Ever since I can remember, I have suffered from the disease of perfectionism. My perfectionism ties deeply into my wanting to be loved by God and my mother, and feeling the only way I could be loved was to be perfect. My ego says it is not possible to be perfect. I felt I would never be worthy of Love. What a devastating catch 22 that is.
Who taught me this disease of perfectionism? Most of my memories around perfectionism come from my mother and her admonitions, judgments, and expectations of me in my childhood. If I got all A's and one B, I was never congratulated on the A's, only "Why did you get a B?" No matter how well I did, it was never good enough. That thread ran through all aspects of my young life. There was a constant fear of falling short of my mother's expectations of perfectionism. If I was not perfect, I was inadequate, and simply not worthy of my mother's or God's Love.
The pain and suffering of falling short of another's expectations, of not being perfect, is a deep wound that is sparked by rage. The rage, when turned inward, can lead to depression and disease. The self-loathing and self-hatred that arises in me when I fall short of perfection is very painful. It has been with me as long as I can remember.
I am angry, no, I am enraged at myself for all of those times I have failed to be perfect. At my workplace, I am outraged with others for falling short of my expectations of them. Their failure brings up my rage, both at them and myself, for not being able to bring their work forward in a more perfect manner.
I constantly beat up on myself for not being perfect. I have become my own hardest taskmaster, raging at myself and others when a task falls short of perfection. My mother is alive and well in me in her roll of the "Perfectionist." To this day the energy of perfectionism runs me. It makes me feel inadequate, unworthy, filled with self-loathing, useless, good for nothing. It is my measure of all I have undertaken to accomplish in this life. It is no small wonder that I often feel trapped by life. The pain and suffering rage inside of me. It is like a living death.
I feel overly responsible for anything and everything I do, because it is so deeply ingrained within me that whatever I accomplish must be perfect. I lose sleep over what I am in the process of doing and how it is not coming out perfectly. I am wound up like a spring waiting for the next judgment, the next unmet expectation to rise and annihilate me. Because of my falling short of being perfect in so many ways, will I ever be worthy of Love? My life is tied up in doing versus Being. My identity, how I present myself to the world, how I measure the success of anything I undertake, is all tied up in perfectionism. There must be another way of living ones life, of truly being able to move from doing to Being. Why are we so tied up in doing versus Being? We are part of a collective consciousness that believes doing and accomplishing must be perfect. We are so caught up in doing. That doing is our stage where everyone can see how well we have done and then applaud us for our accomplishments and give us approval. A stage where we can also be judged for falling short of expectations. I ask myself the question: Do I really want to live out the rest of my life in this manner?
From my Soul, I get a resounding NO!!
There is another manner of doing. One simply does whatever it is without any attachment to the end result. This brings in the potential for deep inner peace in all that one does. All doing arises from Being when one is in a state of peace, without any attachment or expectation to outcomes. One does whatever one does for the pure joy of doing, versus doing for accomplishment. Having no personal investment in what the results are, a whole new way of doing comes about. Know that accomplishment in and of itself is not a "bad thing." Rather, it is the personal attachment to accomplishment and expectations around it. When it gets tied up in perfectionism, it is neither healthy nor appropriate. It is also the identification of these accomplishments with ones identity that keeps the perfectionism alive and active.
There is another perspective for living life. It is commitment to living a Soul-centered life. Knowing that I am totally worthy, just as I am, becomes a beautiful mantra by which to fully live. My deep commitment is to be lovingly present, and to Awaken! This Waking-Up process is about joy, Love, and doing what makes ones Heart sing. It is about total, unequivocal, self-acceptance, and Self-Love. When ones unfinished Mommy/Daddy business/negative childhood patterning is released Consciously, the clearer becomes the union and communion with Soul. What a joy! That is what living a Soul-centered life is all about. Being in union and communion with Soul with every thought, every action, every feeling, every word spoken. It also means making decisions through Love and not fear. Fear is ego-centered. Love is the realm of the Soul.
Love is right there within all of humanity. One only has to go to the Heart to feel and be this Love. Humanity perceives that Love is outside of itself when in reality it couldn't be closer. Love can be brought to every action, every moment, every breath. Love can be brought to every relationship, every friendship, every meeting with another. Love is there whether one ever DOES anything or not. Love is the birthright of humanity. It is choosing Love over fear, as an ongoing and constantly renewing choice that will help to move humanity out of perfectionism. Love is there whether or not one meets the expectations of another or those lofty self-expectations.
Perfectionism has been a great teacher for me. It has taught me to be very focused and centered in all that I undertake. It has taught me to be a marathon runner, being able to bring whatever it is I begin to a conclusion. It has given me staying power. Now that I have become Consciously aware of these dynamics and how they dance themselves in my life, perfectionism has become a tool that I am able to use when it is appropriate, without it running my life in unconscious ways. I would not be where I am today without the teacher of perfectionism. I have deep gratitude for perfectionism and how it has unfolded in my life.
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