Letter #158

Content Warning: emotional abuse, parental trauma, self-deprecation, criticism


Overcoming Perfectionism

Growing up with a mother who often criticized every action of mine, I eventually became very critical of others and myself—especially myself. For years, I would be critical of behaviors that I did not like: grammar, failure to follow directions, etc. Looking back, I am not fond of these behaviors of mine.


As I grew older, I realized that being critical of others and myself can often be unnecessary and harmful, depending on what is being critiqued and how itis delivered. This perfectionism affected my relationships with people, and I am not proud to say that it is one reason behind a failed romantic relationship. However, the end of this relationship changed me for the better. I recognized my harmful behaviors, my low self-esteem, why I overlooked a plethora of disrespectful behaviors of his, and how perfectionism can negatively affect relationships. However, I also encouraged myself to embrace self-love, embrace myself—both positive and negative sides—and I realized that I want to change my behaviors.


I think people tend to believe self-love is primarily positive, which people may find cliché, but I find that self-love is also about confronting the shadows of oneself. When overcoming my perfectionist behaviors, I realized that fully rejecting this version of myself who was highly critical may be more detrimental than beneficial. Once I realized that this version of myself may have been harmful, I confronted this version of myself and was able to realize where my behaviors have been harmful, but also where they have been beneficial.


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