Germany is known to be precise, on time and reliable.
We grow up, knowing that being on time is as important as brushing your teeth every morning. Everything about German culture is striving for perfection: how we make cars or electronics, our approach towards education, hobbies, how houses are build……the list is endless.
My condition began in my early childhood. Since I am living in Ireland, I am asking myself what contributed that I became a perfectionist. Is it only Societies influence on me? Is it the home I grew up in? Is it something I’ve put on in order to survive or something that is wired in me? Short: is it nature or nurture?
My dad is someone who always gives 150%. Which is great if you build your own house, like he did. With the help of only a few professionals, family members and my mum’s amazing patience, cooking skills and turning a crappy old caravan into a cozy and warm save-haven during ice-cold winters, he build a house from scratch. A solid house, top standard, with floor heating (a luxury my mum saw as a necessity). He poured 3 years into this house, making it our family home and it’s something I admire, but it’s not me. By all means, he is a perfectionist! He doesn’t start something if he knows he can’t give everything. But it also brought him very far. I guess his perfectionism has taught me to give your best whatever you do, but it also discouraged me and I gave up on things I enjoyed but I thought I would never reach a level of perfection.
What I struggle the most is that schools seem to leave no space for young people to express themselves or discover who they are. The educational system wants to create perfect, studious young people. People, who will be affective in the German machinery of success and achievement.
We used to be a society of thinkers, writers, but I wonder where we have the space nowadays to create and give young people a sense of whatever they pursue is valuable and as important as being a banker.
I wish that I would have had the courage to pursue my interests in drama, dance, writing and photography and not allowing it to die down slowly in order to be more ‘productive’ or a valuable member of society.
Coming to Ireland has blown my mind away – being different and creative is celebrated here! We encourage our young people to discover their gifts, talents and skills and to pursue them. I have discovered that I never really allowed myself to pursue what I love doing, because I didn’t have the encouragement I needed. I felt ‘me’ and alive when I was on stage performing, yet I pushed it aside when I finished school.
Right now I feel like a teenager again; discovering what I am good at, and allowing myself to express it and fight for it.
But still, I want to do everything perfectly. My standard is ridiculously high!
So is my perfectionism nature or nurture? Maybe the answer is ‘yes’. In my case I guess, I always thought being successful makes me valuable. That’s what I need to overcome: my value lies not in what I do, but in who I am. That’s key in overcoming perfectionism and becoming the fullest version of me.
Next step on my journey: taking photography and cooking classes.