Are you a perfectionist?
It was recently suggested to me that I am caught in a web of perfectionism. “How can that be?” I asked. “I’m overweight, the house is a mess, I’ve multiple unfinished projects piled in the corner! How can I be a perfectionist?” Perfectionists, in my mind, complete their projects, clean the back of closets and definitely are the proper weight for their body size. They are, in my thinking, perfect. In writing this down and admitting it to you, I glimpse the fallacy of my thinking…just a glimpse, mind you, this is big stuff.
Wikipedia tells me that perfectionism “is not a synonym for excellence or conscientiousness.” Instead, its defined as “a person’s concern with striving for flawlessness and perfection and is accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.” I have to admit, I am caught in that web of constant critical self-evaluation. Even right now, as I write about this personality style that some of us struggle with, I’m saying to myself, “Lisa, there is an unjust war breaking out in Ukraine. That is where your focus should be…what’s wrong with you!”
Recently, I’ve come to appreciate the the multiplicity of me…appreciate and more importantly, have compassion for the many parts that make up who I am. I have learned that we carry the memories, desires, gifts, fears, wounds and visions through our lifetime, and with a sacred lens, we can learn to welcome them all. When Jesus invites all to the table of love, could he be inviting all of me? Even my perfectionist self?
When I open my heart to my not-so-perfect-self, when I trust that all of me is truly loved, something shifts. There is more space. I am able, in this moment, to experience a deeper compassion, for myself and beyond myself; a compassion that flows toward my brothers and sisters in Ukraine on this sad February day. I have space to hold their fears and losses. When my love-fire is fueled in this moment of vulnerability, my tears join with theirs and my prayer cries out on their behalf. Sitting in this time and place, I rest in perfect Love.
Thank you for being you,