If I want to stop being a perfectionist, then who do I want to be?
A pendulum swings back and forth in my mind as I consider this question.
One side of the arc is rigid, controlled, dictatorial and fake…lacking freedom and drunk with power. The other side is just as terrifying: permissive, lazy, unstructured, and lacking scruples, void of any moral and ethical fiber. Swinging back and forth from one extreme to the other, neither one is a good option: self-annihilation on one end, and the end of the human decency on the other. I have stated before that I fear my life will fall apart if I don’t insist on perfection. If I don’t hold a high standard and require others to live up to that standard as well, I fear the world may fall apart for lack of discipline, care and attention to detail.
When did I become Atlas, with the whole world on my shoulders straining under the herculean effort to save the human race from apathy?
I know it is absurd to think it is my responsibility to ensure that the world “behaves well.” I can only do my own work to be myself. My job is to excavate down to find the real me, underneath the projected image I feel compelled to show people. The dead center of this pendulum swing is where the best version of myself resides. When there is no energy, the pendulum just hangs there still and heavy, pointing straight down toward the truth.
The truth is that I am an authentic, courageous, and honest person. That is who I want to be.
I will continue to be a person of integrity who holds high standards but, I must also learn to be realistic and forgiving when things don’t go as planned. I will strive to voice my ideas even to the disapproving faces of fear and rejection and ultimately stop the pendulum from swinging in the first place. I load it with energy every time I think I am not good enough without reaching some perfect ideal. I’ll never be free while chasing the elusive carrot of perfection. I will end up clipping my own wings, and that is no way to live my life.
A question remains, and that is how to stop the pendulum from swinging once it has started? Do I just wait for it to lose its potential energy and settle in the center or can I reach in and suspend the motion myself?