Open the Door to Compassion
By LBDinNYC on May 19, 2011
Writers are usually told "write what you know". It's a solid piece of common sense advice, since very often writing well comes with knowing the territory you're exploring. Or, if it's something you don't know well, being the quizzical, curious one willing to ask questions about a strange, new world...
What is this thing you call creme brulee*? Why do your people use a blow torch as part of the preparation?
*My original post said flan. Oops.
That would be me writing my first food article.
When I think about something I know well, it's perfectionism, the result of which is excellence and, at other times, self criticism and negativity. I'm going to focus on restructuring and helping the latter, since I'm a caught in a little bit of a cycle of it myself.
I'm angry at the weather. Let's just start there. A good barometer for how I'm feeling is how peeved I get at Mother Nature for depriving me and the rest of the tri-state area of sunshine. 5 days straight of rain. For what it's worth, if MN were in the flesh, I'd have a hard time resisting a bitch slap. And I'm a feminist.
If I had to "unpack" my perfection, and that really is a perfect word to use since it's BAGGAGE, I would say that it's about a desire to reach or attain certain standards, a complete lost sense of the time it takes to attain said standards (Oh, overnight success, how you seduce me with you promise of instant gratification. Go away. Go hang with other wannabe instants. Like Sanka.), an over-valuing of the standard paired with an devaluing of what I've already achieved, and, in case you haven't noticed, self absorption.
Focusing on yourself and working towards achieving your goals? Great. Remaining plunged in self evaluation or criticism of yourself and the world around you, as if all that attention will somehow cause change? Defeating.
So, if I were going to get up today and go out into the world as a perfectionist, I can easily crush my spirit. The weather is cloudy-rainy-cool again. I am going to my day job not my dream job. I am teaching intenSati at Equinox tonight but I am still not at my goal weight, so I don't belong. I am coming home to an empty apartment later tonight to continue my latest obsession -- Season 1 of Weeds (LOVE IT) instead of dinner with my sig other (bc I don't have a sig other)...
Self pity is a symptom of perfectionism.
The reason I wake up happy, grateful, content, right sized and in the arms of Good Perspective on some days, while other mornings or days or weeks, I walk around with my hands bound behind my back by the controlling and intrusive Perfectionism, is beyond me.
So, I tell my critical voice, or, I ask my critical voice to please leave me alone. Tiring! I invite the alternative, which is Love and Gratitude:
I invite loving my body that is healthy but not skinny.
I invite loving my abundant career that is unfolding but not at its pinnacle.
I invite loving that I've discovered with clarity what my passions are and I have courage to pursue them every day.
I invite loving a job that pays the bills and puts me in contact with other people who love entertainment as I do.
I invite gratitude for the proximity of my family and friends.
I invite gratitude for enough money in my bank account today.
I invite gratitude for the mild air and the smell of rain on the leaves of trees.
I invite gratitude for my education, all I've learned and what I will continue to learn.
Tara Brach talks about the ease of being with your own imperfection. She understands how much anxiety perfectionism can cause and while I'm not sure how she goes on to explain its roots, she certainly talks about Compassion as a remedy.
Can it be that simple? Really? I think so. I know so. This, because as I finish up this little post and enter into a deeper state of self love, care and compassion, I can feel the thinking slip away. I can feel myself relax. Without any shift in the world around me or substance to calm me down, without an external object to rage at in order to take some focus off my own self criticism, I can feel some easiness.
I think that is the promise of Compassion and as close to Perfect as one can get these days. Alright? All Right...