(A story of how to make your own fun)
Nikki Michelle Soo, Bestselling Author | Fun & Productivity Coach
When I googled “quotes on perfectionism,” the results weren’t exactly inspirational.
For example: “Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order… blah blah blah.” Yup. Bored now.
If you’re like me, then you want something different: Quotes that bring a smile to your face because they’re funny, uplifting and real.
So I decided to make the quotes on perfectionism I wished I could see.
I pestered my friends to find out how their inner perfectionist gets the better of them.
Here are the results.
Laughter is the best medicine
The very first friend I asked, told me this:
“I should have the sexiest body, in the form of a 30 year old Olympic triathlete crossed with a Playboy model. Even now when I’m nearing 60…
And I’m fu*king it up because I haven’t made that happen. And now time is flying past!” she said.
I wrote that down and read it back to her. She cracked up laughing. Because it seemed so crazy. But that’s the thing about our inner perfectionist.
It says some bat-shit crazy things to you and I. And sometimes we fall for it.
When it happens in our inner dialogue, it seems normal because we’re so used to it. But as soon as we see it or hear it from outside ourselves, it’s bordering-on-ridiculously-funny.
Looking at my friend laughing, I wondered: maybe laughter is the best medicine.
I threw together the image you see above and sent her the result. She loved it.
And from that, this Inner Perfectionista series of perfectionism quotes was born.
I asked more friends. They shared more stories.
No perfectionists were harmed (or ridiculed) in the making of these quotes on perfectionism.
I always let people know that I wanted to use their quotes in the Inner Perfectionista project. And I would only do so with their consent.
Some of what they shared was surreal and fantastic.
One friend said: “The craziest thing that my inner perfectionist says is that I must have my world and my belongings perfect. And well organised.
So that when I die, no one will judge or criticise me for being imperfect or disorganised.
My inner perfectionist says that to me all the time. I’m ruthlessly organising my life – in preparation for when I die! How cray-cray is that?”
I was fascinated to hear that.
Especially if we can laugh at ourselves!
She said that all in one breath. And it wasn’t something that she was shy about either.
Some of the shares were scarily familiar to me. Like this one:
“Why haven’t I done “this,” “that,” or “the other” like other people have?”
Here’s one I can definitely relate to:
“I should be able to fix how I feel.”
I wanted to create images for the perfectionism quotes that were honouring – rather than criticising.
Ultimately, I want to inspire love and acceptance for our sometimes crazy inner perfectionist.
Lightness and humour are an important part of that, I feel.
Because perfectionism can be bleak sometimes. And there’s enough of a stigma about being a perfectionist.
Maybe that’s why many people hate being called a perfectionist. And they get super defensive when the label gets thrown around.
There’s a happier way
Just for the record, I believe that
- You and I – we all have an inner perfectionist.
- This inner perfectionist is responsible for a treasure trove of wonderful gifts.
- It’s also responsible for a bunch of liabilities if we let it slip into the driver’s seat of our life.
“All women are perfectionists,” a very cheeky male friend said that to me once.
I was aghast. It took me a while to pick my jaw up from the floor.
“What are you basing that on?” I asked him. He didn’t have a proper answer.
So, of course I was going to ask guys what their inner perfectionist says to them.
One guy told me: “If I can’t open that jar of pickles, then I feel like my masculinity is being challenged!”
I was faintly surprised to hear that. “You mean that really happens?” I asked.
“Yup,” he said.
(Jaw drop… again)
Another guy shared this with me:
“Sometimes it feels like I should be everything for my woman. Like a mind-reading, emotionally articulate, He Man provider.”
Um, that’s a lot of pressure.
Ironixally, this is the same guy friend who said “all women are perfectionists.”
In my conversations with guys, I noticed that they were not used to having conversations about perfectionism.
I’ll be the first to admit. This was a small sample size. And I’m not going to make any conclusions. I can only share my experience.
The guys I spoke to took a long time to come up with a response.
I didn’t know if they were thinking:
“Is it safe to tell this nosey woman what my perfectionist thoughts?”
“Do I have an inner perfectionist?”
Women, on the other hand, told me the answer pretty quickly. Most of them didn’t even have to think about it. They knew straight away.
This could mean many things.
I’ve worked as a coach for 17 years now, with both men and women.
This is what I know from my coaching conversations:
Men put themselves under a lot of pressure. They set high standards for themselves. But they rarely talk about it in terms of “perfectionism.”
Women set those same high standards and experience high pressure. Some of them get super annoyed if I were to suggest that they might be a perfectionist.
Other women identify immediately with perfectionism.
But I do know that perfectionism is not a disorder. Your inner perfectionist is not a bad thing. And there are great ways you can manage your inner perfectionist so it doesn’t get out of hand.
And if you can laugh about it, you can talk about it. Without the taboo, maybe we could all learn to love our inner perfectionist. After all, that’s just another part of who you are.
I mentioned earlier: If we can laugh about it, then we can talk about it.
Once the laughter has cracked away at the taboo and the doom & gloom, maybe we could all learn to love our inner perfectionist.
After all, that’s just another part of who we are.
Perfectionism is not a disorder. Your inner perfectionist is not a bad thing. And there are great ways you can manage your inner perfectionist so it doesn’t get out of hand.
My mission to get this message out there. And to create cultural change: so that we go from self-loathing and frustration… to self-love and acceptance.
With all the quotes on perfectionism, there was one theme that stood out to me.
We have such high expectations of ourselves. And we push ourselves so hard as a result.
For better and for worse.
At the start of our work together, my clients tell me this:
“I feel like I’m doing too much, and yet not enough.”
They say they’re doing everything right. And yet something doesn’t feel right.
The good news is that there is another way. You can read about my clients’ success stories here.
The sheer number of people having this experience – this is what’s inspired me to create the Inner Perfectionista images.
If we can find ways to talk about this, to bring it out in the open and laugh together – then we are closer to finding peace with ourselves. And with our inner perfectionist.