Just because you’re perfectionist doesn’t mean you’re perfect.
– Jack Nicholson
It’s funny how the phase “because I am a perfectionist” has almost become a justification for not getting anything done, not getting it done well or getting something done that should have been abandoned a long time ago. Jack had it right when he said that being a perfectionist doesn’t mean you are perfect, neither does it mean that you are doing the right thing. Perfectionism is a kind of obsessive drive to complete something in a manner that rigidly adheres to a pre-defined set of rules or requirements. It implies inflexibility and an inability to learn and respond to change. That sounds kind of harsh, but in its driest sense that is what it means.
Perfectionism is useful in many areas of life and a complete roadblock in others. We can be perfectionists in tasks that are routine and mechanical. But you cannot seek to be a perfectionist in anything that encompasses emotional motivation, for the nature of emotions is that they are constantly in flux. No one set of circumstances repeated will bring about the same emotion. It may bring about one that has a superficial similarity to what has been felt in the past, but if you go beneath the surface, there is change there – for we are always gaining in our experiences even when we are stuck in repetition. The conflict of being stuck in a pattern will change the emotional response.
But emotions are tricky. Most of us cannot recognize them until they are at one extreme or another. Being able to recognize the subtle phases (and faces) of emotion is something that we are born not knowing and as we begin to learn it, are usual then shuffled into a very maladaptive set of “courses” in which we learn to either ignore or misinterpret emotion in the same manner that we are “re-arranged” in our ability to express our own. Some emotions become disallowed, I have talked about that before. Anger is one that is typically trained out of people. The only problem is, even if you are trained out of the conscious experience of anger, the unconscious experience is still there.
And poof! neuroses is born from the sublimated anger.
There is no such thing as perfectionism in emotions or in relationships because perfectionism is only capable when there is a static item to be manipulated.
I wound up in an impromptu game of three-handed buraco today, which I had never played before. It was nerve wracking. First, all three players are separate, and then the first to go out and pick up the moto (the dead hand) continues to play alone while the other two partner up. In the end, the two who partnered split their combined points but the cheese plays alone. This piece of cheese got royally trounced in the second hand, all the more brutal because there was no partner for me to whine and commiserate with, to share the burden of losing.
MK is driving me insane. Part of it is because one day she can go out and the next she is trapped inside with me again. She is shifting into her warm weather “busyness” and is just poking her gummy little paws into everything. Periodically I consider getting her a little friend but know that would backfire. Although, I went and spent some time with a friend and her two dogs this past week and for the first time MK showed an interest in another animal’s smell on my clothes. In fact, she slept with them.
Spring, spring, spring. I am almost done with my manuscript and slowly spending more and more time writing on new things. It has been beyond educational to go through 10 years of writing to pull this book together. And it makes me enthusiastic about going on. Funny how that works. Who knew editing and rewriting would lead to such heights of expectation for creating something new?
c.2011. Cassandra Tribe. All Rights Reserved.