Sunday, March 29, 2009

Day Three: Perfectionism

“We can always choose to perceive things differently. You can focus on what's wrong in your life, or you can focus on what's right.” ~Marianne Williamson

I have not had lunch yet. :)  But I woke up today thinking about perfectionism and how it has impacted my life.  I wrote about this a couple of days before the 37 Day Journey started, but since it is so present with me today, I decided to get a couple of things out of the way so that I could continue my day.

I started the day thinking, "How will I ever be able to finish this task?  Is it big enough? Is it small enough?  Will I do it?  Did I pick something that won't allow me maximum growth? Was I taking the easy way out?  Is it too hard?" "Why did you wait till the last minute to choose?"  Other thoughts creeped in, "Am I a different person in my personal life than in my work life?"  "If I am different, why?  What does it serve? Can I change it? Should I change it?"  "How does this relate to my chosen challenge anyway?"

I started worrying about what would happen if I wasn't able to complete the challenge or what would happen if it leads me down a different path...would I just throw up my hands and give up or would I continue on because I promised myself I would? (Carolynn wrote in yesterday and reminded me to add "Keeping my word" to the list of qualities I respect in people.  Keeping my word to myself is as important as keeping my word to anyone else. I am incorporating this into my journey.)

As all these thoughts swirled around me, I realized that this was that perfectionism thing rearing its ugly head again.  That started a whole round of other thoughts, "Perfectionism is really self-centered...why can't you think about other people?  You don't expect perfection from other people..." and other unhelpful ways of thinking.  

I decided to look up "perfectionism" on Google and let my findings lead me. I finally landed on the quote above from Marianne Williamson and I realized what I needed to add to this journey/project/challenge.  Somewhere in my head, when I read the question, "Am I becoming the kind of person I respect?" I hear, "What are all the ways you are not a person worthy of respect."  Even though I was able to come up with a list of qualities I respect, even though I KNOW I embody some of those qualities, I was still focused on all the ways I have failed to become a person I respect. Growth is not just from looking at all the things I haven't done, but acknowledging the road I have already travelled. 

I had to refocus my question:  "Am I becoming a person I respect?  What were my successes today?  Where do I still need focus?" 

Silly!  I realized that perhaps what I chose to focus on for these 37 Days is much bigger than I ever dreamed.  

If none of this makes sense at all, that's all right.  It makes sense to me. 



  1. I like the revision. Life is as journey and sometimes the path we start out on, is not the way we continue down. I'm loving that this is raising so many questions for you. It's a process of digging and then, digging some more. It might get a bit messy and scary. If you're on the right track, it will get downright terrifying. DON'T STOP! That means you're on the edge of an amazing breakthrough of self-realization. And, that, my dear, will feel Perfect! :o)

  2. I also like the switch to a more positive focus. Reading your last few posts, I wanted to shout out, please be more kind and forgiving of yourself! But Carolynn is right, you are on a really good self-realization journey right now, and you should keep going, keep writing. Your challenge has emerged -- making sense of yourself and being really happy with what you learn.

  3. Don't think of the challenge in terms of 37 days. The journey may take longer. I intend to think of each new day as a new set of 37, hoping to stretch this challenge well beyond the 37 day commitment. Go easy on yourself, this is not a small task. You will get there.



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