As a person who has long struggled with perfectionism, I never saw that what was really going on was that I was obsessed with being on the right side of things... the flip side of which being that I was also always looking to see if myself and others were "wrong". You know what happens when you look for something.. yep. you find it. As I looked at myself and others through a magnifying glass (ha! I say that like as if I don't still do it...), I not only found sooo many things in the "wrong" category, I took myself more and more out of the moment. The further away from the actual experience of the moment, rather than just my thought storms *about* the moment, the more stress and fear I experience. In all this trying to get things right, make the right decisions, do the right job, say the right thing, etc etc... I was so blinded to the actual experience I was in, that it was almost like I wasn't even there. In some ways, I wasn't.
Where does this fictional idea of the right way, or the right decision, etc.. come from? For me, what I uncovered is some old childhood patterning that said if I messed up, then I would experience endless deep emotional pain and there would be no adult I could turn to for comfort or answers because it would potentially harm those I loved. I am not going to get into the details, because ultimately it doesn't matter, and I am not a victim. What I am is a grown ass woman who CAN now make choices and take risks that I can take responsibility for. As with all growth, there are many layers. This is one I have been digging through for quite some time. It wasn't until I went beyond just identifying the scared little girl inside me, and actually dialoguing with her, that I began to separate the real me from an old outmoded story of me. I am certainly not saying I am just peachy now and that I don't have moments that I whip that magnifying glass out like it never left my hand, but that its easier to spot the more I practice. How does one practice wrestling the reins away from an old addictive pattern that you have been mistaking as YOU? Sometimes, you have to sit that child down and let her know, "I am here and I love you AND I can handle this." Literally, like someone with multiple personality disorder having their own little party in the privacy of their own head. As in, you don't just muse about it. You take yourself into the bathroom. Look yourself in the eyes, place your hand on your heart and say whatever it is that little you needs to hear. Take deep breaths and imagine giving yourself so much love. It's awkward as hell as first, but it totally works ;) And then of course, you apologize sincerely to whoever got baby food thrown at them before you realized what was happening. Sigh.
So, childhood dramas aside. What is the grown up Anah's realization about getting things "right"? Well, It's just that getting things right is a conjured up wish about how things are "supposed" to be. There is no "right" only "right now". What I mean by this is, you can pull yourself out of your head and into the feeling tone of the NOW moment. If you focus on what is actually happening in the now and what your heart and gut has to feel about it, rather than what your brain has to commentate, you are already more in the moment. In this now moment you can feel what is appropriate and take action (or non action, whatever the case may be). To be honest I am only successful with this sometimes. Those old stories are habits with all the accompanying chemical highs and familiarity. It takes time to rewrite. But, oh the payoffs! The payoffs are amazing enough it is worth the effort and sometimes hair pulling it takes to find new ways of being that serve rather than punish. The payoffs of freedom, clarity, love and confidence are worth putting my foot in my mouth, and having to clean up messes over and over again, in order to find the way. In moments when I am able to spot that I am in a familiar tangle, I find it helpful to ask; "what am I not seeing right now?" Or "what does my heart say?" Deep breathing is always a good idea. Now, lets not be silly. If you are being followed into a dark alley by a stranger, this is NOT the time to get vulnerable and ask what your heart wants. Get the hell out of there for gods sakes! But, if it is just a moment of conversation or you have been stewing on some unspoken issues with loved ones, then get thee to the bathroom and have a convo with the posse in your head. You just might find you can handle almost anything with love, compassion and aplomb. If not at first, then in short order and after the appropriate groveling ;)
As always, we are all in this together!