February’s article theme is perfect! Check out The Making of a Perfectionist, which, of course, includes The Unmaking of a Perfectionist.
Here's a perfect present for you.
We wannabe perfect people are always trying to control the past, the future and everyone and everything in it. We assess and label the quality of a situation by some standard of our own that we cannot hope to live up to. We continuously chase that concept, judging the past or dreaming of 'perfection' in the future. We are so busy thinking about what already happened and trying to direct what will happen that we miss the only thing that is perfect, the present.
The present is neither good nor bad, it just is. The present does not judge or cling. There is no right or wrong and all emotions are equal. They just exist. There is nothing to strive for right now, there is only being. In this moment, the present is the source of all there is, making it perfect.
We as humans are only perfect when we become that part of us that is our source. When we look inside to our centre, our consciousness, our soul, we find perfection. We can only be present to our true selves, this divine core, right now, in every moment. It is a choice we make continuously.
When we are present in the Holy Spirit of our self, we are perfect.
So to truly be a perfectionist, we only need to be present, because the present is perfect, and we are perfect when present.
The Making of a Perfectionist:
The best perfectionists are born into a family full of rules and order. They enter the world in a timely fashion, if not early, showing good promise of punctuality.
For the early years, home life is structured and routine is revered. For example, meals are held at exactly the same time every day, so show up or miss out. To set the bar appropriately high, everything is nutritious, delicious and homemade.
Days have a regular flow and weeks follow similar patterns as days. Practice is expected for any hobby or undertaking. Language is proper and corrected if wrong. There is a pecking order and roles for every family member. Everybody goes to church, every Sunday.
The house is organized, especially the kitchen, not to be messed with. There is a place for every pot and dish. If used, they must return to their exact same spot. This is so you don’t ever have to go hunting for them. Pots, glasses and dishes are stacked or arranged largest to smallest. The fridge has order too. Certain items go in the door, others on the top shelf etc. Substituting the ketchup’s place with the milk would be very confusing for everyone.
When moving out, it is wise to use the same arrangement so other family members can step in and easily take over. In fact, replicate all rules, roles and order to ensure it’s all just right.
By the time you are ready to interact with others, even as a child, you will already know there is a right way to do everything. You will be puzzled when others do not always do things the right way. You will be helpful and correct them. Soon you will learn others may not want your advice, so you will have to learn to be tolerant of their ignorant ways.
Eventually you will run out of situations where you have experience in knowing the right way. You will have to make it up. This requires logic and reasoning followed by staunch defense of the “right way”. Defense is the only way to convince others and reinforce, at least for you, that it is the right way.
Next allow the desire for control to begin to create habits. This can take a variety of forms and can change over time. Start with smoking, watching TV, social media, games, eating and for the daring, move on to alcohol, drugs, hoarding, gambling and so on.
Watch as your knowledge that things aren’t finished until done properly, morphs into super-responsibility. This makes you a great employee, so you get more responsibilities and the ball is rolling! Of course it helps that you can see the right way, when no-one else, including your boss, does not, so you have to get their job to fix it. Now you have responsibilities at work, a routine and roles at home to adhere to and habits to make you feel like you are in control.
Welcome to perfectionism!
The Unmaking of a Perfectionist:
This phase starts with chaos of the nature that wiped out Jurassic Park. This is usually created through an external influence including a person or event. It is unforeseen, unexplainable and unwilling to follow the program. It is so far out of your comfort zone you can’t believe it’s real and are morbidly curious. You will try to fix it. You may have some success, but true chaos is relentless. If it doesn’t jar your righteousness the first time, it gets bigger and louder each time it arrives until you pay attention.
Warning: This will hurt.
Meanwhile, the weight of your responsibilities and fear that you are not doing things right will lead to anxiety. Responsible people get anxiety. People who think there is a right and wrong way to do everything get anxiety. Similar to chaos, anxiety starts out mild and when ignored grows exponentially. Worry and stress turn into scary thoughts. What if I do (insert some scary thing like hit the gas instead of the brake at a red light) and embarrass myself? Embarrassment is the worst thing imaginable. Scary thoughts turn into scarier thoughts. What if I’m going crazy?
It becomes much easier to live in the past or future than here with the scary thoughts. Sometimes when the scary thoughts are about your health, you can begin to experience health problems. Your inner know-it-all voice has a field day by providing a litany of what’s wrong with you. Ignored, anxiety turns into phobias and isolation from others.
Chaos and anxiety become self-fulfilling prophecies. The harder you try to control them and life in general, the larger they grow. For brief moments, in the midst of the most chaotic of chaos, you will know control is not possible. As anxiety turns into panic, you know somewhere inside this is beyond your capacity to fix. This is not what you wanted.
If you recognize the truth inside the madness, you can begin to unravel your stoic stance. You can hear the negative thoughts ruling your life and remove their stingers. You can shift the right way into the best intention. Responsibility will begin to relax. Habits change to supportive rituals. Control surrenders to your ability to create. While the pots may still sit in ascending order in the cupboard, you are free to enjoy whatever today brings, which is already perfect.