Sunday, February 14, 2016

Living life for realsies

I am a recovering perfectionist. It's okay, don't worry. 

Are you worried? 

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to worry you.

I feel terrible.

I'm sorry.

Are you one of those? Do you know one of those?  

A while back, when I was a wee perfectionist, I saw a therapist to figure out why every day seemed "just out," as they say in tennis.

We only had a few sessions before he compared my way of living to the way rodents behave on a wheel. "The perfectionism thing has to go," he said.

He gave me a wrist clicker and told me to use it when I had that "perfectionist thing." He explained that seeing the number drop would be reinforcing and suggested I prepare a reward for myself. I said, "How about not having to see someone about my perfectionist thing anymore?"

We worked on it, things got better, we said goodbye and I walked to my car with his parting words in my head:

"You'll have this again. Remember, when you do, that perfectionism is about the way you make life look, not the way life really is."

In a conversation recently with someone who would also like to become a recovering perfectionist, I was reminded of another important thing I've learned since driving away from that parking lot years ago and it is this:

The more you do, when less is required, the less you're living for realsies.
The less you do, when less is required, the more you're living for realsies.

Godspeed, recovering perfectionists, and everyone else. 
Life is good, when it's realsie.


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