The Three Major Musts (irrational beliefs that make us miserable) from author Will Ross:
- I must do well and win the approval of others or else I am no good.
- Other people must do “the right thing” or else they are no good and deserve to be punished.
- Life must be easy, without discomfort or inconvenience.
Nothing and nobody’s perfect. Therapists and direct experience keep telling me this.
It hasn’t stopped me this week from going all the way back—197 posts ago—to my first Sharp Left Turns entry in 2008. Going back, that is, to check for errors. Broken links. Questionable word choice. An errant comma or block quote improperly marked.
It’s kinda nuts.
I want to present my best work, my best self. High standards matter, but having everything turn out just right is the dream of robots or super-smart little green men from Mars.
Overthinking past performances drains pleasure of its fantasy, and fantasy of its pleasure. A blog’s charm is its immediacy, its quick reaction time. Events happen and words spontaneously flow. Obsessing over minor flaws tends to kill the mood, like tracing a lover’s mole during foreplay.
For me perfectionism is about control. If things aren’t in order I freak out. Somehow a single mistake detracts from the overall message. What’s behind this? Essentially I want you to think I’m clever, that my thoughts matter, that my words speak magic. I’m looking for acceptance that’s impossible to attain—impossible because not everyone will (or should) like me all the time.
If the world were perfect, there’d be no need for perfectionists. No need for humans, really—by the grace of God made wholly imperfect.