Good Enough. Really?
One of the sessions I went to at Hearts at Home was Dr. Kevin Leman’s session on Birth Order. I’ve been wanting to read his book for years, fascinated with his theories about how birth order influences our personality and relationships. It’s pretty convincing, especially when he describes YOU, with special note of the nasty traits that you don’t really like to think other people are paying attention to.
After I wrote that sentence, I read it about three times. Then I typed, ‘how was that for a horrible sentence?’ This brings me to the inspiration for writing today. I started the book last week and I’ve made it through the chapter on what it means to be an oldest, and now I’ve begun the part on perfectionism.
The question of whether I’m a perfectionist has always eluded me. I know that I have some perfectionist issues, but overall I’m a mess, so I figured I didn’t fit the bill. So I took the quiz today. He throws it at me on the 2nd page of this chapter, without much time to prepare. I took it, surprised that the questions were not about organization or getting places on time. Instead he asks questions like “Do mistakes irritate you?” and “Do you use the word ‘should’ a lot?” Or how about this one – “Do you find yourself apoogizing for certain work because you could have done it better if you had had more time?”
Uh, Yeah. I do that.
So the scoring looks like this:
If you score an
11-16 = mild perfectionist
17-25 = medium perfectionist
26-33 = extreme perfectionist, and he adds (you’re too hard on yourself and everyone else)
So my score is 26. And I was a little thrown. Maybe you aren’t. But I am.
And there are a lot of weaknesses of an oldest child that I have worked on and I feel good about – Like I’ve learned to say no. And I try not to worry so much about the rules. Well, some of them. I hope that I don’t “fail to pay attention to the more intuitive opinions of others.”
I didn’t understand how this perfectionism stuff works. But apparently my messiness and procrastination are tools that I use to cover up my not-so-perfect results, or put off the not-so-perfect future.
Leman’s book isn’t about making me feel more inadequate. It’s about understanding yourself better so that you can make the most of your strengths. AND try to help your kids, and not hinder them, with all the birth orders pushing them around (her own birth order as well as those of her parents). I’m looking forward to reading more about this. Could there be a day when I don’t over-criticize every word I type or read? Overanalyze everything I do? Could I spare my oldest a similar fate?
I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile I’ll try not to overanalyze my personality. Or my kids’. Or this post that I just wrote…