Waking up this morning and finding sun and blue skies was a great way to start the day after the low that was yesterday.

Sitting in the sun, it was easy to reflect on yesterday and accept that it was a horrible day. Not only did the wind meddle with my circuits sending me downwards, but the confronting group session that saw me blurt out some home truths about myself left me spent.

How true it is when they say the weather can have an impact on your state of mind. I am sure that for most people it’s seasonal, for me it can be four seasons in one day. Probably a good thing that I don’t live in Melbourne.

We had been talking about hope and hopelessness. This discussion ended with me acknowledging that when it comes to hope I am afflicted. Afflicted with an insurmountable expectation that I either can or cannot meet. A prime example is now here in a place I consider safe and non judgemental, thinking that if I cannot recall or write exactly what I want, then I don’t want to do it. This is because of the fear of not being able to it. I want to be able to write the perfect post, the perfect account. But because I fear it won’t be perfect I procrastinate and do not do it. This in turn leads to further frustration and anxiety. An anxiety that eats away at whatever amount of self confidence I have. Trying to recall in detail, and then put it into the correct context is preventing me from achieving the simplest of things. The simplest of goals that I have set myself.

This has caused me to reflect upon many areas and times of my life, in relation to my professional working life I have been a person who was knowing of what I wanted to achieve, but until I had everything in place to do it, to finish it meant that all my energy went into the planning of the goal / task and in doing so used up all my drive and desire. I would start to find fault or a way to find more things that I needed before I could start, let alone succeed. How many projects I could list where this has occurred and in turn caused me self sabotage and excuse myself into a way out of starting “it”. Whatever “it” was?

On further reflection, the term “Perfectionism” came through. Move over, a curse of perfection. I have begun to challenge myself as to where has this behaviour come from. What have been the influences that have shaped this train of thought? Was it me, or those that initially shaped who I am? Was it the desire to rebel against these figures (Yes go on, say it Rob. My mother) and their unconditional love and desires for me? How have I managed to require myself to fee that approval is contingent upon approval?

By defining perfection, I cannot honestly say that it permeates every area of my life. Those that know me well know all too well how at times I can act as though I truly don’t care and visually things around me are far from perfect. However, and especially in my career life, the perfectionism was apparent that once I had latched on to a new job, project or material object then it became all consuming towards the quest to have all know all and be all in that area.

Once I lock into something it soon becomes evident as to my desire to achieve a perfect outcome from the start, regardless of the obstacles, big or small.  So from the outset I sabotage myself by immediately being hypercritical and adhering to a rigid adherence to strict standards of performance and outcomes that I have already outlined in my head.

It is fair to say that when this behaviour kicks in I become haunted by uncertainty whenever I attempt to complete a task, which makes me reluctant to consider something finished. I may not necessarily believe that I have made a mistake; I’m just not quite sure; I doubt the quality of my actions.

When I outlined this earlier today, it was put into the following context, that became all too apparent to me. Rather than striving for something positive, my perfectionism essentially involves an endless report card – a constant supply of negative evaluations and emotions. So we began to drill down further and again the blinding obvious was there for me to see. As a perfectionism that tends to interpret mistakes as equivalent to failure and to believe that others will think badly of them, or I start to beat up on myself emotionally following a failure big or small. A perfectionism that ensured I always doubt my ability to accomplish the perfect task whilst all the time emphasizing a large and complex about of order.

How’s that for knocking you off your perch.


~ by Rob McClintock on September 30, 2010.

One Response to “Sun”

  1. We are our toughest critics, aren’t we?!

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