Today’s daily devotional reminded me of an old problem I have had for a long time.
I remember reading something in Guideposts magazine long ago that perfectionism is the cause of a lot of procrastination. You put things off because you can’t do them perfectly. So these things never get done.
I was offended. Hrumph! That’s not why I couldn’t get things marked off my “to-do” list. I just didn’t have the time to finish everything I wanted to do.
But over time, this seed of an idea grew. I mulled it over often – I guess something struck a chord with me. When I honestly considered this and thought it through, it was exactly the truth. True for me, anyway. It wasn’t that I couldn’t finish things. It was that I didn’t START them. And I didn’t start them because I felt I wasn’t ready/committed/visionary/dedicated enough to do them perfectly.
So things that I honestly wanted to do – ideas, projects, contacts, meals, even trips – piled up on my list of things to do – undone. And sometimes the materials for these things piled up as well. That still happens with some things, but I have tried to improve.
The devotional points out, “Have you ever noticed that perfection is everywhere? With every click of the mouse. With every glance at social media. With every turn of a magazine page. Everywhere you look, there it is.”
Isn’t that the truth! The perfectionist tendency I had in days gone by was not a common trait among people I knew. It was more of a quirk that I had learned to live with. Others didn’t seem to have that “problem.” But now you can’t get away from the thought that everything everyone else does appears perfect. So social media would have you believe. That leads to discouragement and self-doubt, not just procrastination.
Again, the devotional says, “Perfection is overrated. It’s a joy stealer, an illusion. Sometimes we get so busy focusing on the flaws that we miss the incredible creation that is already there.”
Amen. Even the perfectionist in me couldn’t have said it better myself.