I am part motivational coach and part brainstorming collaborator in this house of intensity. It is just who I need to be from time-to-time. I guide my children utilizing mindfulness with a heavy emphasis on, knowing who you are and staying true to yourself. Authenticity is key here amongst outliers. I support my children through our life lessons which are necessary to stay rooted in optimistic reality. I don’t teach my children academics but I am their tour guide for happy, meaningful, stress-free living. Life isn’t perfect and when there is a hiccup in our day, I breakdown the experience with detailed enthusiasm. My oldest child thoroughly enjoys my deconstruction while my youngest could do with the abridged version. One craves detailed explanations and the other seeks out meditation and yoga.
Staying balanced manifests differently for each person. I prefer living in the extremes rather than languishing somewhere in the middle. I like to push the edge and follow my biss. My kids seem to be similar in their temperament and approach to life. As a family, we are intense, eccentric and passionate. We are all healthy perfectionists and extremely individualistic. My version of perfection differs greatly from my children and their ideals vary from each other. For my oldest son, the collector, the physical world needs to be perfect and factual correctness is always required. His posessions need to be pristine or he may become irrational and his tolerance for faulty logic and half-truths is nonexistent. While these attributes may appear to be limiting, they are, indeed, an asset for a creative entrepreneur. My youngest child’s perfectionistic qualities surface when he is building and creating. His idea of perfection is unique to his vision and no one else’s ideas matter. The relentless drive for perfection keeps us all focused on our projects until we have reached personal satisfaction. Perfection is subjective.
There is a definitive line between healthy, motivational perfectionism as compared to obessessive compulsion and anxiety rooted in the realization that most things will never, in fact, be perfect. Societally, perfectionism seems to be viewed as a negative trait that needs to be avoided and cured. I find this to be quite alarming as I have found perfectionism to generally be a benefit rather than a detriment. I have seen memes about the prison of perfectionism, how to overcome it and that perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order. While I can appreciate that perfectionism can be debilitating for some, not all of us are paralyzed by it.
I observe and parent my children through a strength based lens which fosters an overall positive outlook on life. I see motivation, determination and unwavering focus as a strength to be nurtured. Perhaps our unschooling philosophy helps shape my full glass view of the relentless drive that is perfection. Perspective is everything. Espousing a positive view of perfectionism keeps one aspirational until completion.
Striving for the best one can do based on intrinsic desire coupled with the ability to execute is the epitome of postive perfectionism. When cultivated effectively, it creates perseverance which is a much needed trait that we all seem to embrace as desirable. Paying attention to detail is part of the perfectionist’s super power which translates to cleaner, more effective design, innovation and productivity. As we shift our view, we can appreciate the inherent positives that perfectionistic tendencies offer. Olympic athletes strive for perfection as they train and compete and we understand their need to be the best. Surgeons expect excellence over acceptable. Some children have similar ideals they set for themselves and they will not settle for anything less than their idea of perfection. Healthy perfectionism is beautiful and it keeps us determined to improve ourselves and our work.
We stay focused on reaching our goals through the high standards which we have set for ourselves. When my children work on their projects, they envision an outcome and try to reach that through creativity, attention to detail and passion filled work. These are enviable traits. When perfectionism tips into the negative, that is when it becomes paralyzing, leaving one defeated and unproductive. While none of us seem plagued by the anxiety that can manifest due to perfectionism, there are times when my children do become transfixed on something unreasonable or unattainable. In those instances, I soothe my children’s frustrations through motivational realism. They are the captains of their life; I am their cruise director helping them navigate the world. We have made the decision not to let perfectionism control us but, rather, face it, break it down, let it sink in, shift our persepctive and hone it to our advantage.
For my chidren perfectionism is a pervasive tool that enables deep concentration and unwavering focus on whatever project they have in the works. It also means that they will not settle for anything in the vicinity of mediocre. My oldest son takes no shortcuts and has a disdain for low quality. He has set the bar so high and will do whatever it takes to reach his goals. Our lifestyle can accommodate his perfectionistic needs and when necessary I guide him through the momentary set backs. His all consuming drive to succeed is fueled by intellectual overexcitability and perfectionism which is nurtured in an environment free from adult interference.
Success doesn’t come from mediocrity and getting there relies heavily on motivation and desire to be the best. When we shift our view of perfectionism then we can harness its power and use to it our advantage.
Follow Me on Social Media:
Pinterest: Amy Golden Harrington
Vine: Gifted Unschooling
Tumblr: Gifted Unschooling
YouTube: Gifted Unschooling
This blog post is part of a blog hop on perfectionism & gifted quirks.