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Perfectionism Then And Now

I did it again!

Last week I worked through the night to complete a piece of work that was due the next day. I wanted my work to be perfect. It indeed was perfect, on time, and I got no sleep. I felt good about myself, though. I was THE GOOD BOY. I managed to make it through the day despite the sleepless night.

The next couple of nights, I had trouble getting to sleep. I was anticipating a test I was going to take. A while back, I had failed the test. I had no problems with that. However, "I do not forgive myself for failing a second time". This has been my rule all my life. I did fail the second time. Result: I was devastated and started beating myself up. I was feeling disappointed, hurt, ashamed, angry, frustrated, stressed, stuck, negative, and to my surprise, even enraged. I internalized them, as is my pattern. As a consequence, I got sick. The combination of my body's immune system having been weakened by the cumulative lack of sleep and the toxicity of these internalized negative feelings caused my body to react.

This is one among countless examples of perfectionism in my life. I have been setting standards for myself based on others' expectations of me. I did not realize this until recently … and I am 50 years old. I learned perfectionism from my parents, relatives, school, and church. My standards had to look like theirs. I was punished if they did not. Furthermore, I learned that I could earn the love of my family and teachers by doing all I could to be THE GOOD BOY. Even though I am living thousands of miles away from my homeland and that imprinting took place several decades ago, the patterns persist. The voices in my head dictate my actions and control my entire life.

Now I am looking at perfectionism right in the face. I know its origin. I can observe its mechanisms. Essentially, perfectionism is the schism between the reality of what I want and the standard I set to achieve what I want. This schism creates the need to beat myself up whether the standard is met or not.

The story above exemplifies both cases: first meeting the standard, then failing to meet the standard. In both cases, the consequences are the same: the beat-up costs me my health (not sleeping enough, getting sick, eating in a rush, gastritis, etc…); it erodes my relationship with my close ones (child, significant other) and with my friends (too busy to socialize, no time to play, etc…). What appear to be isolated situations produce a ripple effect that touches everyone and everything in my life in a hurtful way. I erroneously believe I am the only one who knows about these situations.

Today I want to end this self-abuse and covert abuse of others. I want to quiet all the voices in my head. I want to release them. The fever I had created was like the cleansing fire, burning away the chimeras and restoring silence in my head.

I want to learn how to align my reality with the standards I set. I want to practice this consistently in all areas of my life from now till my death. I need a reference by which to set my standards. Until now, the reference was the voices in my head. They are gone. My new reference is my Soul. My Soul is that part of me that is my Truth; not someone else's Truth. In all situations of my life, Soul is now my unique reference. My reality is my Truth. My standards are my Truth in Soul alignment. This Soul alignment is Divine in quality. It is expanding and uniting. The human experience of perfectionism is one of contraction and separation. I have chosen expansion and oneness.

 

 


 

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