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Old 10-25-2013, 03:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Perfectionism

All the blame and finger-pointing leads to perfectionism.
It's a defect that arises out of our fear of not being good enough.
God is not judging me. He loves me very much.

Any thoughts on perfectionism - both the problem and the solution?
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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For me, perfectionism is bound up in ego and fears. While others may see it as a "good" shortcoming, it's quite nefarious to me. The idea behind perfectionism is that I hold myself to a lofty ideal, and when I (eventually) don't live up to that ideal, I get angry. I take my ball and go home. It's very ego-centric of me to think that I am better than everyone else and that I should never make mistakes. I never asked for help because I thought that I was different than everyone. I was running on self-reliance. And also lurking behind perfectionism is a whack of fears - fear of looking weak, fear of not being liked, fear of not achieving, fear of looking foolish, etc. Not letting myself off the hook, in the guise of perfectionism, is masochistic and self-centered energy.

I had to see that I am perfectly imperfect. I was meant to be imperfect. I had to embrace that and understand that like every other part of my life, playing God didn't work. Making mistakes is how I grow. If we never made mistakes, what's the point of this all? Growth is my mandate, and the grist for that mill is stumbling and making errors. As long as I am learning and keeping a teachable mind and practising humility, I am on the right path. Perfectionism doesn't enter the picture anymore. Sure, I like to achieve and at work (and other parts of my life) I like to do well. But I will mess up and as long as I see my part in it and do what I need to do, then it's all part of the game plan.
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Old 10-25-2013, 04:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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It generally comes from someone else who acted as a caretaker when we were younger. We then take this on board and act it out even though the idea of being like that person may repulse us. Some real long therapy has helped me to shift away from this just a little bit and maybe over the coming years i can move further away.

When you act out perfectionism it usually comes in a form of criticising/judging/controlling and the recipient feels criticised/judged/controlled. Of course being good alcoholics we don't even need that other person to interact with as we find we can perform both of the roles by ourselves. it sucks for everybody involved and is extraordinarily damaging too.
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Old 10-25-2013, 05:01 AM   #4 (permalink)
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not so much in the finger pointing realm
but I shoot for perfection and accept progress.
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Old 10-25-2013, 06:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Fear is all over it, yup.
And yes, when we allow ourselves (on the inside) to feel controlled, judged, etc, we start doing it ourselves
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Old 10-25-2013, 07:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The only thing perfectionism ever produced is failure.
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We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves. We are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God. -Thomas Merton
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Old 10-25-2013, 07:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul99 View Post
I had to see that I am perfectly imperfect. I was meant to be imperfect.
We were made to be imperfect. Why?

Perfection can't Love perfection!
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Old 10-25-2013, 08:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Every time I hear that word (perfection) it reminds me of the actor trying to be the director just before step 3 in the book. Me.......trying to control everything. The funny thing is that while I'd tell you I can't GET to perfection, if you watched my actions or could hear my thoughts, THEY would indicate that on each thing that comes up I CAN be perfect. Get it? I knew better than to think I could be perfect but at each challenge, I'd expect perfection -- thereby back-dooring myself into thinking I can be perfect without admitting it in the more general sense. My ego's pretty sneaky....and I bet a lot it's similar for a lot of ppl.

First, I thought it was all fear based. Fear IS involved but so was something else and that was a massively over-inflated self image. See, on one hand I really thought I could do just about anything, but when I'd fall short I'd hate myself. That hatred, I thought, stemmed from a poor self-image.......low self esteem. Really it was coming as the result of failing at things I expected the perfect-me to do perfectly. In other words, my low self esteem was the result of to MUCH self esteem and the inevitable failures would hit that too-high-esteem and try to kill it.....which felt awful.....which felt like I was dying.....because I had become that over-inflated too-high self esteem. No longer a human being but a human-doing. My identity was alllllllllll tied up in what I did.......and dammit, it better be perfect.

