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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
That is, how do you?

A Duke Gifted Letter article says, "Perfectionists, says Greenspon, constantly struggle to achieve goals, make high grades, or produce other excellent results to prove themselves to their parents or others. They feel no joy in working hard or meeting challenges. Instead, they have the mistaken notion that hard work and success will make others love, respect, or value them as people." I think he means the neurotic sort, since I tend to think perfectionism itself is just an aspect of temperament ... again that it's not what you have but what you do with it that counts.

What is the way of keeping it healthy? Because I don't know how to feel less driven or less ambition, but if there is a way to enjoy challenge and excellence for its own sake and not worry if things don't come out right, then that is where I want to be. As it is, when the quote above reads "they have the mistaken notion that hard work and success will make others love, respect, or value them as people", I half want to ask ... "it won't?" Well, of course it won't, because that's ridiculous, but just my saying that sounds far more hollow than I would ever want it to.

I guess I have some answers, although I would like to hear if and how others work through this. I guess I want just to feel I'm not alone with it is all. I would want to hear your story. The best I can do is, even though it looks grim and like my past is dominated by this and that I really am quite poor at seeing to my emotional needs, to relax a little and say, "it is not so convincing. I can and do trust in others all the time. Do not frighten yourself so. Even though I do not know what is best, a guess is good enough, because if you do not know, there is nothing else to be done, and surely no other way to learn. It is not a shame, but have faith in yourself. You are given time so you may use it after all. Take your time. Be patient." Or as Rilke says, "I beg you... to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language."

Anyway, thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I really only wanted to thank the INFP group. It's what I should have said. "Sheesh! For something so simple," right? Even though I might only have read a few of any one of your posts, and can't be said to really know anyone, you're probably important to me anyway. I don't mean to be so emotional. Even though I want to be the kind of person who feels so secure they cling to no one and always give people the space they deserve, I'm still always so emotional, and I've never learned how really to manage that. Because of it, it is hard to not feel bad about myself. It is ironic though, because I only wanted ever to be really emotional so I could feel everything in life, and experience its richness without numbness, so when I saw it it would not be lost on me. I'm glad to have at least in part gotten what I wanted, although I didn't anticipate how many things there were that I did not want to feel. In reality then, I am still numb to many things, and have much to learn.

When I posted, I only wanted to express my gratitude. If you say, "you should not be grateful; I have done nothing," then you don't understood that I am happy enough to have been welcomed among you. "Relax," maybe you would say, "it's just not a big deal." But it is to me, so I've been selfish in taking your time.

I'll work carefully to not try to be perfect for you because I'm not good enough, because that would be counter-productive, but I will try to be the best I can for you because it still brings me happiness to do that. "I am just fine as I am," I will say, so that when I feel I need to express something like this, I will, whether it is ultimately right or wrong, because it is true that all I can really do is guess at what is best, and say of my heart, "it is not really that bad of a thing. It is surely in the right place, so however distorted the message, what I mean to say will still carry through." And I am okay with that much. :)

*hugs for INFPs* ^^
 

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Aww, I don't think your post was a waste of time. ISFJs have gotta be my one of if not my favourite type.

I don't claim to know what perfectionism is to the ISFJ but from my experience perfectionism is bound to the many forms of idealism I experience. I see myself for how I could be: a pacifist monk following some fictional religion, travelling across the world as a nomad, a dream of shooting off into space, a dream of being some master kung fu butt kicker (one of my personal favourites) amongst others. I also see myself writing a best selling book, ushering in an era of peace, chaging the world etc. I see who I am now as a caricature of my ideal selves, a flawed pit stop if you will before I come to become the person I see in my ideals. However, the caricature remains, the car has broken down at the gas station in the middle of the desert and there is nothing for miles around. I'm not going anywhere and my "true, perfect self" is nowhere in sight. For me perfectionism is not just the belief I can be the best I can be but the regret that I either haven't tried or haven't been able to become more than the person I am at the moment. I don't value nor love that person much at all, only the people I could become. I'm wary of this with other people though, I seek to love them for themselves and not for ignorant ideal forms of them conjured by my mind.

I haven't been able to defeat perfectionism, sometimes I wonder whether the sole reason I continue to live and continue to hope is in the belief that I will eventually achieve it and become who I want to be. But the only conceivable way I can think of other than taking pills is to try and see the beauty of what it is, to see a beauty in what we have achieved and became and not only in what we want things to be. To see that even grey is a colour as well I suppose. I don't think the solution is to stop the ambition, to stop the desire to do well as thats probably what makes ourselves ourselves. I guess its good to desire perfectionism but whilst seeing and appreciating how far you came already and who you are already is a healthy form of perfectionism which should be encouraged and not condemned.
 

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I don't know how exactly you expect me or any of us to respond, but I do appreciate the honesty displayed in your posts.

