“Failure should not be feared because it is necessary to learn and grow”

So I admit I’m a perfectionist

I have always been complimented for my perfectionism, being told I have the right attitude towards achieving the highest possible. I felt proud of my status… with title “perfectionist” and in a way this fed into my need to please people.

But what happens when perfect isn’t quite good enough….

Recently having started back at sixth form it has brought back a reminder of how hard it is to achieve the high expectations people have of me, and mostly the expectations I put on myself. It can be hard to explain because, on the outside, to many, it looks like I should have nothing to worry about, but inside I can feel the pressue building.

Having not been in education for almost a year and not sitting any exams this summer, I am retaking year 12. Firstly I’d like to point out that the thing I find the most difficult is feeling that people who do not know I’ve been in hospital think I was just lazy last year or failed all my exams. It’s hard because although I know A level is really difficult and many struggle. I feel like I’m looked down upon because of it.

I admit last year wasn’t great for me, when I did attend school I was barely able to concentrate due to Anorexia’s strong influence, I did not complete work or sometimes even turn up to lessons… the hardest thing for me to admit is that this was not because “i didn’t want to go” or “couldn’t be bothered” but actually down to such a strong hate I had towards myself.

I’ll explain…. During my time in sixth form my mental health began to deteriorate to a point I felt I didn’t deserve to do well or have any future. Unfortunately, for me this impacted on my education because I felt that by withdrawing from sixth form it would stop me ever being able to achieve my dream job as a doctor or gave any chance at a decent career

I would walk to school then disappear for hours pacing round the streets, I would lie to my parents that I had been to school, and on days I wouldn’t go at all because I would be so faint and exhausted I’d feel scared to leave the house, I would further push myself to exercise excessively at home.  

It was hard, tiring and time-consuming!

I felt like a slave to something external which was pushing me to my limits. I was no longer myself, I would never lie to my parents or even skip school. I was ashamed of what I had become but this just pushed me further into the depths of my eating disorder.

With this self hate being something I have only just mentioned in therapy I still find it hard to hear out loud. In a way I’m embarrassed of how things have got the better of me at times – but i suppose nobody’s perfect, right?

I would like to hopee that those who know me perceive me as an accepting person who see’s the best in people, despite any flaws. Knowing I have such strict guidelines for how I think I should be but when it comes to others I am very open to anything – I need to try to find a balance with myself also.

Us perfectionists need to aim for a middle ground between the polar of “perfectionism” and “not caring”. Having the motivation to aim high and achieve the best possible is a good trait but it also needs to be put into perspective to see whether it is taking over our lives.

I find taking a step back from the situation and viewing it as if it’s happening to someone else really helps me rationalise what’s going on. Yes, even when I realise it’s not rational it’s still very hard to change how I’m emotionally feeling, but by viewing both sides it can sometimes minimise things.

I still have a lot of work to do on this aspect of my recovery, but I believe I am now becoming more aware that my perfectionism will never make me feel perfect and understand that…”failure should not be feared because it is necessary to learn and grow”

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35 thoughts on ““Failure should not be feared because it is necessary to learn and grow”

  1. Hi! I follow Beauty Beyond Bones blog and she has recovered from Anorexia. She’s in her twenties now. Maybe you’ll want to check out her site. I have battled people pleasing and perfectionism, too. You’re a good writer. Thank you for being vulnerable. You never know how your thoughts may encourage others to get past some stuff that holds them down. God bless! He loves you and it sounds like you have others that love you as well. I’ll pray you can love yourself. I’ve had to work on that for myself as well. It snuck up on me once. I didn’t even know it was there. It’s pretty much gone now. Praise God. Take care!

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  2. God I so relate to this post having battled with an eating disorder and perfectionism all my life. You are so right that perfectionists need to adopt the middle way. Congratulations on getting back into education it is fantastic that your recovery has progressed enough for you to do that. Perfectionism has plagued me and is still plaguing me as I feel I cannot get into a relationship with a man unless I look perfect. This leads me to spend excessive amounts of money on my appearance often pointlessly. Anorexia is a killer illness and it really does disrupt people’s education terribly. I am I suppose grateful in a way that I had bulimia instead and could still continue with my studies. Good luck with your A levels.

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  3. First of all congratulations from bouncing back from everythings and started working towards better future. I’m sure that you will succeed in everything you’ll put your mind to. Also as i read this post (and to be honest i’ve read only two posts and i’m REAALLY sowwy ^^) but i’ve felt like i’ve known you whole my life. Well it simply comes from combination of my imagination and your way of expressing yourself and describing your life. Also i’m glad you learned more things about yourself as being perfectionist and how to use it to your advantage. However some people might see pleasing others as a bad thing and would respond as such but don’t you let them get to your head. Pleasing people is your obsession and as a good thing since your mind needs constant acknowledgement of good work your done and others respond to you such. You need a “well done” and “good job” ( in a really positive and happy tone ) mai ly every day. Also as every personality there is a downside..and you know it since you yourself said “Failure should not be feared because it is necessary to learn” yet you are living in a constant fear or failing am I right? Correct me if i’m wrong 🙂 anyway you have to learn now how to live with it since it’s not going anywhere. No matter how hard you try it’ll still be there, in the shadows waiting. And..when you do fail in something, no matter big or small you’ll take a major hit in your self confidence and it’s hard to bounce back by your own. So keep someone always close to you in occasions like that cause that someone is your life line and that light in the darkness. But don’t worry, there isn’t a personality that is perfect or better. And perfection is what we think it is 😉 sorry for so loooooong and maybe boring comment seems i’m on hypomanic state currently ^^ anyway i’ll read more about you just to find out can I trust my imagination as first hand judging.

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  4. Wow. What a brave and honest post. I identified with so much of what you said. The term “perfectionist” does come with the certain connotation that you somehow lack empathy because you set the same high expectations for others as you do for yourself. I’ve found the opposite to be true! Sometimes it’s easier to be kind to others than it is to be kind to ourselves.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. It’s my first visit here but it will definitely be the first of many more!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent post, and congrats on moving ahead with your life!

    My personal addiction hell was alcoholism and other mental health issues, and I have had to learn these same lessons in recovery. Turns out our greatest assets are the same as our greatest flaws; healthy is about learning to use them in balance and moderation…

    Keep up the good work! 🙂

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  6. Try “Failing Forward.” As you said at the end of your post, learning and growing is the way forward. I believe we are actually receiving feedback. Try saying this: “Failure is Feedback.” We need it to move forward in our lives. Seeking to be at our highest and best is a positive. However, we must keep in mind that we have never experienced true perfectionism. We have no reference point from which to draw. So if we engulf ourselves in “trying” to be perfect [what a strain], there’s something deeper going on. But when we know better, we do better, and your wonderful post reads like you have found the way forward, and heading for your true north. Bravo!!!

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  7. Perfectionism…after failing a few times with all the glory of a mad unicorn with its mane on fire all I can say is…bring it on!

    Gotta say you have a pure and open voice – fight to keep it strong 💪

    Like

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