Perfectionism Doesn’t Bring Results

Dear FlyLady,

Today I had a taste of my own perfectionism and how bitter its taste is!

I teach English to nonnative speakers online. One of them is a dear friend of nearly 40 years living in Europe. She wrote a sweet paragraph on her own, to me, in an email. It wasn’t perfect but she did it! She went “above and beyond” of what her assignment was.

What did I do with it? I dissected it into sentences and corrected it, as the “all-knowing” perfectionist. And send it with my comments that I THOUGHT were helpful. Wrong!

She replied and her response opened my eyes to my perfectionism. Instead of letting it be, I unwillingly corrected her in, now I think, a callous manner. Where do they say “your best thinking brought you here”?

I wanted to acknowledge your part in recognizing my perfectionism.

In my next email to my friend I apologized for my perfectionism and hope we will continue our online lessons.

I “sold” her a “car” and need to let go of the  want to direct her and how she should be “driving it”. That is, let her use English the best she can. After all, I also had to learn it and thanks to caring teachers, not perfectionists, got a good command of it.

Perfectionism, by the way, was present in so many walks of my life. No wonder I felt hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. Thank you for pointing out time and again that perfectionism doesn’t bring the results we want.

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