Monday, October 03, 2005

Perfectionism...

"Excessive striving to be perfect will invariably lead to disillusionment, heartache, and self-hatred"...Albert Ellis

Perfectionism fits the personality profile of women struggling with eating disorders, in most cases, and is already present prior to developing the eating disorder. It is complex -- tied to a strong need for approval from others to feel good about oneself. Now, we all know that is a rollercoaster ride, right? Being dependent on our performance, appearance, accolades from others, etc. sets us up to never feel secure in ourselves just for being our wonderful unique selves! What do you think about this? How have you struggled with expecting perfection from yourself?
How has it hindered you? How do you combat perfectionistic thinking with more reasonable expectations of yourself?

13 comments:

Jamie said...

Well of course I don't have to expect myself to be perfect, because I already am! -KIDDING!

Haha, but really, perfectionism is booooring! Flaws shape who and what we are. "Adversity introduces us to ourselves."
...Hah but yes, I do have high expectations for myself. I don't want to end up being a low-life, good for nothing, failure. I must work work work during these early years in my life so that the rest of my life will be easier. People's lives depend on a good sturdy foundation -well, for that matter, everything depends on a solid foundation. So I must strive for prestige so that I can build a solid foundation for the rest of my life. This for me (obviously) means that I must devote the majority of my energy towards ballet so that I will succeed in pursuing it as my career after I graduate high school. Yes, this puts a lot of stress and pressure on myself, but I feel obliged to do so... Whether I like it or not, I must devote myself to ballet. This is a sacrifice that I willingly made because I enjoy dancing so much.
I try to not compare myself with anyone other than myself. That way I am always striving to be better than myself. (Yeah, but I still compare myself to others, and I am VERY self-critical.)
I don't want to make myself miserable by my over-achievements, but I will do my best to dedicate myself towards my training in ballet. Dancing gives me a purpose to live for. I get too depressed if I have nothing to keep me focused and busy. I have to have goals to work towards so that my life has meaning to it.
I do have high expectations for myself. I believe that I must be anything but ordinary.

QUOTES:

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
-Aristotle

"Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance."
- Samuel Johnson

Jamie said...

I was sent this through an email and I though that it was interesting. What do you all think?:

"I AM YOUR DISEASE

I hate meetings. I hate your Higher Power. I hate anyone who has a
Program.

To all that come in contact with me, I wish you suffering and death.

Allow me to introduce myself. I am the disease of addiction
Alcoholism, drugs and eating disorders. I am cunning, baffling and
powerful. That's me! I've killed millions and enjoyed doing it. I
love to catch you by surprise. I love pretending I'm your friend and
lover. I've given you comforted. Wasn't I there when you were
lonely? When you wanted to die, didn't you call on me?

I love to make you hurt. I love to make you cry. Better yet, I love
it when I make you so numb you can't hurt and you can't cry. You
feel nothing at all.

I give you instant gratification. All I ask in return is long-term
suffering. I've always been there for you. When things were going
right, you invited me back. You said you didn't deserve to be happy.
I agreed with you. Together we were able to destroy you life.

People don't take me seriously. They take strokes seriously. They
take heart attaches seriously. Even diabetes, they take seriously.
Yet, without my help, these things wouldn't be possible.

I'm such a hated disease, yet I don't come uninvited. You choose to
have me. Many have chosen me instead of love and peace.

I hate all of you who have a 12-step Program. Your Program, your
meetings and your Higher Power weaken me. I can't function in the
manner I'm accustomed to.

I'm your disease. For now, I must lie here quietly. You don't see
me, but I'm growing more powerful every day. When you settle for
mere existence, I thrive. When you feel fully alive, I weaken. But
I'm always here waiting for you. Until we meet again, I wish you
continued suffering and death."

Anonymous said...

Jamie,
Both of your contributions are quite powerful. I can see myself and ED especially in the second message. ED's so much in my head that I cannot cry and cannot laugh. I just don't feel anything any more.

Jeanette said...

Hey guys.....sorry I have not been around much. I am back officially. Today was my first day back at work and back into life. I am not totally better but I need to get back to work. My work is being understanding and working with my appointments. I am really looking forward to getting out of bed and back into life. I miss it actually. Sorry I missed group last night. I got out of the hospital yesterday and was just way too tired to stay in Fort Worth now that I don't live there.

