I was recently told that I can be intimidating because I am, as they so nicely put it, “little miss perfect”. Apparently, I seem so well-organised and neat that people feel as if they have to make an effort in order to be accepted by me, being the “perfect” person that I appear to be.
First of all, I’d like to explain that I actually am a perfectionist and have been since I was a little child. It has driven my parents (especially my mom) mad at times because I wouldn’t stop certain activities unless I considered the outcome close enough to being perfect. In first grade when I was practicing writing the number “1”, my mom told me I did a good job and I just wouldn’t have any of that. I kept ripping the pages out of my notebook and rewriting everything because I didn’t think it was good enough. She grew really frustrated with me and didn’t know what to do to make me see that I did a fine enough job for a first grader. This need for perfection has stayed with me over the years and it has been a blessing as well as a curse. It’s a blessing mostly for others because I always deliver the best possible work but for me it can be rather exhausting. I tear myself apart on a regular basis because I believe I’m not good enough at too many things, even at being myself. This is particularly problematic because no one could even evaluate whether I’m good enough at being me − nobody else is like me after all. I’m the me-est me there is on the entire planet, right?
The comment about me being little miss perfect obviously bothered me a little because it hit home. I’m aware that I’m always trying to be the best possible version of myself and to create the best possible situations for those I care about. I also know that my apartment is amazingly clean and organised most of the time because I put a great deal of effort into keeping it that way. Keeping things organised and planned out keeps me calm and grounded, it’s a way of coping rather than wanting to make people think I’m a perfect human being, even though I’m aware it might be perceived this way. I also believe that I have a great amount of tolerance and understanding for everyone who isn’t wired the way I am. And why wouldn’t I?! It has been proven that the differences in how we function as humans can be explained by how our brains are wired. In fact, most people use some parts of their brain more intensely than other parts – apparently, the well-organised people predominantly use the left side of their brain. Without being able to go into details on the underlying scientific cause of that, I believe it is important to try to be understanding of how others function without judging them from the start only because they are different than we are. Rather than making the decision to avoid the ones who are different, we should be curious about how their brains work. If in the end we decide that we don’t get along with those who are different, at least it has the potential to teach us something.
I think we should always try to give people a chance. You’d probably be surprised by how much there is to discover underneath a seemingly perfect surface.