I’ve recently gotten a bit obsessed with typology and the different personality types within the Myers Briggs theory – based on a series of questions, you can find out everything there is to know about yourself from strengths and weaknesses to how you are within relationships and your career (you can take a free one with 16 Personalities here). Now you might wonder what all of this has to do with being a perfectionist, but I’ll get there.
My personality type is INFJ (otherwise known as the Advocate, the rarest one of them all) which means I’m an introvert, intuitive, am understanding of other people’s feelings and am decisive. There’s a lot more to all of this and I’m literally brushing the surface so let me know if you want me to elaborate on this subject, but one of the traits that came up was me being a perfectionist. I read it and just thought “nahhhhh, I’m not a bloody perfectionist!” – that was until I read what it actually means to be one in psychology terms;
Perfectionism, in psychology, is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting high performance standards, accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.
Basically, it’s not necessarily the nit-picking, can’t leave a piece of work alone until it’s perfect kind of perfectionism, but setting yourself high (sometimes unrealistic) standards and making it difficult for yourself based on your own bad thoughts and the concern of how everyone else thinks of you. Not proceeding with something because you think it’s shit or going to be shit is one of the most common examples, of which I have many. I’ve always been concerned about what people think of me, have strived to achieve things to prove others wrong and always wanted my life to follow a certain path – I get into a complete mess if life plans don’t go the way I anticipated and me being unemployed is definitely something that’s throwing me off kilter. I didn’t realise that I was a perfectionist until I was chatting to my cousin Tammy about the results and asked her if she thought I was a one. I was completely thrown when she immediately said yes, and when I asked her why it started to dawn on me that I really was.
Examples are me starting but not continuing the following; my YouTube channels (yep, plural), a book I started to write about my life because I felt like it was shit, wouldn’t help anybody and wasn’t measuring up to my idea of the real story, or continuing to make clothes for my Etsy store because I wasn’t making loads of sales I dreamed of and what I was making wasn’t what the market wanted, or starting to withdraw from my Instagram stories/Instagram posts because my audience hasn’t really grown in the way others have and I wasn’t getting the engagement I thought I should. The truth of the matter is, I’ve got this little monster of doubt called Perfectionism in the back of my head that drives my life in a way I wasn’t conscious about until recently and I don’t know how I’ve gotten to the ripe age of twenty-seven without realising it.
We all have this ideal life planned out and looking back, I’ve noticed that I get most agitated when my life isn’t following the ideal life I set out for myself – it’s only once I started reading into this whole typology thing that I’ve picked up on so many things about myself, one of which is that I am indeed a perfectionist.
The funny thing about me writing about this topic is that when I was writing, I actually started to put it off because… I honestly thought it would be shit! If that doesn’t highlight the definition of me being a perfectionist, I don’t know what will.
Have you ever read into typology before and do you know what your personality type is? Let me know in the comments below and make sure to take the test – I guarantee it’ll make for an interesting read!