I am coming to recognize another persona that I am calling ‘Perfectionista’.  She is polished and professional, sweet, kind and caring, loving and compassionate, creative and fun, positive and intuitive, reliable and  responsible, intelligent and articulate. So, you might ask, “What’s wrong with those qualities?” In the grand scheme of things, nothing at all, but when I hold myself to such a high standard all the time, I become too stringent and then I miss out on the full human experience, because sometimes she just isn’t those things.
I have such high expectations for myself and everyone in my life. I like to think I give each day the best I have in me and still ‘edits’ are requested. Need not to take it personally(: Other people’s vision for what they want may be different from mine. It happened twice yesterday. Even though I have a particular world view, not everyone will share it.
I laugh when I think I ‘should’ be farther along in my fitness goals since the heart attack, as I am working out more intensely than I did before hand. Up to 3 day a week cardiac rehab and 40-45 minute a day walks; major dietary changes, more sleep (even naps when I need them) I have transferred my workaholic tendencies from career to health…YIKES! I still feel like I am juggling the various aspects of my life, albeit with far fewer plates to spin. Wanting to do them all ‘just so’. In my writing, I sometimes find myself cringing when I miss typos once something is published. Thank goodness for the editing function here on WordPress. I need to grow my self compassion muscles and let myself off the hook from time to time and be able to differentiate between excellence and striving for perfection.
How did Perfectionista get born? Unlike many who have extremely high standards, I didn’t grow up in a home with criticism; in fact quite the opposite. My parents and extended family were loving, supportive and responsive to my precocious strivings to explore the world, and I still enjoyed being a kid. I was never told that I wouldn’t achieve my dreams. I was praised and encouraged to do new things. My parents let me fall and skin my knees and they patched up the boo boos, sending me back out into the world.
As I was driving today, it occurred to me that I learned to be reliable by having parents who were reliable. I can’t think of a time when I felt let down by them. If they said they were going to do something, they did it. They taught me about follow through. They showed me they could be counted on and modeled for me what that meant. There was a time in my life; during my marriage when for whatever reason, I relinquished that role and it contributed to challenges. I own that part of the dysfunction that ensued, knowing that Michael also held his share of the craziness. I let things slide, taking a laissez faire attitude, sometimes feeling like I was sleepwalking through my life. Once he died in 1998, I picked up what I had set down and (my son will attest to this:) went to the opposite extreme of being ultra responsible, taking on far too much, which ultimately led to health challenges over the past year.
Feeling like I am getting to the other side of it, being mindful of when I am allowing Perfectionista to run the show. Instead, I invite her to dance and sing along to Karen Drucker’s ode to self love called I Don’t Have To Be Perfect.


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