Perfection vs. Growth

Growth with personal goals and objectives avoids the need to be perfect.  You gain the ability to move past your mistakes and failures.  If you are a perfectionist or recovering perfectionist as I am, you are always looking for tools you can use to avoid falling into your old habits.

In my case, health issues were linked to stress and I had to examine where the stress was coming from.  In the beginning, I was working full-time and attending college full-time.  I’d only been married about four years and was negotiating areas of responsibility with my spouse (whose mother had never worked outside the home or pursued higher education).  I immediately reduced my college work load, taking an incomplete in one class.

I also had to address my own beliefs about efficiency.  To be efficient, I had to be multi-tasking.  Doing just one thing at a time was both inefficient and undesirable.  If you can’t multi-task, you’re a failure.  If I could have figured out how to combine sleeping with something else, I would have!  In fact, I’d been a lucid dreamer for much of my adolescence.  However, increasing insomnia (related to stress, efficiency and multi-tasking) had made my dreams fragmented and less coherent.

For me, growth meant relaxing my need for control and efficiency.  My ability to do it the right way and more efficiently is insufficient justification against delegation and time to relax.  In fact, you can set goals and plan for possibilities:  Complete control is impossible.  You can’t control the world, you can only control how you respond to it.

Seeing changes and surprises as threatening was how I grew up.  Differences were undesirable.  Suspicion was the norm.  After all, nobody gave without expecting something in return.  When I married, it became us against the world.  Giving up control meant I had to cultivate a different view of the world.  Scepticism is okay, but everyone is given a basic level of trust that their own actions then influence.  Change is an opportunity.  It could just as easily lead to good things as bad.  When I act, I ask a few critical questions:

Is the likely outcome worth the effort required?
Does the action match my own view of who I am or who I want to be?
Why am I doing this?
Can I act and then detach from the outcome (if I doesn’t go as expected)?