The Roots of Perfectionism

The Roots of Perfectionism

What a rough day; which, if I am in the right mindset can be a great opportunity for growth and learning! Lucky me, I have forgiven myself whole heartedly enough to feel the lessons emerge.

Anyone who knows me in the slightest can probably gather than I am a perfectionist. Now, this characteristic proves to be very useful to me at times! Today however, was not one of those times. To keep it brief, I did not perform well on a work related assignment. My immediate reaction, tears and disbelief. My internal conversation, "I pride myself in excellence, how could this be? A poor grade? ME! What could this mean?" For the sake of transparency what was really happening, fear.

“At its root, perfectionism isn’t really about a deep love of being meticulous. It’s about fear. Fear of making a mistake. Fear of disappointing others. Fear of failure. Fear of success.” ~ Michael Law

Oh man, was I gripped in fear. I allowed my entire identity to become momentarily engulfed in fear. My worth, self-love, compassion and patience got thrown out the window. So what is the deep dark motivator, the core of it all; "What if I am not enough?" Even writing that makes me take a long deep breath.

The beauty of this entire experience is that after I had my defensive, fear-oriented reaction I took a step back (ok ok, so it took me hours to get there!). I can now work with the truth of my reaction and focus on the wounds that are still in need of healing; rather than exhausting all my energy on the perceived imperfect results. Now as I sit here, I practice self compassion, recognizing this will not be the end of this journey towards true and unconditional self-love.

Fear is the catapult to so many of our defensive reactions. However, we let our dramatic responses pull us away from the vulnerable truth. Perhaps next time we feel ourselves becoming taken over with these false ideals, we can take a deep breath and slowly allow the truth to surface.

Shine on!