Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Perfect Problem: Complaining

When perfectionism plagues you, you most certainly have a strong opinion on most everything.  As a perfectionist you are looking for everything to be just the way you want it (perfect) and can tell in a heart beat when it's not.  In my experience (with myself) that results in complaining.

Sometimes perfectionist conjures up the image of a neat freak adjusting every picture frame.  And, sure, that person is quite possibly a perfectionist, but that's not the only form perfectionism comes in.  The guy who is desperate for a girlfriend, but finds something wrong with every girl he meets.  The friend who has to tell you constantly what's wrong with what you just said.  The person who requires perfection, but gets so overwhelmed at the thought of what it would take achieve such that they don't try at all.  I affectionately call that the 'discouraged perfectionist'.

My point is that it takes all kinds.  And one clear sign that perfectionism is taking up too much room in your life is the amount of time you spend complaining.  From the first bite of breakfast you take to the temperature of the room before bed to expecting the world to ask you for your opinion because you have the answers.  How many times do you complain about something in one day?  Another way to think about is this: How often are you satisfied and (at bare minimum) express contentment to those around you? The trouble with being a perfectionist is that you will never be really happy for more than a moment, if that.  That's pretty miserable to live with.

Mr. Butler and I have pretty high standards for ourselves and in my opinion there is nothing wrong with that.  The trick with me is making sure that those standards are reachable eventually AND that I don't make it a habit of griping about others who don't share or meet those standards.  It's really easy for me to demand things out of others as if they shared my views, my goals and my expectations and then complain about them when they don't.  But my first and primary job is to hold myself accountable and give mercy like it's going out of style!

Instead of complaining today, shift your focus onto something you can be thankful for.

Instead of expressing disappointment at imperfection today, choose to be content in it.

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