I would like to say that I really relate to you, but in a very different way, I think. I am such a perfectionist. I don't even think I do it to impress other people. I'm still just trying to impress myself. I don't know if I'll ever be entirely satisfied with anything I've done; whatever I do, I know I could've done it better in some way. That's quite frustrating, because it just never ends. I don't know how to advise you to cope with it because I haven't entirely coped with it myself.

Personally, I always degrade what I do by telling myself "anyone" could do it. That's my worst problem, because I keep thinking I've got to prove to myself that I can do something the best. But that's not what's important. The application of talent (and the fact that you've made an honest effort) is what's important, not the simple fact that you're born with it or taught it. I try to remind myself of that from time to time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't claim to know what perfectionism is to the ISFJ but from my experience perfectionism is bound to the many forms of idealism I experience. I see myself for how I could be: a pacifist monk following some fictional religion, travelling across the world as a nomad, a dream of shooting off into space, a dream of being some master kung fu butt kicker (one of my personal favourites) amongst others. I also see myself writing a best selling book, ushering in an era of peace, chaging the world etc. I see who I am now as a caricature of my ideal selves, a flawed pit stop if you will before I come to become the person I see in my ideals. However, the caricature remains, the car has broken down at the gas station in the middle of the desert and there is nothing for miles around. I'm not going anywhere and my "true, perfect self" is nowhere in sight. For me perfectionism is not just the belief I can be the best I can be but the regret that I either haven't tried or haven't been able to become more than the person I am at the moment. I don't value nor love that person much at all, only the people I could become. I'm wary of this with other people though, I seek to love them for themselves and not for ignorant ideal forms of them conjured by my mind.

I haven't been able to defeat perfectionism, sometimes I wonder whether the sole reason I continue to live and continue to hope is in the belief that I will eventually achieve it and become who I want to be. But the only conceivable way I can think of other than taking pills is to try and see the beauty of what it is, to see a beauty in what we have achieved and became and not only in what we want things to be. To see that even grey is a colour as well I suppose. I don't think the solution is to stop the ambition, to stop the desire to do well as thats probably what makes ourselves ourselves. I guess its good to desire perfectionism but whilst seeing and appreciating how far you came already and who you are already is a healthy form of perfectionism which should be encouraged and not condemned.
Totally.

I just start linking my sense of value and self-respect as an individual to ... well, to me, to what people think of me. (What a horrible thought!) And I think I can improve their opinion if I'm good enough. Of course, it's not what others think of me at all but I have projected this onto them. It's just me. I can't scream loud enough to get attention but only want myself to be quiet, so I really bring it upon myself. As though being quiet was to be of value. How I cherish that I ask little of others ... like that ever brings me real happiness.

I don't know how exactly you expect me or any of us to respond
Someone's voice is sufficient, really. It means I'm not hated for it. :)

Even without that it's okay ... I'd still have improved insight. I'm not above consolation prizes, but it is nice no matter how you relate. :)

Personally, I always degrade what I do by telling myself "anyone" could do it. That's my worst problem, because I keep thinking I've got to prove to myself that I can do something the best. But that's not what's important.
Good point. I tell myself this too ... I hadn't thought of it as parasitic until just now.
 

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I feel like my perfectionism is more for inner purposes that I can't explain where it seems like your much more aware of it in a more grounded sense. I don't care much about how other people see me so much as how I want to see myself in the group, not how I would like the group to see me. I feel like everything I do never really, and fully, expresses "I", or myself to a point I'm satisfied and can look back and say, I like how that ended up entirely. I always must doubt whether or not action A was sufficient enough for experience A, knowing that I could of did action B and got to experience B, and then maybe experience B would chain into experience C, with each next experience bringing me closer to a meaning for myself in which I can feel action B would of been a better decision. I will never even bother to attempt something if I know I can't be near to or the best at it. I won't bother with something if that something doesn't mean something more to me than the bragging rights of saying I've done this and you haven't. Everything I do has to represent me somehow, because I just don't know how to be a me in a world filled with I's. And if something represents me, then of course why would I want it any less than perfect? Or as perfect as my values can stretch it?
 

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In many ways, I feel I am a failed perfectionist. It is very depressing. I have lofty goals, high expectations for myself - unachievable expectations, even - and I am very hard on myself when I fall short. I don't really mind others' thoughts of me, except that I want more than anything to be loved. A big part of me says if love is not unconditional, then it isn't really love. But I was raised in a home where love had to be earned, and I was never good enough. I don't know if my upbringing has anything to do with my perfectionism. I don't care about the same accomplishments others do.
 

