Tuesday, September 4, 2012

PERFECTIONISM--THERE IS HOPE


I propose starting a new self-help group called-Perfectionists Anonymous—PA for short. Those attending the meetings could call ourselves Recovering Perfectionists—RP’s for short.

            Can’t you visualize the meeting in your mind’s eye? It goes something like this: 

Scene:  a local fellowship hall.

The refreshment table is covered with a dark green linen tablecloth, adorned with two or three color-coordinated platters of cookies and a beautiful pink and green centerpiece.  Coffee and tea served from stylish silver carafes by the hosting members.  (What else would perfectionists do when hosting a meeting?)
The meeting is called to order by an impeccably-dressed chairperson who asks for volunteers to share their struggles with perfectionism.
Being serious about recovering from my own perfectionism, I stand and say, “Hello, my name is Carolyn and I’m a Recovering Perfectionist.”
“Hello, Carolyn,” the group replies.
I continue my confession. “I don’t know when I first became a perfectionist. Maybe it goes back to my childhood when I felt compelled to get straight A’s in school so that I’d feel worthy of my family’s love. And ever since then I have to fight these urges to do everything just perfectly.”
From across the room I hear a couple of ladies whispering and I just can’t stand it.
“Excuse me!” I say and glare in their direction. “It seems some people have forgotten their audience manners here. Would you ladies please have the courtesy to listen while I share my struggles?” I force the words through gritted teeth.
Realizing I’ve slipped off the recovery track, I stop abruptly to apologize. “Oh, please forgive me! I am really struggling with my perfectionism today.”  Then I sit down, humiliated by my outburst as several people try to comfort me by telling me they understand my struggles.
            I think PA meetings would be well attended as there are lots of perfectionists in this world. Many of us are also trying to overcome this malady and can use the help of those who understand this condition.
            It just seems to me that perfectionists would welcome a self-help group.  After all, being the perfectionists we are, we would know the best way to handle things to recover from the malady, don’t you think?
            I am happy to report that I am making some good progress in my recovery.  How do I know this? Well, here are a few examples of my successes:
    I can let dirty dishes set in the sink for a couple of hours before I’m compelled to wash them.
    I can wear the same blouse twice before putting it in the wash.
    I can go a whole week without dragging out the vacuum to do the floor.
    I can sleep in until 8:30 or 9:00 AM without feeling a need to be “up and at ‘em.”
    I can play computer games for an hour and not worry about wasting my time.
            I am being rather successful with my battle against perfectionism, don’t you think? Therefore, I can probably be a good help to other perfectionists who wish to get into a recovery mode.
            Do you struggle with perfectionism too?  Well, fear not! No doubt you’ll soon find a PA Meeting popping near you. YOU are not alone. Perfectionists of the world, there is hope!  Join Perfectionists Anonymous now!  It’s time to recover!

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