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In Pursuit of Perfection

"Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order."- Anne Wilson Schaef

I had a great conversation with Andrea Morrison on this week's IC show. We talked about a subject that many of us humans experience: 'imposter-syndrome' and feeling 'not good enough.' Even though Andrea was a highly successful Barrister and a mother of 3 young children, she still thought that she was falling short somehow. It didn't matter how hard she pushed herself; she always felt that she wasn't a good enough mother or a competent enough Barrister. Pretty soon, her drive for 'Perfection' resulted in burnout and a severe case of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. At some time or another, often in our formative years, some of us have innocently internalized a message that we were 'not good enough' just as we are. We have a voice within us that tells us that we need to keep improving ourselves to earn love and acceptance. We become Human Doers rather than Human Beings. We believe that our value is based on what we accomplish and how we look, rather than who we are. We drive ourselves into the ground until our bodies scream, "Stop." Sometimes, our bodies make us so sick we have no other option than to grind to a halt. Interestingly, this way of thinking can manifest in many different forms. Some of us become high achievers gathering as many titles, credentials, and certifications as possible, never to achieve the satisfaction we are yearning for. While others of us never leave the gate. Fear and lack of confidence holding us back. I was a combination of both. The irony is that nobody did this to me. I did it to myself. I was the ones who created the impossible standards by which I was supposed to live by. I was the one that set the bar so high that it was always just beyond my reach. Nobody handed me a list and said, "check off all these boxes, and then you'll have proved yourself as worthy." No, I created the list. I made up the rules. I was the judge and the jury of my self-worth. It's tempting to blame it on my parents or society for imposing these expectations on me, but the truth is, I was the one that was perpetuating the myth of perfection. Before coming across the 3 Principles, I'd innocently created a world that I thought existed outside of myself. A world that required that I meet all these standards of perfection in order to achieve a certain level of happiness and satisfaction. I didn't understand that I was the one creating the world I lived in, via my thinking. When I saw this for what it was, a made-up world consisting of impossible standards, and I was free to create a whole new world for me to live in. A kinder, gentler world where I could relax and accept myself just as I was. Now, if I were to tell you that I always live in a world of self-acceptance, I would be lying. I still find myself wishing I had more qualifications, less wrinkles and a bathroom scale that lied to me, but I don't. The difference is that I now know that I have a choice as to which world I want to live in. The world of 'Impossible Standards of Perfection' or the world of 'Self-love and Acceptance.' I know which world I prefer to live… how about you? With love and appreciation, Del 💕

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