When did society mix up the allotted value of a career or achievement… over the value of a person…him/herself?
For most of us…we distinctly understood, while still children, that our parents highly valued our visible achievements…good report cards, academic or athletic merit recognitions…
We would overhear them bragging to a neighbor, friend, or family member about some honor that had been bestowed on us. Of course it made us feel good too…except we started realizing that you were only as good as your last recognition. Subtly the stress and pressure of elevated expectations replaced the earlier spontaneous feelings of joyful achievement.
Haven’t we as parents all been guilty of this…even after living it ourselves as children? How easy it is to send the wrong message when we think we are just a great parent for “being” there for all the ceremonies and encouraging these great achievements .
Perfectionism is not about achievement and growth. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfectly, look perfectly and act perfectly, we can avoid the pain of blame, judgment and shame.
Most perfectionists ( including me) grew up being praised for achievement and performance in our grades, manners and appearance. Somewhere along the way, we adopted this dangerous and debilitating belief system:
I am what I accomplish and how well I accomplish it. A ticker tape began to stream through our heads: Please. Perform. Perfect.
Healthy striving, meanwhile, focuses on you. It occurs when you ask yourself, “How can I improve?” Perfectionism keeps the focus on others. It occurs when you ask, “What will they think?”
Research, unfortunately, shows that perfectionism hampers success and often leads to depression, anxiety, addiction and missed opportunities, due to fears of putting anything out in the world that could be imperfect or disappoint others.
It’s a 20-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight. Another way to think about it? Consider Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem,” which says, “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
So until tomorrow…
Next time we start ruminating on our self-inflicted doubts of personal accomplishment…(like the title picture says)…we need to stop and consider what our thoughts would look like if they were on public display in a flower show?
Would they look fresh and full of anticipation or wilted and turning dark…because we left no ‘cracks for the lights to shine through?”
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
Actually yesterday was too…I will call it my “Tree Hugger” Day” because Mandy brought Jake and Eva Cate over…we had plans to hit more places in town and parks…but as it turned out both children just wanted to stay at “Boo’s Park” which delighted Mandy and me…we all ate lunch there and then just watched the children climb trees and decorate the tree house…with a cupcake party to reward them for their hard work and good behavior.
The idea that kept them working all day in the garden was Eva Cate’s tree house re-modeling and renovations theme..she and Jake lugged everything out of the garage up into the tree house….no telling what it looks like…I could only see some of the finished product…but (who cares?) it kept them busy all day! Happiness is…and not one quarrel between them…a great benchmark Boo Park Day!
- The pear petals fell down on us so frequently when the wind blew it looked like it was snowing all day!