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My perfectionism is kind of selective. But it's the reason I've kinda drifted away from graphic design. I need to practice to get better. but if something is not absolutely perfect it just makes me think it looks silly. I'll just sit there and get a headache because I don't know what needs to be done to it. Or what I should change. I think if I did it for a living I'd get very stressed.
 

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Perfectionism is one of the last words to describe me. I've always had a laissez-faire attitude to life.

It's a world created by ESTJs for ESTJs and people varying by one or two letters after all, there's not much difference in your life's quality whether you just drink booze and play video games all day and keep "all things you" inside or try to do "something that is you". Unless it's something really acute. I only do something when I get totally bored at doing nothing. At least that's how it is for me. My parents are ESTJ and ISTJ so I gave up trying to please them with any accomplishment a long time ago. All that matters to them is that I don't have a job. Perhaps that's the source of lacking perfectionism. In the same vein, I have no difficulty in demanding immediate attentiong to the things I'm confident I know or can do well.

I don't understand why I should need to have a feeling that I've accomplished something when going to grave, as I don't believe there's anything but nil waiting for everyone.

And perfectionism strikes to me as a very NT thing... one of my friends tests as INFP but I've always thought he was INTJ... And still do. He researches some formal customs for addressing things when writing a letter to Japanese company, as if the Japs shouldn't be pleased when someone here even speaks their language at all... And it wasn't even a project he really cared. That doesn't strike to me as INFP quality. I would never bother, unless it was part of a job I got paid for.

I'd really just want to spend my life in a quiet village where everyone knows each other and nothing ever happens... Too bad today that'd mean I'd only have old people to talk to. :(
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Not that I think anyone is really worried about it that much, I do want to apologize for the strange bout of emotional exhibitionism above ... it just doesn't represent who I really am. I be trollin'. Sorry!

In many ways, I feel I am a failed perfectionist. It is very depressing. I have lofty goals, high expectations for myself - unachievable expectations, even - and I am very hard on myself when I fall short. I don't really mind others' thoughts of me, except that I want more than anything to be loved. A big part of me says if love is not unconditional, then it isn't really love. But I was raised in a home where love had to be earned, and I was never good enough. I don't know if my upbringing has anything to do with my perfectionism. I don't care about the same accomplishments others do.
What kind of accomplishments do you care about? And feeling like a failed perfectionist is harsh. I've thought of myself in those terms before but never heard anyone else say it.

It's really weird, I feel like all I ever do is come to suddenly to awareness about the way I've just always thought about things and only after assuming it and assuming it and assuming it for years does it suddenly occur to me that it actually makes no sense at all. "When did I choose this?" but I have no memory of any such thing. It's like inheriting a house the previous owners turned into a fun house and hid things in places you'd never look and by all accounts must have been perfectly crazy and you've got to live in it and set it right. After years of living in it of course, some of the stuff you're just used to and don't think about and it's only at length you wonder why you didn't do something about it.

It's like this though with mercy and forgiveness. Amazingly easy in principle, but the drama and draining battles I'll go through never making the connection, "oh, mercy goes here." No kidding! Who knew?

Yeah, in my household ... probably love as I would understand it as a child would have to be earned too. ("I'll give you something to cry about!" comes to mind, or yeah, for some reason or another I'll be "knocked into next week". I must have been a pretty lazy kid because I was sure told a lot that I wasn't "applying myself".)

but if something is not absolutely perfect it just makes me think it looks silly. I'll just sit there and get a headache because I don't know what needs to be done to it. Or what I should change. I think if I did it for a living I'd get very stressed.
I hate that feeling, like if you're sitting there looking at and don't even know really want it looks like anymore because you've been looking at it for so long.

I don't understand why I should need to have a feeling that I've accomplished something when going to grave, as I don't believe there's anything but nil waiting for everyone.
Exactly. Who are you to think you can add one iota to the universe? Not sure who said that but someone did and there's something to it. I'm also reminded of Lucretius saying that there is no length you can add to your life that will subtract from the length of time you will be dead. If it's not making you happy ... well, ur doin' it wrong, because what else IS there?

And perfectionism strikes to me as a very NT thing... one of my friends tests as INFP but I've always thought he was INTJ... And still do. He researches some formal customs for addressing things when writing a letter to Japanese company, as if the Japs shouldn't be pleased when someone here even speaks their language at all... And it wasn't even a project he really cared. That doesn't strike to me as INFP quality. I would never bother, unless it was part of a job I got paid for.

I'd really just want to spend my life in a quiet village where everyone knows each other and nothing ever happens... Too bad today that'd mean I'd only have old people to talk to. :(
Lol. It reminds me of Shikamaru Nara from the Naruto anime who really just wants to watch clouds pass by all day. That's where it's at though, I'm telling you. As for your friend, that definitely sounds like something I would do if I really felt I wanted to write to a Japanese company for some reason ... ? I'm kinda shy about that sort of thing.
 
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