Perfectionism . . .

My father was obsessive about doing things “right”. I think quite a bit of my rebelliousness from 18 to 42 was stimulated by the primal urge to break the hold of my father’s perfectionism. He was so right in a multitude of details and processes yet so wrong in the wide and deep arena of simple humanity…

As a writer, I’ve long since realized that my eyes and brain need help (other eyes or computer programs) to rid my words of flaw and imprecision. I also indulge in the sub-domain of poetry: here is where the perfect phrase breaks the rules and the clearest statements drip with emotion…

Various blockages to creativity and productivity begin with statements like: “I’d better wait till I know for sure.” or “Maybe they won’t like it this way.” or “I don’t think I can get away with it.” Certainly we need to be aware of all the pertinent facts before acting. We need to consider the effect of our actions on others and act with honesty.

Still, perfectionism can take the most common common sense and warp it into uncommon hindrances.

Life isn’t black and white, either/or, cut and dried.

It’s infinite shades of grey with colorful glows swirling inside. It’s both/and. it’s alive and kicking!

Human growth is a process, not a set of rigid rules. If Perfectionism was the Rule, Forgiveness would not exist . . .

“All beings, whether large or small, were created perfect and complete from the first, but their perfections appear in them by degrees. The organization of God is one; the evolution of existence is one; the divine system is one. Whether they be small or great beings, all are subject to one law and system. Each seed has in it from the first all the vegetable perfections. For example, in the seed all the vegetable perfections exist from the beginning, but not visibly; afterward little by little they appear. So it is first the shoot which appears from the seed, then the branches, leaves, blossoms and fruits; but from the beginning of its existence all these things are in the seed, potentially, though not apparently.

“In the same way, the embryo possesses from the first all perfections, such as the spirit, the mind, the sight, the smell, the taste — in one word, all the powers — but they are not visible and become so only by degrees.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 198

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3 thoughts on “Perfectionism . . .

  1. How right you are, Alex! I think perfectionism can lead to a terrible paralysis – inability to start something for fear of not doing a perfect job of it. Few people would have known I was a perfectionist at certain things, because I never actually did those things at all! Now that I’ve let go, and work on a principle of “Begin… and go from there”, life is much better.

    I like your choice of quotation to accompany this post.

  2. Holy mackerel, I needed to hear this so much. Your writing is gutsy and punchy. I like this!!! I’m going to put it on my wall to remind me. It is SOOOOOOO freeing, and beautifully written. WOW! Such important insights you have. There is a difference between doing things well and taking pride in what we do…AND letting perfectionism trap us, suck the life out of us, immobilize us, even permanently stop us. This is HUGE message that we ALL need to read. Thank you ALEX!! You are wise my friend.

    Also, thank you for your kind note.
    It made me smile and made my day.
    Seriously. :)

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