Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ms. Positivity and Ms. Perfectionist Battle it Out!

Have you ever described yourself as a perfectionist?
I wonder if anyone has ever coined the term," recovering perfectionist?" If there is such a catch-phrase, it most certainly applies to me.
I am what most would call, "my own worst enemy." I criticize, berate and "should" myself at any opportunity it seems. But I am making a definite attempt to recover.
Most who know me can attest to my positivity, and my occasionally annoying attempts to share about the benefits of applying positive psychology to life. I am vociferously reading a wonderful book, Positivity, by Barbara Fredrickson. I believe that many of the ideas and concepts that have come out of Barbara's research are going to help me curtail the perfectionist that threatens to steal my joy every day.
Below are some of the perfectionist's thoughts and the positivist's replies from my day today.

My inner perfectionist begins the day hassling me about leaving for work 10 minutes later than normal. Her nagging voice doesn't let up, " You shouldn't have been taking so long editing your writing this morning!" Positivist retorts, " Relax, just look at the beautiful waves coming into the shore as you drive down the road along the cliff." I end up doing my daily 30 second "listen to the waves meditation even though I feel a bit frantic and running late.
Round one: Positivity wins.
Perfectionist berates self for dropping off the rent exactly on the due date. "You loser! You should have dropped off the check on Monday!"
Positivist says, "Wow, good for you. You avoided the late fee." Round two: Positivist wins.
Perfectionist is mortified as she notices, while standing in line at Starbucks at 6:30 a.m., that her skirt is on inside out!
Positivist replies with a giggle," It's a good thing you have your long coat on today!" Positivist happens to be amused when I decide to slip my skirt on and off quickly in the dark parking lot as I get back into the car."
All day long the battle seems to wear on, with the positivist seeming to gain momentum. How does she do it?
She savors the 5 year old's giggles in the classroom. She tells the students how she loves, loves loves art projects with hearts and gets them excited about decorating the classroom. At lunchtime, she makes sure that she gets to talk to her husband who is 5000 miles away, waiting for his VISA to live here with her. Does she dwell on how hard it is to be apart? No, because they spend their 30 minute chat talking about common interests and sharing funny stories from her morning with kids.
As the day goes on, the perfectionist tries to chime in with her shoulds. "You should be done with your assessments." "You shouldn't eat those delicious cookies your friend baked for you." "You really need to make sure your kids are 100% on task every minute."
What is the positivist to do? She locks the perfectionist b*$@% up and eats the cookies, savoring each and every bite.
Happy "almost Friday" everyone and, as my grandpa used to say, " Take a hike!". Tell that perfectionist to go take a hike! I've got cookies waiting...

1 comment:

  1. I just wrote a post called "Striving for Perfection is demoralizing..."


    Thanks for another perfect post. The positivist is telling me to go and attack those peanut butter cookies on my counter.


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