do you realize what that means? I actually completed–COMPLETED–as in, completely finished, no loose ends, etc., etc., a project that is not due to be completed for three months. This is unheard of in my life. That’s two days in a row that I have been on an anti-procrastination campaign.

Do you think Flylady has had an impact on me?

Flylady, Creativity and Pervasive Perfectionism

August 5, 2010

I am so happy to be participating in some crafting swaps associated with the crafting weekend coming up this fall. One of the swaps is an ornament swap in which each participant prepares an ornament containing her assigned portion of I Corinthians 13. After we make our swaps, we will each have a whole set of ornaments to display on a tree or a swag or wherever our hearts desire.

My part of the Love Chapter is “Love is patient.” I actually teared up when I read my assignment because I feel like God is always, always teaching me patience. And He is so very, very patient with me in His teachings. I designed an ornament on paper that I envisioned would not take me a million years to complete (since I am making 17 of them). I located everything I needed to complete my prototype and I started in on it this weekend while we were spending several hours in the car.

While I was working on it, I kept feeling inadequate. I kept thinking, Oh, the other gals are probably all mixed media artists and here I am working exclusively with fibers. Or, The other gals are probably used to very elaborate pieces and this is too simple. Then, I began having some challenges with some of the materials I was using and the whole ornament, with which I had been very happy on paper, was not turning out the way I wanted it to.

So, today I got the prototype back out, looked through some of my design books, got some better ideas on how to get the look I wanted and I started in, again, on my second ornament. I was trying a new technique for achieving the look I wanted and the whole time I was learning it, I was saying to myself, Oh, this really isn’t ever going to turn out the way I want it to. And, I will disappoint everyone else who is participating in this swap.

Then, I looked down at what I was actually embroidering. Love is patient. Love is PATIENT. I can be patient with myself. God is patient with me. I can be patient with myself.

Once I got a little perspective, I saw that the new technique was, indeed, giving me the effect I sought. And, I reminded myself, I am not expecting some insanely perfect ornament from any other gal participating, so why should I expect that of myself. I will not be disappointed in any participant’s ornament. Why would they be disappointed with mine?

Love is patient.

Flylady and Perfectionism, Again, and Again

July 27, 2010

Sometimes, I am amazed at how deeply my finding and following Flylady has affected me. Yes, I have a cleaner, more peaceful home. But that is just the superficial evidence of the deeper work that dealing with my perfectionism has accomplished.

Flylady posted again today about perfectionism. Her message is just what I’m dealing with on a constant basis lately. I wonder if all of this constant self-evaluation is somewhat narcissistic, but then I read in The Knowledge of the Holy today:

Our real idea of God may lie buried under the rubbish of conventional religious notions and may require an intelligent and vigorous search before it is finally unearthed and exposed for what it is. Only after an ordeal of painful self-probing are we likely to discover what we actually believe about God.

This small snippet reassured me that intelligent and vigorous searches and painful self-probing are valuable when it comes to gaining truth and understanding. And I continue to have vigorous searches and painful self-probing when it comes to how perfectionism has shaped my life. Each search and probe results in a healthier me, a me who loves myself more and who can then love others more. A freer me. A me who is much more able to get out of the way and let God shine through me.

My most recent probe has involved the revelation of what has actually been my motivating self-talk for getting my Flylady chores done on a daily basis. I found that I have been saying to myself every time I get a load of laundry done or get supper in the crockpot or clean the kitchen counters, “Joey will really appreciate this.” And underneath that seemingly harmless motivating statement is the lie: If I keep doing these Flylady chores, Joey will LOVE me.

Now, Joey does appreciate my keeping up with the housework. But my little, life-long, live-in perfectionist that I haven’t been able to entirely evict from my subconscious mind distorts that fact into thinking that I have to earn Joey’s love by keeping up with the housework. Yes, this whole idea stems from the idea that Joey’s love language is acts of service. But the perfectionist in me twists it all around to fit the idea that my PERFECT behavior in some way allows me to earn people’s love. That people don’t or won’t love me if I’m not perfect.

Sure, I’ve already looked at this phenomenon. I’ve even blogged about it recently. So it continues to amaze me that I can continue to learn more about how perfectionism can really warp a person’s ideas about life and love.

P.S. I read a magazine article about an artisan who boasted by describing herself as a perfectionist. It reminded me how our society in general speaks of perfectionism as a virtue. And, as Flylady put it today, it is NOT a virtue. It is a crippling, degrading, stifling vice that keeps people from loving each other fully, from doing God’s work in their lives, from living abundantly!

God Breeze

July 21, 2010

In the middle of our rather intense 4-H schedule, I am having a major God Breeze. Maybe if I write it down, I can understand it a little more. And since those of you reading this have some understanding about how perfectionism relates to Flylady, maybe it will make a little sense.

Out of the blue last night, I started thinking about how a perfectionist strives to achieve perfection to be loved. If I am perfect, then I deserve to be loved. IF I reach a point that I consider “perfection” in some area of my life (for example, housekeeping or weight or grades in school), then, I deserve to be loved. If, when I reach that point of perfection, I do NOT receive what I perceive as love, then, I think deep inside, my mind cannot reconcile that. It is far too dichotomous.

