There are a number of things about myself that I don’t quite understand. Perhaps chief amongst these right now is perfectionism—being unsatisfied with anything but perfection, especially when it comes to the things I try to accomplish. Truth be told, my own tendency towards perfectionism been getting me down lately. It manifests itself as a sort of negative, intolerant attitude that minimizes the things I do. I suppose that may also describe “low self-esteem”, to refer to the pop psychological concept that seems to plague all or most of Western society.
I’ve been told by many different people, Baha’is and otherwise, that I’m too hard on myself, that I beat myself up about things rather than being kind, gentle and firm with myself, accepting gradual improvement rather than immediate perfection. I’m still having trouble understanding the whole issue. Part of me wants to be gentler with myself, but another part wants to challenge myself to improve. I tend to be a bit rough while “challenging” myself, I suppose—throwing myself into uncomfortable situations and trying to force myself to use my intuition to adapt to the circumstances. Sometimes it works, but often I end up freaking out and messing up, or at least things don’t go the way I wanted them to go—which is that I would learn how to do something that previously made me very uncomfortable and all would be well and good. In fact, this has happened before, but more often than not, the feeling of accomplishment would be overwhelmed by thoughts like: “It was a fluke”, “Look how exhausted you are, you’ll never be able to do it more than once”. And the dark feelings of anxiety and despair come back.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this really, but this is a burning issue in my life that I expect that I’ll revisit sometime soon, so I wanted to post this and leave it open for comments from all of you.