Recovering Perfectionism

About a year and a half ago I got rid of both my cell phones.  That’s right,  I had not one but TWO mobiles.  One for work.  One for play.  When I resigned from my quasi-important overseas gig with a tres forward thinking yoga brand (I’ll let you guess which one) to travel the globe, I surrendered my work phone.  My personal phone didn’t work much past Indonesia without loading an exorbitant amount of credit so ultimately I gave that one up too.  If your heart just started pounding and the cell phone addict in you just choked on her own text message let me confirm:  “At no point in this process did I experience the “oh-my-gawd-what-if-so-n-so-needs-to-reach-me” panic that our inner tech junky dreads.  Have we all developed an inability, or rather a resistance to becoming tech free (or simply disconnected, if only for a couple hours – or minutes)?

I used to be proud of my ability to text at the speed of light (and yes, regrettably I even used to do this while driving back before it thankfully became illegal.)  There was a little rush I used to get when I heard the tropical ring tone of an inbound SMS.  When I acquired my work phone, my Ego’s need to be important and connected inflated and I just felt so proud to be a ‘big-enough-deal’ that people needed to be in-touch with me all the time.  This false sense of importance was fleeting, and soon enough I felt shackled to my techno gadgets.  Though I couldn’t bear the idea of being unreachable I had so quickly come to dread that adorable little ring tone I once loved.  I would silence them on weekends and days off.  Friends would call my partner to get a hold of me because I stopped answering my phone.  I was rebelling. And then one day – poof.  Off the grid.

It’s a year and a half later and my Ego winces when I fumble trying to use my new iPod Touch.  I was a former tech wizard and here I am touch-screen challenged and have little to no idea how to Tweet.  (I simultaneously hate/love this about myself.)  Looking back this has been a remarkable exercise in letting go of my inner control freak.  My perfectionist virgo self had to take a back seat and surrender.  How incredible it is to surrender, and in doing so we open up space to simply allow life to flow.  No strangulation.  No text pollution.  More quiet.  More calm.

Though I am still cell free, I in no way feel disconnected.  I can be reached through up to 3 email addresses, 2 Facebook pages, a (new) Twitter account, my LinkedIn page, my blog, my home landline, my office line, my blog, my website, my Skype account and if you’re feeling nostalgic I can received snail mail at 2 addresses.  Oh – and my new iPod can send text messages and FaceTime.  It’s no wonder recent studies correlate technology use to increased levels of stress.  Anxiety bubbles up at thought of having another something to be accountable for.

Ironically, when I joined Twitter last month I read two words in someone’s status that revolutionized the way I see myself.  Recovering perfectionist.  I use yoga as a means to recover from my perfectionism.  I am rehabilitating that inner critic who constantly requires more enoughness out of me.  Life is a journey moving out from centre, only to return back to centre. To our calm  To our flow.  To our own innate goodness.  We can only do this by releasing control, and simply allow.

Q&A Thursday!  Are you a recovering perfectionist?  How do you release your inner critic?

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4 thoughts on “Recovering Perfectionism

  1. One of the first things I let go of after practicing yoga for just a week was my need to be perfect, in EVERY LITTLE THING! Now, I don’t worry about being perfect. I simply focus on what I can do and what I want to do. I focus on who I am at this moment, and that’s enough. Thank you, yoga! And thank you, Awesome Asana.

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  2. Hi my name is Katie and I am a recovering perfectionist. Then I realized something about perfection. To perfectionists, perfection isn’t something that we actually want–it’s never really an end state goal–what we use it as is a horizon, a thing to perpetually move towards but which also is perpetually moving away from us. It’s our fuel and our motivation and for most of us, if we actually reached perfection, we wouldn’t really know what to do? “You mean this is it?! What the heck do we do now?!” (Insert here: Sounds of implosion or explosion or crumpling). So the best thing this perfection ever did for herself was to tell herself “Girl, you’re already perfect!” and then everything else just becomes an exploration and an adventure for fun. No self-imposed expectations just me an my beautiful self hang out in the big beautiful world with beautiful people like you, Chiristi. We’re not perfectionists. We’re just Perfects.

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  3. I am definitely a recovering perfectionist when it comes to painting! I go through stages of being so overcritical that I push myself 98% of the way and then I stop my project thinking that if I completed that last 2%, I would wreck it and waste all of the time it had taken me to go that 98%.

    Then I realized how much time it was wasting to go 98% without even attempting to complete. Also that throughout that 98%, not everything turned out the way I initially envisioned and yet it was exactly as it was meant to be.

    This is what encourages me to finish my projects, to let go of my over analytical left brain…

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