I’m gonna just say it. Perfectionism is blasphemous. It goes well beyond being damaging to you. Being perfect is NOT your job. It’s not your job. It’s also not possible, and I don’t just mean it’s out of reach because it’s too hard. I mean that perfectionism is not attained based on your decisions so no matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t possibly approach it.
One of the things that is causing you the most grief and stress is trying to control everything. You’re trying to control people, events, experiences, how you get treated, the opportunities you get, the things you fear, the things that might cause you pain.
You try to avoid pain, avoid failure, avoid criticism, avoid things you don’t like, avoid being misunderstood, avoid doing or saying the wrong thing, avoid missing opportunities, avoid hurting people’s feelings, avoid having your feelings hurt. You tell your mind “this is how I want things to be. Don’t let anything hurt me, scare me, defeat me, offend me, and don’t let anything I do hurt, scare, or offend anyone else. Make sure this is how the world works, okay?” And you mind says “Okey dokey! You got it, boss!” And it spends all its time warning you, protecting you, nudging you, and sheltering you from anything that might cause you any kind of pain.
This is an impossible task. YOUR brain can’t possibly be in control of other people’s perceptions of you. YOUR brain can’t control events put in motion by others. YOUR brain can’t control what other people say to you or think about you. Experiencing uncomfortable and painful things is part of life. Failure is evidence that you are growing and trying and LIVING. Never failing means that you are playing incredibly small, way below your potential, and setting the stage for regret.
Instead of trying to built a fortress around yourself to protect you from pain and growth and success and failure, you have to experience life as it comes, the good and the bad. Accept that pain comes and goes, that failure is an event and not a person, that some people will love and adore you and some people won’t. Choose to be okay with yourself in the face of all these challenges and know that YOU are enough. Stop trying to control everything in order to feel okay and to feel safe and instead understand that being okay is, in itself, a choice. You can be hurt AND be okay. You can fail AND be okay. You can get dumped AND be okay. You can be criticized AND be okay. Your pain and your happiness can ebb and flow in a symbiotic relationship where neither the experience of pain or the avoidance of pain are overrunning your life. That’s how you open yourself up to experiencing happiness, peace, and contentment.
You keep trying to control external things to create internal peace, but the reality is that the way to internal peace is to surrender control of everything outside yourself and only try control your response to what you experience in the present moment. It’s The Matrix: “do not try to bend the spoon; that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth–there is no spoon. Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends; it is only yourself.”
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The most miraculous thing happened twice in the last 2 days! Effortless happiness for no reason came over me!
Some background: until my early 20’s, I lived in a chronic state of depression. I literally didn’t know anything else. I put a negative spin on everything. I was scared of life. My inner voice was a total bully–super mean and nasty.
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