I brushed the last of the dirt, sawdust, and fur into the dust pan, gently flicking it along. My back was sore from sweeping, but my desire for spotless floors overcame it.
Back aching, I walked over to the window and pushed the curtains open. I turned around to examine my work.
I didn’t smile. I groaned.
Did I even sweep in here? The sunlight, now stretching over the entire living room floor, revealed specks of dirt and dust peppered over it.
My palms began to sweat and my heart rate climbed. My back felt too sore to continue, so I resolved to leave it. Good enough.
I hung the broom up in the kitchen and went upstairs, but my mind never left the living room. As I wrote articles, read books, folded laundry, fixed my hair, and prepared supper, the dusty floors remained at the front of my mind. Will I ever have clean floors? How could I get those floors even more spotless? What if I mopped them each day, maybe that would pick up all the dust. How come no one else’s floors look like that? Why can everyone else make their floors look so spotless?
Each time I walked through the living room, the floor mocked me, somehow growing more and more dirt with each trip. I felt agitated and irritated each time I had to face the dusty floors. Part of me wanted to simply close the curtains, but I knew that wouldn’t still my anxious heart.
Maybe this sounds ridiculous to you, but if you are perfectionist like me, I know you have your own version of dusty floors. Maybe it took you far too long to write an article this week because you kept backspacing the entire time. Maybe you procrastinated your next deadline because you’re too scared to start a project, knowing it won’t be perfect. Maybe you refused to go skating with your friends because you knew you’d look silly and wouldn’t do it to perfection. Maybe you worried more about your party decorations than enjoying the party itself.
If so, you may be a perfectionist like me. And if you are, I want you to consider with me: Is perfectionism perhaps your greatest weakness? Could it be the leading cause of your anxiety?
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