I am a closet perfectionist.
What is a closet perfectionist you might ask?
Someone who presents an image of being on top of his or her game, outwardly successful, for all intents and purpose getting shit done.
But all the while, constantly questioning myself, holding myself back from doing things I really should be doing, giving way to resistance.
In my early school life it was asking questions. I didn’t understand something, so up would go my hand. No point of reflection on the possibility I could come up with the answer.
It’s been said that the predominant majority of questions asked in a classroom setting are ones we already know the answer to, we just want someone to tell us we are right. We don’t want to do something and fail, so we ask the question just so we can be certain, before we pull the trigger on our own plan or decision.
The great teachers don’t even answer the questions. They ask you to look inside for the answers, or to take the time to research it yourself. Being inquisitive is essential, deferring the effort to someone else is not.
How often do you find yourself answering the question, “How are you?” with, “I’m busy”.
All too often I am sure!
Being truly busy, means you literally have no space in your day for simple self-reflection, rest, or god forbid, boredom!
That kind of busy is concocted to fill space. Space means you might think. And when you think, you often think negative thoughts. A lot of those negative thoughts are judgmental of you, insulting to you, they are thoughts that in most cases you would never even say about others, but you’ll say them about you.
So instead of thinking those thoughts, instead of becoming aware of them and finding triggers to change them and move away from them, you find something to distract them with, a play toy of sorts. And the busyness begins again.
Schedule this appointment so it cuts your day into useless time pieces and reduces functional efficiency.
Take a meeting or a call from someone who really could be held off, but once you engage, well you get to avoid. All the time justifying your behaviour because they really needed your help. If you ask yourself if they too could have found the answer themselves, well, you get the idea.
Social media has a definite place in our world today, and it is growing almost exponentially on a daily basis. But one of the things it has become is a big-ass distraction. It is a procrastinators nightmare, and by extension a perfectionists bad dream.
Because it is self-perpetuating and generally endless, it is very difficult to disconnect from completely. There is plenty of research out there now documenting the influence it has on the hormonal system of the body, almost duplicating the stimulus of some illegal substances.
We are often, in essence, addicted to SM.
But that addiction serves a perfectionist. If I spend time on SM I can impress upon others that I am on point, I am perfect. I am living a golden life. No one has to see the ugly side, they can just see the good stuff. Instalife!
Creating that life then becomes a cycle of compare and contrast. How am I doing compared to so and so, how is she doing compared to someone else? Now we become transfixed on the outcome. Now the outcome we want becomes gray or lost, it’s not living up to perfect, not by any stretch.
So we medicate our negative feelings with, you guessed it, doing stuff.
Or perhaps other ways.
We waist more time and we keep circling around on this crazy path of resistance, never really finding deep satisfaction in what we are achieving, simply existing for the time being.
What is the counter punch to perfection?
Understanding that not doing it right the first time has very little consequence of significance unless you authorize it to have significance.
You try the trapeze on holiday’s and you don’t catch the bar the first time. So what, you are embarrassed, why? Because you expect to be perfect and now that you are not, YOU are not amused. Do you really think anyone else really cares?
Think about the last time you did something you thought was truly stupid (it probably wasn’t that stupid, but you certainly made it so!). Now as you reflect on that moment, do you think anyone who was there really thinks about that moment anymore? Do you really think they’re telling your story at the wedding speech, or as the opening joke at their presentation forum?
Not likely, it’s probably been flushed out of their subconscious and definitely out of their consciousness never to be found again.
It just didn’t matter!
But we make it matter by constantly reviewing it in our minds.
So embrace it, become aware of it, understand it is there and influencing you.
Start catching yourself in that conversation. Own the noise!
Work with the noise, settle it, and re-frame it. With awareness comes ownership, with ownership comes accountability, and finally change.
Once you change the dialogue and you can open space, then resistance will be futile. You’ll start to see space as valuable. You’ll start to use it to do things you really want to accomplish, and not just stuff to keep you busy.
You’ll start to imagine your adventures, and you’ll start to see the possibilities.
You’ll come out from the fog of resistance!
Originally published at medium.com