There are many ways to trick yourself into believing you are managing your worries & fears.

There are many ways to hide out in perfectionism:
Everything will be ok if I do my best to look good & try hard to get everything right. I must avoid being uncomfortable & make sure I get what I want as often as possible. It’s oddly comforting to go shopping & buy new things & have everything in its proper place. I’m calm if I wear the right clothes& can hide behind my 150 watt smile so no one ever guesses how I really feel. Everyone has their own personal favorites.

It takes an enormous amount of energy to do any of these. They are all about feeling you have control, that you have the power to keep your anxiety in check. They are attempts to feel calm in the face of fear. If you always know what’s going to happen, then uncertainty can’t creep in & raise its ugly head.

Obsessing is one way we pretend to ourselves that we can keep things certain. Obsessing means going over & over & over & over worries in your head. It’s like hearing the same song repeat 150,000 times. Repeating the same circle of thoughts is pretending you will figure out something new. Really we just get stuck.

Obsessing about a particular thing is like a laser beam of focus saying the worry has to be different somehow.

It may be hard to figure out a way to stand the discomfort fear creates and that is the only way to be less bossy or less ocd. Being judgmental is also a way to feel like you are on top & cooler than others.

Control means having power:
If I decide you are a jerk, then that makes me feel better.
If I make you do what I want then I feel better.
If I know what will happen then I will feel better.
I don’t like surprises.

Control means trying to reduce anxiety by making the decisions you are certain you are right about. Another example would be someone who insists there is only one way to fold a bath towel. This is clearly not flexible enough. They do that because they feel less anxious looking in the cupboard & seeeing everything is set up in a particular way.

Maintaining the familiar & keeping things comfortable keeps doubt at bay. Anybody that worries is often someone who tortures themselves with endless doubt:
A great cook is never certain they’ve done well enough. Someone is given an award and they think to themselves they just don’t know me well enough to know I don’t deserve this. You are given a compliment and deep down you know it’s untrue. Doubt erases all the good stuff.

If you are always certain tragedy is just around the corner then you can’t be taken by surprise. You can beat everyone else to the darkness that feels more real to you than waiting to experience whatever will actually happen.

People who need to feel a false amount of control can be very hard to live with because they aren’t good at sharing power.

Perfection is not possible on this earth. Perfectionism is the ultimate way to pretend you have control.

Perfectionists have huge expectations of themselves & others. They also find ordinary disappointments crushing.

Perfectionists often are very hard workers because they are so determined to get everything right. (Employers love this about perfectionists!)

The problem is that perfectionists end up exhausted & a little bit lonely. They say to themselves; “People are so confusing & messy.” So they are experts at build big walls to keep people on the other side. Perfectionists don’t like to be vulnerable. Since they rarely feel good enough about themselves, it’s hard to let anyone else in.

Perfectionists are often smart & creative like Steve Jobs who started Apple computer products. They can be hard to work for because they want too much from everyone around them.

Perfectionists often aren’t very good at fun & play. Letting Go can be a complete mystery.

The latin root word for perfection actually means finished. When are we finished? When we are dead (the ultimate letting go).

Our humanity means we will always be imperfect. To be human is to be selfish, greedy, lazy, jealous, angry,
materialistic & vain.

So what’s the opposite of perfection & control?

If you are coming up blank you are most likely bad at it; Acceptance.


About the Rhoda Mills Sommer



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