The Parisian Perfectionist                            

In a previous post, I wrote about Katherine Morgan Schafler, who has written a book that’s changing my life.  In The Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control: A Path to Peace and Power, she frees up perfectionists to lean into their perfectionism as long as it’s doing no harm (more on that in future posts.) Schafler has developed a quiz to help you learn where you fall on the perfectionism spectrum – not all perfectionists care about the same things or act the same way about every issue.

My first post described the Classic Perfectionist. But perhaps my favorite of Schafler’s categories is the Parisian Perfectionist. She describes them this way: “Parisian perfectionists want to be perfectly liked, an “achievement” other types of perfectionists don’t prize. Parisian perfectionists want ideal relationships with their partners, with themselves, with their colleagues, with everyone.”

Classic perfectionists don’t necessarily need to be loved (respected, yes, loved, optional) and they don’t overvalue the opinions of others who don’t see the world the same way they do. But if a Parisian perfectionist senses someone doesn’t like them, it will be like an itch under their skin they can’t shake off.

The fact that they care so much also makes them feel bad about themselves. They hate it that they crave love and admiration – they can’t imagine themselves saying “who cares what anyone thinks?” They also don’t want people to know how much they care about being perfect; they try to pretend that their perfect look, home, yard, dinner was simply effortless. If you’ve heard someone say, “sorry for the mess” as you enter an immaculate office or home, you’ve probably met the Parisian perfectionist.

They apologize a lot. “Sorry I’m such a mess; I just threw something on to run to the store.” (Sporting Jackie Kennedy-esque outfit, hair and perfect makeup.) “I hope the usual Tuesday night dinner is good enough – we weren’t expecting company.” (Boeuf Bourguignon and homemade baguette.) “Sorry this looks so thrown together – I didn’t have time to design a custom cover.” (For an internal meeting agenda.) You get the idea.

Schafler says that Parisian perfectionists fear failure and disapproval more than the Classic perfectionist, so they’ll hide their effort and only reveal a project when they’re sure it won’t fail – and that it will win everyone’s approval and praise. “Parisian perfectionists invest a great deal of emotional energy into everything they do; they want a commensurate emotional return on their investment (i.e., validation and connection) and can be left hurt and angry if they don’t get it,” Schafler writes.

Schafler named the Parisan perfectionist in honor of French women, who she says “exude an aesthetic sense of effortlessness when it comes to beauty (but behind the scenes do a lot more work than they care to admit or want others to know about.)”

I totally get it, and for my Parisian perfectionist (mostly) sisters and brethren out there, I offer this: once you’ve developed a perfect system, for organizing, for keeping your home guest-ready, for dressing and keeping up your appearances, it doesn’t take that much effort to keep it perfect. That’s the point of perfection – or at least close to what you consider ideal for you.

For all our marriage, my husband and I have agreed that we’ll keep the house looking like it should (guest ready) so we never have to scramble or apologize. And as I write this, I’ve just said goodbye to an unexpected guest who’s known us socially for years, but never seen our home. Her whole impression of us  – and how together we seem to have it  – could have been made or broken by her welcome, but unexpected drop-by.

There’s a lot to love about Parisian perfectionists when they come to terms with who they are. Schafler says, “Unlike classic perfectionists, who can unintentionally exude an air of distance and superiority, Parisian perfectionists operate in a way that celebrates and invites a myriad of different types of meaningful relationships into their lives.” They’re loving and loveable, once they embrace their perfectionist superpower.

In my next post, you’ll learn about some people you would never suspect were perfectionists.

Published by candacemoody

Candace’s background includes Human Resources, recruiting, training and assessment. She spent several years with a national staffing company, serving employers on both coasts. Her writing on business, career and employment issues has appeared in the Florida Times Union, the Jacksonville Business Journal, the Atlanta Journal Constitution and 904 Magazine, as well as several national publications and websites. Candace is often quoted in the media on local labor market and employment issues.

Source link
All Materials on this website/blog are only for Learning & Educational purposes. It is strictly recommended to buy the products from the original owner/publisher of these products. Our intention is not to infringe any copyright policy. If you are the copyright holder of any of the content uploaded on this site and don’t want it to be here. Instead of taking any other action, please contact us. Your complaint would be honored, and the highlighted content will be removed instantly.

Leave a Comment

Share via
Copy link