From Perfectionist to "Good Enough" - Learning to Come to Terms With Your Limits

When I was a young girl, I probably was one of the very few people that enjoyed the beginning of the school year.  Of course, the usual going back and seeing my friends and getting back into my social life was something to look forward to but for me it was more than that.  It was a new beginning.  I absolutely LOVED the new school supplies, my new clothes, my new book bag, but most of all I think what I was most excited about was starting anew and organized and having my calendars in order.  I guess you could call me a little neurotic when it came to being organized.  I loved it, it made me feel in control not in a controlling way, but as opposed to out of control.

This carried on into my adult years.  The best part of New Years' for me was that I could start everything new.  New calendar, new planner, new to-do lists, MY HOUSE... do you see where I'm going?  New plans, new goals.  Things that I have to do, I had plans to tackle and I was going to do it because it was a new year.  And for the most part, I did pull it off... you see, I have always strived to keep things in order if that is what I planned to do but sometimes things change like getting sick.

When you are sick, the invincibility is gone.  You have limits, so you pick your battles day to day.  You may not be able to do all those tasks on your calendar or on your to-do list and have to postpone them.  Yes, with the type of person I am... that took a long time to come to terms with.  I did what any perfectionist did, I gave up.  I let everything go.  Except for the basics that absolutely without a doubt need to be done, like pay the bills, and the like... I just let it all go, why? I guess the reasons I could come up with is that I'm a perfectionist and 'why bother?' my house, efforts, will never be the same again.  Even with my family helping, 'it just wasn't the same' 

And do I need to mention the feeling of being overwhelmed?  When I was well, I could pretty much clean my entire house in a weekend.  When I realized I couldn't do that anymore and the feeling of a never ending of accomplishment, because that feeling of when the entire house is clean AT ONCE is just a feeling that, well for me, is a pretty darn good one.  Did I say feeling of accomplishment?

BUT I had to change my mindset, I had to learn that there will be no such thing anymore for me as clear outs, or organizations, or seasonal cleanings such as spring cleanings based on a calendar.  It's now based on my internal wellness calendar.

As I sit here and reminiscence about the good old days, the ones where right about now my entire house would be clean today because my goal would be to start the new year with a sparkling house, I look around and see dust on the window seal and a ceiling fan that needs vacuuming.  I did tackle a couple of rooms this past weekend, which seems to be how my good days go on top of my regular tiding and regular keep up.  It's not something to get upset about because it will get done... I have learned to embrace that as long as I did my best, it couldn't be more perfect.


  1. I wonder if we did a survey, how many lupies we'd find who used to be perfectionists, and have had a tough time learning to settle for "good enough". My GP often tells me "you're letting your personality show through again, you've got to suppress that." She also tells me she has other lupus patients with the same problem - that we always were organised, in control, and could manage everything to within a micron of perfection. It's a struggle to accept that doing what we're able is in fact quite good enough.

  2. I also miss those days of getting things done anytime I wanted. Now, with Sjogren's, I have to take it a moment at a time. Frustrating, but at least I'm finally accepting it.