Perfectionism (aka the fear of failure)

I’ve always been a perfectionist. Some of my perfectionistic qualities when I was younger were probably indicators of some mild obsessive-compulsive tendencies. I’ve gotten better, but my desire for perfection is still alive and well.

I remember doing an assignment in first grade, and when we graded our own work, I got one wrong. I was mortified. Getting a question wrong was the end of the world. I was so used to getting everything right.

Instead of marking it wrong, I tried to fix my answer without my teacher seeing me. She caught me (I was seven and not very sneaky), and I’m sure there was a discussion about it being wrong to change answers during grading. Getting caught cheating was even worse than getting the answer wrong in the first place.

Middle school sports were filled with frustration when I didn’t do things perfectly. My athletic frustrations continued in high school, and I cried and got angry whenever I made mistakes or didn’t play well.

In high school, my perfectionism also manifested itself in my compulsive need to clean my room before starting homework and right before bed. My room had to be spotless in both circumstances.

I had a similar habit in college, and I began making my bed every morning. I still have that habit, and beds not being made makes me anxious. I even make my bed at hotels sometimes.

I created this blog in December of 2017, but I didn’t start writing for it until April of 2018 because it wasn’t perfect and I had no idea what I was doing. After some encouragement and assistance from a friend, I accepted that it wasn’t going to be perfect, and I started working on it.

I didn’t actively work on gaining followers until a couple of months ago (one of the main reasons I want to gain followers is because I want to write a book someday). I’ve worked on it quite a bit since April; improving it and making it my own, and I am very pleased with the results.

Speaking of writing a book, a couple of days ago, I posted a silly piece of satire I’ve been working on and presented it as a book idea. I’ve shared it with several people, and a lot of them think I should actually write it. A fellow blogger also wants me to write it.

People liking my post makes me happy, but the thought of actually writing a book is equal parts terrifying and exciting.

What if I write it, and no one wants to publish it?

What if no one reads it?

What if people hate it?

What if it’s a flop and doesn’t make any money?

Obviously, I have a lot of self-doubt, which naturally means I have a hard time believing in myself. Not only that, I also hate the idea of failing.

Failure is embarrassing, which is demoralizing.

Failure is an indicator of imperfection, which is unacceptable.

Failure is a weakness, which is unforgivable.

Failure makes me unlikable and unlovable.

Or at least these are the lies I tell myself.

And these are lies. I know failure isn’t the end of the world, but I still have a strong visceral reaction when faced with the idea of failure.

The fear of failure paralyzes me and keeps me from trying in the first place. I have to be reminded that the unwillingness to try new things is its own form of failure.

My friends are often the ones who remind me of this. I rarely come to this conclusion on my own.

I discussed this topic with a good friend yesterday, and she encouraged me to write a blog post about it.

I just realized if I don’t at least attempt to write a book, I might end up with a lot of regret later in life.

Regret is the result of inaction.

Regret is born from fear.

Regret is worse than failure because regret is submissive.

Pursuing a dream, even when failure is likely, is better than doing nothing.

Failure is not the opposite of success.

The antonym of success is sitting on your ass and acquiescing to the status quo.

9 Replies to “Perfectionism (aka the fear of failure)”

  1. I love this post.

    These are exactly my thoughts and fears before starting a blog that is personal yet I haven’t put my name or picture because the fear of failure. Fear of everyone knowing my fears. Fear of everyone knowing how much I’m failing. Fear of making a commitment and fear of failing at my commitment. Fear of making the wrong decision.

    Thank you for this post. I think it’s a little bit of truth that I needed today.


    1. Thank you for those kind words.

      That’s my goal with most of my posts. I want to be relatable and encouraging. I’m glad it was helpful.

      Best of luck with your blog, just gotta jump in and do your best. The blog community is very supportive. Have fun with it and make it your own. 🙂


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