Self-esteem Challenge: Day 22

This blog challenge was developed by If you missed the introduction or want to see a summary of all the questions, go here.

Day 22:
What do you think others like about your personality?
Which of your skills or abilities to you pride yourself on?

I think other people like that I am nice. I like to make other people comfortable and feel good about themselves. I try to always be polite and pleasant despite how I am feeling. I also try to be considerate of other people by thinking about how what I say and what I do will affect them. It drives me nuts when people don’t consider others. For example, getting off the escalator. They take the escalator at the mall up to the second floor, get off and stop right there, blocking the path, trying to decide where to go next. I come up behind them and have no where to go because the escalator is still moving and they are standing there at the end of it. So I say “excuse me, please” to remind them that people need to to get by and I get a dirty look! What do they want me to do?! Walk backwards on the moving stairs until they decide to move….I’m not the most coordinated, so that’s not going to work. Move aside to think about where you are going next instead of blocking the moving stairs. It’s such a small courtesy, yet so many people don’t do it. It drives me nuts! It’s not because they are bad people, most of the time, they just don’t think. Sorry for the rant. :S

Normally, I pride myself on my work ethic. Normally, I am a hard worker. Lately (the last several months) it has been getting harder and harder to do anything. I am extremely unmotivated and feel like I’m going nowhere. Work is the worst, but I’m not motivated to do the things I enjoy either. I need a prompt of some sort to draw or blog. I’ve stopped reading books, going out with friends and enjoying Netflix. Hubby has to be on my case everyday to get me to exercise. I feel really lost. Usually when this happens, I force myself through it. I do the things I know I should do anyway. It has been months now and this feeling isn’t passing. I’m finding it very difficult to force myself to keep going, doing the things I should be doing. I don’t know what I’m going to do.

zentangle rainbow colours

Self-esteem Challenge: Day 3

This blog challenge was developed by If you missed the introduction or want to see a summary of all the questions, go here.

Day 3:
A part of your personality that you like.
What is one fear or goal that you would like to conquer?

I like that I am kind. I think it’s important to be kind. I don’t like the word “nice” but, I’m trying to get over it. I always used to think of “nice” as something you say about someone you don’t really know or has no personality to define themselves with. People always described me as “nice”. I was starting to look at it as a negative. Kind of like when you get called “cute” instead of “beautiful”. Puppies and kitties are “cute”, flowers are “nice”. I want to be beautiful and generous. Anyway, now I’m trying to look at “nice” as a broad term that could mean kind and generous too.

Fear or goal huh? A goal would be too obvious…the Ph.D. I think overcoming my fear of making mistakes would help me a lot. I have tried in terms of drawing. I started with zentangles, you can read about it here. It helped a lot. Now I am able to draw again where as before I was too stressed about the outcome to actually start. I’d like to work on this fear in regards to work. In research there will always be a lot that I don’t know how to do. Being afraid of doing it wrong is really holding me back. It causes me to procrastinate and think that I don’t deserve to be where I am. Making mistakes is part of learning. Making a mistake doesn’t mean you are doomed. It means you are making progress and that’s better than not doing anything. I just need to keep reminding myself of that.

creativity and mistakes

F.E.A.R. Forget Everything and Run or Face Everything and Rise. Your choice.

F.E.A.R. Forget Everything and Run or Face Everything and Rise. Your choice.

Overcoming the Perfectionist Attitude

Hi. I’m the Somber Scribbler and I’m a perfectionist.

Perfectionism is not only annoying, it’s often the cause of low self-esteem and anxiety. Perfectionists have unrealistically high expectations of themselves, others, or life in general. They are often highly focused on details, particularly the negatives and they tend to discount the positives. Are you a perfectionist? Here are some of the signs….

  • You are motivated by fear of failure or sense of duty. I should, I must, I have to…
  • You are critical of every effort. Your accomplishments never satisfy you, you have to be number one.
  • You have to earn your self-esteem. You must be accomplished or you wont be loved or accepted by others.
  • You are terrified by failure. If you don’t reach your goal, you think you are a failure as a human being.
  • You must always be in strong control of your emotions, otherwise you might be seen as weak.
  • You tend to think in two categories (black and white, success and failure) rather than on a continuum.
  • You make conclusions that go beyond a situation. If it happened once, it will always happen.

Sound like you? It sure sounds like me. There are tips all over the place about how to get over it. For example, make more realistic goals, stop focusing on the little negatives, don’t discount the positive stuff and find more pleasure in life. It’s good advice, but how do you do that? It’s hard to just turn off that black and white thinking when you’ve been doing it your whole life.

I want to share some painfully obvious things that I have realized lately. Reminding myself of these things has helped me to be more successful in following the anti-perfectionist tips.

Existence = Worth
Society measures our worth by outer achievements, so that’s how I measure my own worth. How much education do I have? How many friends do I have? How much money do I have? How thin am I? Sounds about right, right? Wrong! Your worth is a given just because you exist. People give pets and plants worth just for being there. Why shouldn’t we give ourselves the same treatment?

Mistakes Are ok as Long as You Are Still in Control
You are human, you make mistakes. You probably make several a day (I do!) and that’s ok. They are not worth dwelling on. It just gives you more anxiety. There is no learning without mistakes. I know you’ve heard that before and it’s not that comforting, but what about this? Think about how many mistakes you can make before you lose control of the situation. There’s a lot of room for error there. Feel better? I do.

Would you Demand the Same From Your Best Friend?
I applied to optometry school out of high school. I didn’t get in. I hated myself. Would I hate my friend if she didn’t get in? No. Would I feel bad for her? Yes. It’s ok to be disappointed because of set backs, but don’t let it turn into something as extreme as self-loathing.

The Right Perspective
Perfectionists tend to focus on mistakes that have minute consequences let alone any real long term effects. This mistake you made feels crappy right now, but will it matter next month? Next year? I know you want to kick me for saying that. It doesn’t make you feel better right now, but it does put things in perspective. I failed my driver’s test several times. I was devastated. Does it matter now? No. Does it affect my life in the long run? No. It wasn’t worth all the anxiety I had over it.

Stop and Smell the Roses
Perfectionists are often rigid and self-denying. You can’t keep giving 100% without recharging your batteries. Make time to do something you enjoy. I got to the point where I didn’t enjoy anything anymore. Everything stressed me out. I realized it was because I was focusing on the finish line and not on the process. My favourite pass-time was drawing and I stopped doing it because I wasn’t any good at it. I was so focused on what my artwork looked like in the end that I forgot it was the drawing part that I enjoyed. Focus on the process.

When I remind myself of these things I find it easier to follow the tips on how not to be a perfectionist. I’m still a perfectionist, but I’m working on it. Thinking in black and white and focusing on the negative is still automatic, but remembering these points helps me talk myself out of it and it has reduced my anxiety by leaps and bounds. I hope it can be of some use to you too.

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