I have what some people might refer to as “perfectionistic tendencies.” I’m a perfectionist at heart, but not on everything. If you were to ask my wife if I’m a perfectionist on some of what she believes is important, she might say, “I don’t think so!” But on things I care about, I am.
You might be a perfectionist too. You might work with one, or you might love one. If so, pay close attention to what I’ve learned.
First, don’t be ashamed you’re a perfectionist. Acknowledge it. Those traits of perfectionism serve you well in many facets of life, especially in your work life. While others are willing to give less than the best, a perfectionist says, “We can do better,” or “It’s not good enough yet.”
If you are a customer, you want those serving you to “get it right,” providing you with the very best.
However, the key is learning how to manage your perfectionistic tendencies.
There are two areas of danger for a perfectionist. They struggle with accepting that sometimes “good” is enough.Yes, it really is. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect, but a perfectionist has a hard time seeing that line.
In fact, most can’t. In life, on a majority of the things that happen every day, you don’t have to be perfect. It’s hard to accept this and “let it go.”
A bigger danger area is how perfectionists see themselves when not achieving whatever they believe would be perfect, or when the results don’t match their expectations. They will see themselves as a failure.
Yes, they really do.
Others don’t see them that way. In fact, others will admire all they accomplish, but inside, to themselves, they say, “I have failed.” That’s a hard burden to carry.
A transition period following a job loss is even more challenging because it’s more difficult to “achieve.” For them, their resumé will be a challenge to create, and they will change it over and over: the words, the style, everything, all based on every comment they receive in order to have the perfect resumé.
Yet there is no perfect resumé, it’s just a tool to describe you and your work experiences.
Further, they will struggle to enjoy the extra time they have, feeling guilty for not “working” at finding a job all the time. They might even obsess about it.
Here’s the most important lesson to learn: Accept that God loves each of us, every day, even when we don’t love ourselves.
You and I were uniquely created by God. He knows everything good about us as well as every way in which we struggle. And yet He loves us—He loves us unconditionally! When you don’t achieve, He loves you. When you’re unemployed, He loves you. We can’t stop him, so why fight it! Accept God’s love.
Along with his love, he also gives us his Grace. Grace is God giving us what we don’t deserve, what we can’t earn. We can’t earn his love or our salvation, no matter how hard we might try.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV
Learn to accept God’s unconditional love—and enjoy it!
I want to learn from you. Do you struggle with perfectionistic tendencies? How do you deal with them? Leave a comment below and add to the conversation.
Dale Kreienkamp is a keynote speaker, Human Resources consultant, and the author of How Long, O Lord, How Long? Devotions for the Unemployed and Those Who Love Them. He has experienced a personal journey of unemployment twice when both positions were eliminated in organizational restructuring. These personal experiences created a desire within him to help others impacted by unemployment through inspirational devotions. Dale is also an active volunteer at his home church and leader in his local community.
This is exactly what I needed today! When I catch myself beating myself up, I will sometimes repeat the following movie quote: Lighten up, Francis! (from the movie Stripes)
We all need to remember that one - Lighten up!