Imagine the proverbial dark and stormy night. You slip, unseen, through the shadows, weapon of choice in your hand. Tonight is THE night. Nothing can stand in your way.
Murder is in the air. Can you feel it?
You’re about to kill someone close to you…very close.
No, I haven’t started a new career as a trainer for criminal masterminds…Yet. I’m not encouraging you to break the law either. Instead, I’m inviting you to murder the one thing in your life that holds you back from being the person you’re meant to be in more ways than you can ever imagine.
Today, my lovelies, I’m inviting you to crush the life out of that annoying perfectionist living inside you.
The problem with perfectionism
You know, I’m all for trying to be better. The pursuit of achieving more than I have before can be a rush. No doubt about that, but the concept of perfect is so subjective that it’s essentially unattainable.
I’m not a fan of striving for the unattainable. That all but assures failure.
In our last post, we talked about how perfectionism fosters inactivity, yet there’s more to it. The pursuit of nothingness is bad, but what about the flip-side? What about once you achieve the unattainable?
What about when you deem something perfect?
Some of the most brilliant and gifted artists – Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello…you know, those Ninja Turtle dudes – didn’t really consider their works perfect or even wholly complete. Yet, their disappointments are what we consider to be masterpieces.
This is the problem with perception. No matter how you view something, no matter how impartial you try to be, someone will always have an opposing opinion. So, what you deem perfect will invariably be under the scrutiny of others.
At this point, a couple of things can happen:
- They tell you it’s not perfect, potentially doing so in such a way that you begin feeling bad about yourself
- They agree and bask in the utter perfection with you, leading you to wonder, “what’s left?”
Yes, the disagreement that leads to lower self-esteem is bad, don’t get me wrong, but I believe it’s the latter that’s most damaging. Think about it: By definition, you have no way to improve upon perfection. You’re done. There’s nothing left to accomplish.
Perfectionism leads to some rather sad feelings, if you ask me. Better to murder her and go along your merry way. (I’m a chick, so my inner perfectionist is a chick, too. Yours doesn’t have to be, of course.)
Deciding to murder perfectionism
Murder isn’t something one should jump to lightly, even when we’re discussing a personality trait nestled deep within us. Truthfully, the concept of perfect may not cause an issue in your life. You might just be better adjusted to the business of living than I am.
Until recently, I never minded being a perfectionist and I certainly didn’t notice any of the ways it was holding me back. Of course, then the perfect contradiction of two things struck me – and struck me hard. I bet you’ve heard these sayings as well:
Practice makes perfect.
Okay, so…which is it? Can I attain perfection or is it all an exercise in futility? Or, are we trying to say that people aren’t perfect, but actions can be?
No. No. No. NO!
I don’t want to have nothing left to achieve any more than I want to avoid doing things for fear of failure. No, the endless question spiral must stop. I’m going to murder perfectionism in my life.
So, I guess I’d best teach you how to do it as well…just in case you’ve been itching to pull the trigger, too.
How to murder perfect
Sure, you can go off half-cocked, but a perfect murder – one to murder perfect – requires a bit of planning. Here’s the plan:
- Acknowledge you aren’t perfect, aren’t meant to be and never will be
- Examine the areas of your life in which you strive for perfection
- Figure out why you’re so desperate to be perfect – or to be seen as perfect, as the case may be
- Realize you can’t truly fail unless you stop trying to achieve the goals that matter to you
- Understand that perfect is little more than an illusion you’re creating in your own head.
Notice I said you’re the one creating the illusion, not the Negativity Beast. This is important because the Negativity Beast takes a long, long time to slay, but this concept of perfection? Oh, no…if you created it, you can kill it, honey. Now.
Hmm…It all seems a little psychological for a good murder, doesn’t it? I noticed that too. Let’s talk about the hidden step, shall we?
Committing your perfect murder
Look at #3. There’s a reason you and I are so desperate to have people think we’re perfect. There’s a reason we want to be perfect. Find it and tie it to a chair in a dark warehouse on the docks.
Now, that you’ve taken your hostage, interrogate it by any means necessary to get to the root of the issue. Does it boil down to self-esteem or a need for external validation? Is it an old expectation put on your parents and teachers back in the day? Don’t be scared to threaten your reason for perfection until it sings like a canary. If you don’t get to the bottom of it – the big boss, if you will – perfectionism henchmen will keep coming after you.
Did you get your answers? No? Get your butt back in there and scare the hell out of the reason tied to that chair until you get directions to the big boss’s secret lair. Go.
Just like in every good thriller, we can’t let the reason go once we get our answers. It knows to much. Shove it in the river and head deeper into your psyche to attack the boss.
And once you find that perfect enemy in your head? Metaphorical bullet between the eyes, knife to the gut, cement shoes and a visit to all the pretty deep water fish…It’s really all the same. Pick your poison and murder that incessant need inside for perfectionism.
Ooh…poison. Another old standby.
So, how did your interrogation go? How will you murder that pesky perfectionist in you? Personally, I’m going with the slow moving machine that lowers her into a vat of acid or sharks or rabid sea bass because it’s awesome.
© 2011, Jen Whitten. All rights reserved. Using content from The Positive Piper without permission will cause the Negativity Beast to attack. BEWARE!