So, subconsciously, I start to undermine myself. That way, if I have a messy house or gain weight or don’t have perfect grades, I then deserve the lack of perceived love I am receiving. And I think that PERCEIVED is important, here, because, first of all, my idea of what love is may or may not have anything to do with what others’ ideas of love are. Second, we live in a fallen world which is, guess what, not PERFECT. Outside of God, no one in this world can perfectly give me the love I subconsciously think I deserve…when I’m “perfect.”

Why is this important? Well, I think God is inching me toward Finally Loving Yourself (FLYing) so that I can get myself out of the way and Finally Love Others (FLOing?) with HIS love. Interesting, very interesting.

Flylady, Perfectionism and Love

July 19, 2010

Last week, I finished reading The Last Time I Saw You. While it had too many “adult” references in it for my taste (so I can’t really say I’d recommend it), it did prompt me to think (as if I ever need any more prompting to think…). Since I am preparing to attend a high school reunion, I found it interesting reading about characters, shallow and stereotypical though many of them were, who were also attending a high school reunion.

The reunion I’m looking forward to is for the high school I attended my freshman year before we moved. So, most of my memories with the friends I will be seeing were established in late elementary school and middle school. Yes, I remember. I was once a middle school girl. And since I, thankfully, have a very good memory, I remember a lot about being a middle school girl. Eesh. Talk about fertile ground for growing into a perfectionist. I know I had a tendency toward perfectionism before middle school, but my perfectionism was certainly encouraged, nourished, supported during those middle school years.

Isn’t strange how we perfectionists equate being perfect with being loved? I can just clearly re-live those middle school moments of striving to achieve perfectionism so I would be “loved”–by the classmates I’m looking forward to seeing soon. That’s just so strange. But anyone who is a perfectionist, if he or she is honest, knows that is true.

I am really grateful for this year of thinking and writing about Flylady every day. I keep thinking I’ve peeled away every possible layer of perfectionism, gained enough understanding to say that I’m pretty much healed from it. But, then, up pops a class reunion and here I am, peeling, again.

Sewing Project and Perfectionism

April 11, 2010

Yesterday, Eleanor completed a sewing project for which we had bought the materials several weeks ago. Margaret, she and I had bought some pillowcases and ribbon to make some cute dresses to send to Haiti. These were very simple dresses and perfect projects for the girls.

Well, we kind of put off doing them until the day before our deadline. Thanks to Flylady, I’m always suspicious now when I do something like that. So, when I stopped and thought about it for a moment, I realized that, yes, I had been putting off making these because there was a risk of their not being perfect.

I was not about to give up on this project just because there was a risk of the dresses not being perfect, so we got out the new-to-us sewing machine that I got at the auction last fall, complete with manual. Except, we realized, the manual was not for our machine. Okay…so we located the manual online, got the machine threaded and it really sewed quite beautifully. Eleanor got the casing made for the elastic across the front and back and then it was time to make the armhole casings for the shoulder ties. This was definitely more difficult to do than if we had made the casing before we gathered the front with elastic. After a quick phone consultation with Amelia, we dug through the bias tape box, found some perfect wide, double-fold, red bias tape, sewed the decorative ribbon we had originally intended as the ribbon ties onto one side of the bias tape and then sewed the newly decorated bias tape to the armscyes to make the shoulder ties. Whew. Then we repeated the whole process for the second dress.

Are the dresses perfect? No. Are they adorable and wearable? Yes. Would we wear them? Yes! So, off they go to Haiti tomorrow when Alissa adds them to her many, many contributions and mails it all.

Give it up, Perfectionism. We’ve got your number, now.

Flylady and Perfectionism, Again

March 25, 2010

I liked Flylady’s Morning Musing today. I especially like the way she mentioned that:

We get emails wanting us to adapt our messages for Payroll SHEs, FLY Guys, Retired members, Stay At Home Moms, Work at home Moms, Single members, Single parents, people with MS, children . . . . The list could go on forever. Every one is an individual, each person believes that their situation is different and therefore our messages are not geared toward them. I get pretty tough with them, because I see their perfectionism rearing its ugly head.

As usual, Flylady is very perceptive about the root of our SHE tendencies, our excuses, our reluctance to just begin: perfectionism. And I think that perfectionism is like a weed. We’ve identified it. We’ve acknowledged its noxious, pervading influence on our lives. We think we’ve uprooted it. We think it’s gone from our lives. But, then, we find out that it’s sent out a root and, there it is again, rearing its ugly head.

The persistence of perfectionism in its many manifestations is one of the trickiest things to deal with, I believe, in developing my Flylady habits. This blog has been an extremely motivating tool for me in identifying the weedy perfectionism that might otherwise have resulted in my throwing in the Flylady purple rag long ago. I’m glad that Flylady is willing to keep addressing the root issues as well as the practical solutions to our SHE-ness.

Flylady and Relationships

February 26, 2010

Oh, oh, oh! Have you read Flylady’s post on Relationship Procrastination? This was an amazing “God Breeze” for me this morning because we had just, just, just had a wonderfully enthusiastic, Spirit-led discussion at Bible study this morning about forming a “Compassion Committee” at church to nurture relationships in the body of Christ!

We are not going to procrastinate any longer. We have a plan of action — and it might not even be a perfect plan! But, we are just going to go for it and build relationships!

I am excited!