Struggling with Perfectionism as an INFJ

“Perfectionistic – INFJs are all but defined by their pursuit of ideals. While this is a wonderful quality in many ways, an ideal situation is not always possible – in politics, in business, in romance – and INFJs too often drop or ignore healthy and productive situations and relationships, always believing there might be a better option down the road.” (Reference)

I’ve always struggled with perfectionism. I want everything I do to be perfect or I don’t want to do it. Halfway is not an option. I have always had this all or nothing mentality, but it is something that I am working on changing, slowly but surely.

INFJ’s are very susceptible to struggling with perfectionism. There are many aspects of our personality that make us more susceptible than others. We are very sensitive to those around us, have a knack for planning things out in meticulous detail, are extremely organized, and have the vision to see how things could be if we reach our full potential. It’s only reasonable to think we would be disappointed if we don’t live up to our own ideas.

Finding Me Time

I am very much a perfectionist. It works out well for my career, I’m a marketing manager and graphic designer, hopefully transitioning to UX/UI design. Having an eye for details and not stopping until something is right is very important. I’m the only person in the marketing department at my company and the only person whose job it is to care about how things look to the outside world. That translates into sales for us, which is how we get paid. It’s important for me to produce work that is done well.

I also don’t like to say no. I would much rather have 12 projects going that 2. I don’t like to be bored and I want people to be able to count on me, so I sometimes take on more than I should. It’s taken me years to realize this is not always a good thing. As an introvert, it’s extremely important for me to have down time, alone time to do what I want. Working 24/7 doesn’t leave a lot of room for that. I have learned to pick the most important projects and say no to the rest. It’s easy to sit here and type that, but a lot harder to say no, I just don’t have the time or capacity for that right now. It gets a little bit easier though, with practice.

Another area of my life that perfectionism affects is planning for the future. I love to think about my future, to dream about what my life will look like in a year or 5 years or 10 years. I enjoy planning how my wedding will look and what kind of house I’ll buy and what kind of guy I will end up with. I already know what I’m going to name my kids.

But this is where I run into a problem. What is realistic and what is not? It’s hard to differentiate after a while. I have this idea of the perfect for me guy built up in my head. I have had for years. But when a normal guy asks me out of a date, he almost doesn’t even have a chance. The first thing I do is compare him to my McDreamy. There is no way he can live up to that comparison!

That leads us to where is the line between high standards and unrealistic dreams? I don’t know the answer. Maybe that’s why I’m not married.

I have learned in the last few years to trust my intuition. I just know things sometimes. I don’t know how I know them or why, but I just know. I have a feeling things will work out. I’ve had this feeling for most of my life, that I will find the right guy and it will all work out. That’s enough for me at this point.

Good Enough is Acceptable

For almost every other area that perfectionism affects me, I’m trying to give myself some more grace. I’m trying to take a step back and say it’s ok if things are not as perfect as I want them to be. They don’t have to be 100%, 90% is ok sometimes.

This blog is a good example of that. I know a lot of it is not as I want it to be. But if I focus on making things perfect, I will never get anything done, I would be stuck in planning forever. That’s not helpful either.

Compare Yourself to Only Yourself

Part of my research and planning is to look at what other people are doing. I spent a lot of time looking at other blogs and other people I admire, to see what they are doing. It’s hard to compare yourself when you are just starting out to someone who has 10-20 years of experience. I’ve had to learn that the only person I should be comparing myself to is me. I will never be those other people. I can’t do things the way that they do. I can only be me. But I can be better than what I have been in the past.

Do the Right Thing

This whole compare me to me concept applies to a lot of things in my life, not just my blog. It’s especially helpful when I go to the gym. I hate working out. I am always embarrassed to be in the gym, worried that people will look at me and know I don’t know what I’m doing. Or that my workout clothes, that I bought 30 pounds ago, are a little bit too tight. But if I’m going to change that I have to go to the gym. I know that. I also know that in all of the times I have been to the gym no one has ever laughed at me. Some have stared, but never like what I imagine they will. I have to do what is right for me, even if it’s not perfect, even if it’s uncomfortable and scary.

Perfectionism is not something that can be unlearned in a day, unfortunately. It takes constant work every day to overcome this trait. But it is something that can be improved upon. It doesn’t have to haunt you forever. With a little bit of work, you can make some big changes.

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