Perfection takes time… no … wait. Perfection isn’t real, it only exists as a concept, something to strive for, as a means of improving oneself. Those people who are never satisfied, always looking to improve things, we call them perfectionists. But I think that’s a misnomer. A real perfectionist is a person so hung up on doing things perfectly each and every time, that he ends up not doing anything at all – because all his mind can see is imperfection. He hesitates in doing most everything until he believes he can do it perfectly. (Of course you know, I”m actually talking about myself here). Another way that my family, my parents – even my brother, older by 3 years, instilled such negative thinking into my brain, is that, no matter what I did, regardless of how I did, they would not comment until the found some imperfection in it and would harp on it. My mother was the worst at it, or should I say “best” at it. But my father followed suit, and eventually, the rest of the extended family fell in line, thinking that this was just the way I needed to be treated. (This is the main reason why I love the Cincinnati side of my family so much, they never saw this, never became a part of it, and, whenever I was able to visit with them, they treated me like a human being, like an equal.)
It started about the time I began school. They immediately started comparing me to my brother. And although I don’t recall them ever saying, “why can’t you be more like your brother,” it was an underlying theme for them.
This treatment, this harping on the parts of things I didn’t do well, and in the same vein, ignoring any real accomplishments I made, they instilled a fear in me. A fear that, if I did not achieve perfection, then I would suffer all their negativity again. And I was smart enough to know that perfection wasn’t in me, so I eventually got to a point where I just stopped trying to do things. It was a means of survival for me, a method of avoiding the pain of their inevitable condemnation, of the things i did, of me.
Instead of building me up, they constantly tore me down. They treated me as worthless, and for this I believed myself worthless. To a large extent, I still do.