Monday, September 17, 2012

The Perfectionist Trap - Part 4


We've talked about perfectionism, what it is, and how it traps us. If you missed it, read Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3

But what do we do once we recognize that we are responding to life from the trap of perfectionism? How do we learn to create more realistic goals?

Sometimes I have actually written down everything I wish I could accomplish. Then with bold strokes I mark out all but two or three tasks, giving myself permission to put off some jobs until another day. Somehow the process of writing out the jobs helps my whirling mind know that I haven't forgotten those tasks; I have just chosen to do the job another day. Will my children mind if I put off dusting for a day, or if the cookie jar is empty, if I stop to snuggle on the couch and read them a story?

My husband helps me tremendously in setting proper priorities. I'm learning to say “Sure!” when he asks if we can invite someone over instead of saying “But the house isn't clean, I haven't dusted in weeks, and I don't have any food!” Much to my surprise, I have found that we can eat popcorn in a dusty house and still enjoy good fellowship.

I'll probably always enjoy setting a table with freshly starched napkins and pretty china. It is a pleasure to prepare a meal with special niceties to show a friend how much she means to me. But when the choice comes between the bondage of my perfectionism and joy of serving others, I hope I never hesitate in my decision.

Now I want to hear from you! How have you combated perfectionism?

9 comments :

  1. I love the idea of how you do your list. What a great idea on how to prioritize.

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  2. I still fight with perfectionism. But - early in my career as a homemaker, I discovered FlyLady. One thing she said that sticks with me is "Housework incorrectly done still blesses my family." That simple statement helps me when I realize the bathroom needs to be cleaned and I don't have time to do a thorough job of it.
    It's okay for me to just swipe and swish - I can do the floor and tub another day.

    I've also had to train myself to not make my homeschool lessons plans a "god". Just because I "plan" it doesn't mean it will happen - or should happen! I still struggle with that by times.

    Coping mechanisms - making lists, telling myself "it's okay" and "we won't die if I don't sweeper this week" and having friends who give me permission to quit reading a book because it boooooorrrrring help quite a bit!

    Good series, Gina!

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    1. Karen -
      Funny, after I gave you "permission" to stop reading a boring book, I realized how hard it is for me to stop reading a book that I've started! I'm still learning!
      Gina

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  3. We have a saying at our house..."perfect is only in heaven".
    Alot of times perfectionists tend to be detail oriented people. God made detailed people to honor Him and minister to the body of Christ. But if our attention to detail is causing us to be irritable or stressing others out;then we have crossed over into perfectionism which is not honoring God. So in our house, we like the detailed people to do their thing as long as it ministers to others and honors God. If they become hard to live with, or their standards become too perfectionistic which causes stress or strife in the home... then we remind them...Perfect is only in heaven... They usually take it back a knotch and our home is peaceful again... After all only God is perfect..

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    1. "Perfect is only in heaven" - Thanks for sharing! I need to remember that!
      Gina

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  4. One of the things I've had to teach myself is that not everything has to be made from scratch for each meal and that each meal doesn't have to be complicated.

    I'm not a big fan of purchased convenience foods, but sometimes it is okay to pick up a side dish if it means I will have time and energy (energy being a big one) to enjoy visiting with guests.

    On the complicated front -- I've learned to fall back on some tried and true things....and use the crockpot whenever I can.
    A simple beef roast, a pot of vegetable soup (with fresh breads), a pot of chili (with chips, etc), a lasagna, or things like that seem to go over well and leave me plenty of time to focus on just having a good time.

    We still do big meals from time to time, but I've also learned to let others bring dishes if they volunteer -- that was a hard one for me. My perfectionist tendencies made me say I could do it all and then I'd find myself resenting the work....and that is no way to show love to people.

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    1. You sound just like me! I never want to allow someone to bring food to my house, but I always appreciate when others allow me to help with food. Why can't I relinquish my desire to do everything!
      Gina

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  5. It is a timely word, for compition and performance is of the flashing sign of our times. Pride is always lurking, but if I will but stop and just be silent I can hear "Be Still and know I am God". Busy is as busy does. I want to take care of the husband God has given me. So I don't always have time to put evrything in perfect order. My home is not perfect, but we can feel His Presence and the love of His heart. Perfection has to GO! Blessings Roxy love your pictures:)

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  6. such a great series Gina. I was encouraged. thank you. i have a lot of work to do yet in this area!!! blessings on you and your family!

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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