The quote above is from an email response I sent to a friend, a brilliant attorney, who also hosts a radio show. I'd written to thank him for sending an archived file of an interview he'd done with my recently deceased mother in law about her involvement in British Intelligence during World War ll.
The interview was fascinating and added greatly to the details I'd already known. Everything about the interview was top notch. Good music, great questions, a wealth of information - the works. The response I received to my thank you was as follows:
"You are quite welcome. As with every show that I do, so with Dorothy...I realize afterwards how shallow I have dragged my net. So much more depth than I captured."
Perfectionism has been beating the fun out of my life for as long as I can remember. It's the reason that millions of other imperfect bodies can enjoy being at the pool in swimsuits and I missed out on those good times with my children. It's the reason I don't try many of the things I'd love to pursue. Perfectionism is also the reason my husband and I have had to walk around in white plastic booties for the past two days looking like overgrown snow elves - but I've gotten ahead of myself.
As I mentioned, we recently said goodbye to my mother in law. It hasn't been an easy thing - made worse by the appearance of the big bad bully! I wanted to make memorial posters to celebrate her life. I spent three straight days migraining over the possibility that they wouldn't be good enough. In the end, they were beautiful but it wasn't because of the relentless fiend beating me over the head. It was in spite of it.
Perfectionism keeps me from being able to accept a sincere complement. All I see is where I've failed or could have done a bit more - or better.
Perfectionism whispers "you're not good enough" at regular intervals throughout the day just so I don't forget and actually relax. It says "everyone is judging you" and "you can't possibly ___" (fill in the blank.) It's a relentless critic who is diligent and watchful.
I don't expect perfection from others. I have mercy and understanding to spare for the human part of human nature - except my own. In a way it's almost arrogant when I stop to think of how I believe I need to be better than I expect others to be.
Back to the white booties and snow elves. I took one look at my carpet - the same carpet I'd never have even noticed anywhere else - and realized that it absolutely had to be cleaned before the family came for Mom's memorial service. Heaven forbid anyone visit our home and find out we actually live in it! So, after convincing my husband to abandon reason in favor of sanity, the appointment was made and the carpets were cleaned.
Then the air conditioner broke down. With 94% humidity, carpets aren't in a hurry to release moisture into already drenched air so needless to say the carpets are still wet - enter snow elf booties! I had plenty to do without elf booties being a part of the equation. In fact, the carpet cleaning debacle has added yet another item for the voice to whisper about and cite as further evidence of my not-good-enoughness.
Make no mistake friends, perfectionism is NOT something to brag about, be proud of, or strive to have as an associate. It's a merciless tyrant that I plead you won't entertain.
My life has been sending me lots of clues recently that say this has to stop. Three days of migraines was hard not to notice. White elf feet? Really!
Knowing these things about myself doesn't seem to make it easier to let it go - and why should I need to do this on my own? There are pills for everything now! Big pharma can help manage everything from our sex lives to acne. We can wake up or go to sleep by swallowing a pill and be pain free in the worst of circumstances. Where, I ask you, is the "get over yourself" pill - because that's what I need to do - just get over myself!
I'm sorry you're mad that you realize the world doesn't revolve around you. Let me pour you a tall glass of get over it. - Unknown
We need to understand that despite what we believe, the universe does not rise or fall because of what we do or do not do. None of us are important enough to cause cataclysmic concern whether we fail or succeed. Even if we get this thing right - that thing will be lurking right around the corner presenting yet another opportunity to fail miserably.
You wouldn't care so much about what people think about you if you realized how seldom they do. -Unknown
What if we all just decided that our best was good enough - regardless? What might happen if we turned our backs on the bully? Might he just go away?
What if we could find a morsel of mercy for ourselves and apply it liberally? Might we be - dare I say it - content? How could life be different if we could stop believing it's all about us and all up to us? It never has been you know.
Even more important, what if those around us could relax in our presence because we weren't uptight? What if they didn't feel inadequate because they wonder if they're being held to the same ridiculous standards we hold ourselves to? What if we just said "enough" to the bully?
These are some questions I'd love to find the answers to. How about you? If you've already slayed your perfectionism demon, please, I'm begging you, - share your secrets!