Look forward to blogging with you guys.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys! It's Megan. I miss you all SO much! I'm glad to see you guys blogging away. Jeanette, I'm so glad you're doing better, keep up the good work sweetie! So I know this blog is on perfectionism but I'm going to talk about myself! I'm in Austin as you know and things are going well. I haven't been able to really find an ED Support group here yet, but I'm going to my meetings and that's going well. The move and the adjustment definitely took a toll, and my eating went up and down, but I feel better and back on track. I really miss you all, it's so important to have a group of women who really understand you, and we are all so lucky to be or have been a part of such a GOOD group.
As for perfectionism, I can get really manic about it like the rest of us. IT's so important for me to remember that God made all of us, the way we are and that's really the way it's supposed to be. And in His/Her/It's eyes, that's perfect. I love getting really obsessive about school, work, being the perfect friend, girlfriend, student, nanny, etc........ But it's just not real. It's not a real thing. Perfection doesn't exist. But we exist, and we are real. I love you all dearly!

Stay in touch!

In case you don't have my card:
Megan
megmorrow@Hotmail.com
512.689.1554

Jamie said...

Hey!
I just wanted to say that it is great to hear from both Megan and Jeanette! -I've been wondering how you two have been! I know that the group really misses you two wonderful ladies and we all hope that things are going well. Please keep blogging because I'd love to hear how things are going!
Take care!!!
*~Jamie~*

Jeanette said...

hey guys!!!! Megan I got your call the other day but I was in the hospital and not really suppose to be using my cell phone. I will try and call you this weekend. Jamie...how is it going. Are you not able to go to group on Mondays??? That seems to be the day I am out of the hospital and can go to group....(sigh)

Okay so this weekend is already shaping up to be crazy. I have to finish moving all my stuff up to Denton since I got kicked out of my apartment. I could have really tried to fight to stay there but I am at peace with moving. I just hate moving though....you can never find anything. And being that I am such a perfectionist (see I am adding in the blog message!!!) everything has its proper place and it should be kept in that place!!!!

I love you guys and miss you so much. Keep blogging...it makes work easier!

Jeanette said...

so....music speaks to me and as I was thinking about the whole perfectionist topic a song came to mind that I have been listening to lately. It is "Perfect" by Alanis Morssitte.

Here are the lyrics....enjoy!

Sometimes is never quite enough
If you're flawless, then you'll win my love
Don't forget to win first place
Don't forget to keep that smile on your face

Be a good boy
Try a little harder
You've got to measure up
And make me prouder

How long before you screw it up
How many times do I have to tell you to hurry up
With everything I do for you
The least you can do is keep quiet

Be a good girl
You've gotta try a little harder
That simply wasn't good enough
To make us proud

I'll live through you
I'll make you what I never was
If you're the best, then maybe so am I
Compared to him compared to her
I'm doing this for your own damn good
You'll make up for what I blew
What's the problem...why are you crying

Be a good boy
Push a little farther now
That wasn't fast enough
To make us happy
We'll love you just the way you are if you're perfect

Anonymous said...

Jeanette those lyrics are great! We miss you in group and hope to see you soon.
Jamie, your postings have been great. You are strong and amazing. I hope one day you will be able to see the amazing, beautiful, and talented girl you are!

I am a perfectionist in many ways, also slightly neurotic. I strive to be perfect in school, in appearance, in sports, in life! It is tiring and conumes my thoughts and energy. Each time someone tells me to be thankful for what God has given me, I remember we are not here to be perfect...that is not our purpose. If we were all perfect, then why did Jesus come and die for us? I wish I believed it in my heart and mind though. As much as I believe we are not suppose to be perfect, I can't seem to break the cycle of striving for perfection and not succeeding, hating myself for it, and then trying again...to fail one more time. I see other people who "seem" so perfect: their grades come easily to them, they are beautiful, happy, love Jesus, etc. I envy them, though I know I should not. I wish I did not want to have a perfect figure, I know in my heart that wont make me happy...but still, I keep trying and trying...falling down over and over again.

I hope you all can one day believe that you are beautiful in every way! Perfectionism will not make us happy, it never will! We can never be perfect.