If I just say "fear" - then I've been known to think, "I'm the VICTIM of fear......" And when I'm the victim, it's not really my fault, I'm powerless, God needs to fix me, and/or all of you need to forgive me as I continue to act out because of this horrible fear I can't control." That's kinda neat and clean and leaves me out of doing much other than praying for the "fear" to be removed. I also find it very hard to, just, "let go" of fears. It's like hearing, let go of your arm......or stop thinking.......or see in black-n-white. I don't know how to do it. Also remember, MY fear was coming out of fear that the ME was dying.....because my ME was identified solely in what I DID/DO.

When I looked at perfection as something I created.....out of this crazy-high self esteem where I think I'm capable of doing every individual thing perfectly (sooner or later), then I'm faced with it not being a fear I have to find a way to "let go of" but an actual practice.......a habit.......that I simply have to watch for (step 10) and stop doing. When I was watching, I'd catch myself saying "yes" to just about everything anyone would ask me. Hell, I'd be thinking YES before they even finished asking me.....before I even knew what it was they wanted me to do. And of course I'd THINK yes......I can do everything, remember? I may not be perfect but I can do everything.....and do it all perfectly.... LMAO

Watching for my creating my own perfectionism helped. I did it allllll the time. Strangely, just stopping wasn't so easy. That took a lot of effort AND a lot of prayer/grace. And no, I haven't stopped doing it perfectly. lol. I still watch for it and sometimes miss it as it's not allllllllllllll day long like it used to be. That, however, is progress. Progress, I used to hate that word. Now, it's pretty spiritual for me to use it and believe in it.
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Old 10-25-2013, 08:43 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Try something give it your best and fail. Walking through that will finally undo the fear of failing.
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Old 10-25-2013, 09:03 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm perfect in being imperfect.
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Old 10-25-2013, 09:26 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I agree with the fear part too
fear of not being good or smart enough etc
which boils down to fear of what others think of me.
When I have that fear,I adjust my behavior to
what "I" think would be acceptable to them.
Then the "world" really controls me.
I get sicker
Today I have nothing to prove to others
because what they think of me is none of my business.
My business is my spiritual condition and helping others.
Then I get "well-er"
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Old 10-25-2013, 09:31 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I was pretty critical of others for much of my life, because I was afraid of what I'd find if I looked within or let someone else take a peak. I drove myself to illness in many ways because I thought I had to 'be something'. When the facade cracked, I thought I had to hide and the bottom of a bottle is a great place to hide.

When I faced my own devastating weakness with alcohol, things started to soften. Once I faced my own imperfection,somehow it's easier to accept it in others. I've learnt many things since about perfectionism but for some reason that had to be a personal journey.

Ernie Kurtz wrote some interesting stuff about AA - one called 'The Spirituality of Imperfection' and one called 'Not God' (as in 'I don't know if there is a God, but I have to remember that I'm not it )

Interesting thread. Did ya know Bill W said the most important things to do as we advance in recovery were Service and Growing in Humility? Expecting perfection in myself or others...bad roads to go down I find.

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Old 10-25-2013, 09:31 AM   #13 (permalink)
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most simplistically than my long post above, perfection is a lack of a 3rd step decision. If I'm still the manager and my identity is tied up in how I think you all will view me based upon what I do......than what I do simply has to be perfect.

When i make that decision to trust God and quit managing everything, most of the fear drops away naturally. This comes as I practice the principles behind steps 2 and 3. And I say 2 because, often, I don't believe God's going to manage for me and that I MUST do it myself.

When I can see myself more as a child of God and less as a being capable of doing x, y, or z well......that fear also drops away. See step 11 for this one.
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Old 10-25-2013, 09:53 AM   #14 (permalink)
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*more simplistically

-- too late to edit
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:58 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Lieutenant: "Sir, I am here to report that I snuck behind enemy lines and blew up 4 of their cannons."

General: "Guards... take this man away and have him shot."

Lieutenant: "But sir... I thought you would be proud of me?"

General: "You may have shortened the war but you are making the rest of us look bad!"


(Scene from The Adventures of Baron Munchausen)
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