All of my life I have struggled with perfectionism. I find myself often feeling like I need to do more and perfectly or to accomplish bigger things to somehow feel adequate or worthy. I feel like I’ve addressed this almost every month in different ways. And now I’m seeing it again in this months homework when my answer to what wasn’t great yesterday – is almost always me not doing enough or perfectly. The result is that by thinking I’m not doing enough (or well enough), I’m not being enough. Does it make sense that such a central issue in my life shows up every month – no matter what we’re working on?
Anyway, this weekend I finally decided that if the same issue keeps coming up, then it’s time I look more deeply at what’s going on here. I decided to turn perfectionism on its head and did a thought experiment to see what my life would be like if I truly believed “everything is already perfect as it is”, “everything is exactly as it should be right now”, “I don’t have to change, fix, or do anything at all”, “I am perfectly whole, complete, worthy and human just as I am (and so is everyone else!)”, “Everything happened exactly as it should have”, etc. I know Brooke and the coaches say things like this all the time but I don’t think I ever really internalized them and examined how my life might change if I did believe them and live my life based on them.
All I can say is wow. I could see how the judgement and beating myself up and pushing myself harder and harder to accomplish more and more would just fall away. I could also see this is path to peace of mind and mental/emotional space that I have been pursuing.
So now my questions are three-fold – I think I know the answers but any advice going forward would be very much appreciated.
1) How do I believe this thought completely? Practice it and look for evidence that it’s true in every situation that I can?;
2) What about when something does go wrong and needs to be fixed – pipe leak, flat tire? Obviously I need to fix something/do something. I’m guessing the answer is that I don’t make this mean anything about me. Don’t take it personally. I’m not a victim, it’s just something that happens.
3) How do I set goals, decide what to do on a daily basis? If I really don’t need to fix, change or do anything to be worthy – the motivation for so many things I think I need to do is gone. I feel a bit unmoored without my constant companion of do more, better, perfectly. Here I’m guessing that I need to do some work on finding reasons why I want to do things that don’t mean anything about my worthiness/adequacy.