This afternoon, I’m going to meet with a friend about doing some projects for her church. When she told me about it, I was excited. Then the longer I thought about it, the more nervous I got, and now I’ve convinced myself I’m not good enough to do it. I’ve gone from fully confident to totally discouraged in the span of a week…and I don’t even know what the projects entail yet.
Welcome to the world of a people-pleasing perfectionist. This thought process is pretty much the status quo for me. I am presented with an opportunity I’m excited about, I have too long to think about it, and I convince myself that I won’t be able to do it perfectly so, more often than not, I just don’t do it at all.
I can’t begin to count how many opportunities I’ve let slip through my fingers because I was afraid to try, afraid there’d be some imperfection or flaw that would expose me as a failure. I wanted to be a scientist, but I was afraid I’d fail my labs. I wanted to be a broadcast journalist, but I was afraid no one would find me funny enough to put me on the radio. I wanted to write a children’s book, actually did write it, but I was afraid I couldn’t illustrate it to my standards, so it still sits in my drawer gathering dust. I want to homeschool my kids, but I’m afraid I’ll fail and then they’ll suffer for it, too. And let’s not even talk about how many cake orders I have turned down because I was afraid I couldn’t do it perfectly.
I hate it. I hate feeling this way. I hate being so keenly aware of it and not being able to change my way of thinking. I don’t have a magical fix that will just make me okay with imperfect work. I don’t have the switch to turn on my confidence. It’s like a prison that keeps me from creating and enjoying what abilities I do have. I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to get over it, is to fail at something and prove to myself that I can survive it. At the very least, do something imperfectly and not be afraid to show it to the world.
This blog was a major first step for me. Writing something personal and putting it out there for everyone to judge is terrifying for me. Every single time I hit “publish” I am overwhelmed with anxiety and self doubt. But I’m doing it, and, so far, it hasn’t killed me. Maybe today I’ll take another step toward freedom and jump in head first to this new opportunity. I may be terrified, but I’m not going to let it stop me…at least not this time.