Anonymous said...

p.s. I just posted the comment above
-Celia

Anonymous said...

Hello Everyone!
Sorry I haven't posted sooner. I've been in treatment one month now, but things are going well. It's certainly not fun or easy by any means, but I'm glad I'm here. I am ready to move on with my life without an eating disorder; it's just not worth it.
I think about you all often and I hope everyone's doing alright. I can't wait to get back to Texas and to group to see you all
Stay strong

jessie

Jeanette said...

Celia I can sooooooooooo relate to your post....especially about the part of Jesus and his expectations of us. I always think how can he love me because I am soooooo messed up and can not get everything together. I try so hard and always seem to fail. I wish everything was as easy as school is for me. I do not usually struggle at all with school but when it comes to life stuff I struggle so much. I can make any decision without any problems when it comes to my school, but in real life I seems so hard to make a decision because what if I make the wrong one....and I fail. I also want to be everything for everybody. I have learned with being sick that I can not be everything for everybody because then there is nothing left for me. So I am trying to establish healthy boundaries and realize that people won't hate me for having set some limitations. All that to say....this is a work in progress and I am nowhere near perfect at it!

Also...is it hard for anyone else to blog without spell check. I am so afraid my postings will not be grammatically correct or will have spelling errors. I just thought it went well with the topic so I would point out my fustrations.

Hope to see you all tonight at group.

Jesse....keep up the good work...It is so hard but it is worth it and you are worth it.

Jeanette

Jamie said...

Jeanette, those are such great lyrics! -O, and by the way, I always have to copy and paste my postings onto Microsoft Word so that I can make sure that I didn't make any idiotic mistakes that would make me seem ignorant. Haha, I'm kind of self-conscious about making myself appear to be intellectually well-off... but if I were really truly educated, then why would I let something so simple as food destroy my life? Why wouldn't I find the strength to salvage what is left of my life and turn it into something worthwhile? Why would I waste so many days, months, …years? Why wouldn't I just live life to the fullest? If indeed I were actually intelligent, why would I let myself waste my life away? I know I could truly offer so much more to the world if I just got myself together, but nope, I just slack off in almost everything I do. I should try to be so much more perfect, but I just let myself get by with the bare minimum (I could make straight-A's SO easily), and I know that I will regret making all of these mistakes for the rest of my life. I should try harder...
Why don't I???

Anyways!
Celia, I really relate to your post. I feel like I'm just shooting myself in the foot. I seem to be in a rut and I can't find a way out...
Just so you know, you really are a wonderful person with many great accomplishments. I look up to you because I see how you’ve done so much good with your life. You deserve to be happy and content with your achievements. I hope that one day you'll see that you don't have to strive to be more than you are, BECAUSE YOU ARE PERFECT JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. Neither you nor any of us deserve to be stricken with such a distraught disease. We would all be SO MUCH HAPPIER if we would stop trying to be something we are not. We shouldn't strive to be anything but our true selves because we have so much to offer this world. We waste too much time and energy trying to perfect our bodies to death, when we should direct that energy towards much more realistic and beneficial goals. I just hope that you all one day see that you are worth so much more than this disease. You all are such precious people. I'm sorry that you can't see how beautiful you all are already. It is very saddening to me to see you all suffer...I wish that I could take away all of your miseries and make everybody feel true happiness and joy. You all deserve SO MUCH BETTER!
Jesse, it is great to hear that you are doing better! I'm so glad that you see that you're worth more than this disease! Keep up the wonderful work!
I will miss everyone this Wednesday -I'm going to a performing and visual arts college fair at SMU. Some great places (such as Julliard) are going to be there!!! So I'm excited about that. YAY!!!
Take care everyone, and sorry for the long post! -I'm just kind of upset with me for allowing myself to get continuously worse. I don’t understand why I'm torturing myself this way. Do I really want to get better? –Apparently not…otherwise I’d actually be trying to get better. Maybe I'm just scared... or maybe I still find comfort in this disease and I’ve gotten in the habit of nurturing myself through starvation… It’s been such a major part of my life that I’m scared to abandon it because it’s become so familiar and comfortable. It’s a part of my everyday routine. It really is a way for me to cope with all of the continuous chaos on my life.
Ok, I’m going to shut up now!
Take care everyone!!!
*~Jamie~*