From a very early age, I suffered from the disease of perfectionism. I did not know it until the past few years when I became conscious enough to understand how the patterns learned in my childhood are played out over and over again in my life. These patterns often control us. Once we become conscious of them and why we react/act from them, we can make other choices. The goal is flexibility. To be able to use that which serves us when it serves us. So we do not act compulsively. So we act consciously from the freshness of who we are in the present moment.
Once I became conscious of how the disease of perfectionism controlled my life as a youth through early adulthood, I was also able to understand how it has served me and brought me to a place of freedom. Doing The Work over the years, I have come to understand the meaning of Perfection versus perfectionism. It is a paradox. Once I truly came to know that I am a Spiritual Being having a human experience, I came to understand that on the Soul level, I am Perfect. That everything is Perfect and in Divine Order. That Divine Order is Always in Place. This is the Perfection and the paradox. The ego strives to maintain the disease of perfectionism - being in control at all costs. The Soul knows only Perfection in all things.
From an egoic perspective, I do not feel very perfect. I do not feel that everything in my life is perfect. My ego strives to be in control. It does its job perfectly. Its functions are control, manipulation, protection, defense, judgement, and criticism. From the human level, I struggle with this. When I feel I have no control, I become reactive. I react from a place of victim consciousness. From the Soul perspective, I understand the ego is just doing its job. I can choose not to react. I can embrace and respond as appropriate. I can choose to become the Watcher/Soul. From a place of neutrality, with full awareness of myself as Soul, I can see the Perfection. I have the awareness that my life is unfolding just as it should. Rather than feeling stuck on the ego's pendulum moving between perfectionism and victimhood, clinging to my perfectionism to stay in control, I can surrender. I can embrace both sides without attachment and stand in neutrality as the Watcher/Soul.
In order to get love from my parents, I became a perfectionist. It was a learned behavior, a negative love pattern. The standard of perfectionism was either set or implied in my family. I had no control over or consciousness of this pattern running me. I would do things over and over trying to make them perfect. Trying to be perfect. I was very, very stressed. I was not at choice.
Through The Work, I have come to understand that perfectionism can also serve one "perfectly" in some situations. Precise production of the notes on a piano makes the difference between a melodious piece of music and noise. In teaching correct speech sound patterns to my students, if I fail to teach the child to place the tongue in the precise spot for production of a particular sound, the result will be a distorted sound. Becoming conscious of the paradox of Perfection (Soul) and perfectionism (ego) has made a huge difference in my life. It has brought me significantly more freedom. With my Soul's guidance, I can choose from whatever serves me perfectly in the moment. In a particular situation, I can expect perfection if it serves me in that moment, yet can release it as soon as it no longer serves me. My work is to discern when it is appropriate and when it is not. This is part of my Awakening process.
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