Tuesday, June 13

The Small Stuff is Not for Sweating

Those who know me personally realize that I am a very analytical person. Whenever I take personality tests, I tend to test out as more of a male personality type than female. Meyers-Briggs says I am an ISTJ which means I tend to be more (I)introverted than extroverted, generally (S)sensing rather than intuitive, a (T)thinker rather than a feeler and more (J)judging than perceiving.

For this reason, I tend to analyze myself and others to death, and have an insatiable interest in psychology, the human mind and why people act the way we do. It tends to be pretty convenient as I have a full-time case study with myself, but you'd think this would help me to have the world figured completely out by now--not so. I suppose it will be my lifetime hobby to sort out why we are all the way we are, and once I have the answer and am ready to share, I'll be so old I'll croak and mankind will remain in the dark.

I revealed a bit of this analysis of myself yesterday when I talked about confessing my shortcomings. I've sort of revised my theory on why I scurry to correct shortcomings that I've either admitted or that have been observed by others. I think that I tend to be a perfectionist, but like most with this obsessive trait, I fear failure or not measuring up. Of course it is easier to admit failure if you don't even try--forbid trying something and not doing it well. Dr. Kevin Lehman describes not trying something just because you can't do it perfectly as a 'frustrated perfectionist'.

I think I'm a little bit different than that. I think I fein not being good at things in order to lower mine and others' expectations -- but when it comes time to perform, I drive myself crazy trying to do things as meticulously as possible. Then wah-lah, I get comments like "I thought you said your house was messy. I thought you said you don't know how to cook. I thought you said you don't know how to plant things." Of course, this comes in handy for the times that I do burn something on the stove or when I do have dirty laundry all over the bathroom floor or when I spend too much time taking my kids to the park and my plants get weeded over--nobody (including myself) expected any different. Then it's a pleasant surprise when things are cleaned up and done to perfection.

The negative side of all this is that it takes a toll on your psyche and causes you to believe the things you say about yourself. I certainly do have things I realize I am very good at and I readily admit those--I am a great transcriptionist, I am very reliable, I'm supportive of my husband, etc. But these are things that are subjective or things that you would have to take my word about without any definitive proof. When it comes to visible things where others can measure me against themselves, my confidence wavers and I feel like I need a disclaimer of some sort, just in case I would be a disappointment to somebody else's expectations of me.

I say all this to make a point--my goal in life is to achieve balance. Besides my relationship with Jesus Christ, achieving balance is my focus. I want to be a great mom and wife, but I don't want to forget to grow as a person. I want to be considerate of others, but I don't want to rule my behavior by how others perceive me. I want to take care of my home and do a good job at work, but I don't want to get too busy to have fun. I want to identify the things I need to improve in myself, but I don't want to ignore all the rich qualities I have either. I'm guessing that's where they got the saying "Don't sweat the small stuff." Then they follow with "...and everything is small stuff."

5 of Your THINKS:

Crystal Breeze said...

Jennifer I have known you for a long time and never have found you to be a negative person. You are always an uplifting person to be around. I enjoy taking company with you and if anyone is negative about themselves it is me.

The fact is I too want a disclamier to prove that I hold up to what I think I am best at if people question me. At my job I run into that all the time. What are Degree's for again?

Debbie said...

When I read that... I had to say to myself... Jennifer nailed that one right on!

Paula said...

Ah, yes! It's all about balance. You are so right on with this post. I want to live a balanced life too. Most of the time I feel I'm being pulled in one direction more than the other.

mary ellen said...

Very interesting post! Jennifer, I've known you for years and years and years and I have NEVER known you to be a negative person. You must keep that side of you hidden very well - but the rest of it I agree with. :-)

People sure are complicated aren't they? One small thing I have
learned, and am still learning, is so much of how people act has a whole lot to do with their pasts, where they came from, childhood, etc. I am really learning to give people the "benefit of the doubt" as the saying goes. We all have our faults, there are no perfect people, and I'm learning to accept people for who they are! It's really helped me to loose the whole judgmental thing. I'm a work in progress. :-)

Peter said...

I used to worry about all kinds of stuff. Then I went to millitary college and didn't die. I realized that whatever storm I was in, imagined or real, if I just went with it it always worked out.
I also learned if you have a goal, keep it in sight and continue to move towards it. Lots of baby steps, lead to great big leaps. Set backs are an opportunituy to learn.
I am not sure what you said that lead me down this path I think it was the referrence to not sweating the small stuff. People always get hung up on the small stuff.