Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thoughts on perfectionism

I've been mentally beating myself up since Saturday afternoon about my mid-term grade.  Logically, I know that I can't be expected to ace my tests- there is a ton of material in this class, and I am doing the class while working and taking care of the kids. I know that.  And I'm mostly proud of myself.  Or at least the logical part of me is.

Then there's the other part of me.  I'm a little confused regarding grades.  When I was growing up, the perspective on grades in my house was "why didn't you get an A?" As an adult, I know that what was really being said was "did you try your best?", but that's not how it came across.  I do tend toward laziness and doing things "well enough", so I probably needed that motivation.  And I did pretty well in school. My (younger) brother was super motivated on his own and that plus the motivation in our home resulted in him graduating from high school with a perfect GPA and a perfect score on the SAT. But it never really bothered me. By that point I had realized that if I could get decent grades with very little effort, why bother?

And that's been how I've operated in life.  I am a perfectionist in that I want to do things well, so I actively avoid things that might be challenging.   When I find something that I do well, especially if it's something that comes easily to me, I stick with it and excel at it.

But I'm having trouble for some reason with this.  I think that I feel a little torn- that the grade I made on my midterm could also be applied to my parenting skills lately. Says the voice in my head:  Am I doing my absolute best? Am I trying my hardest? 

I want to do well in grad school because I love it and I want to do well with the kids because I love them and I love the travel site too. I LOVE all these challenges and am the happiest I've been in ages, but that little part of my brain still wants me to be perfect at all of it and I need to accept that I'm going to mess up on all fronts.  I've just never been in a situation before where I feel like I'm trying my hardest and NOT excelling.

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