I've often described myself in my thirties as a recovering perfectionist. Apparently, I'm not alone in this self-analysis. For most of us perfectionism is a debilitating practice that cripples our enjoyment of life and poisons our interpersonal relationships. The inability to "be perfect" in our own lives has created many of emotional breakdowns I'm sure.
You've likely seen this TED talk by Brene Brown called "The Power of Vulnerability" making the rounds over the past year. In many ways the practice of perfectionism is about keeping vulnerability at bay--it's affecting reason and order in a world we can neither predict nor control.
Many of my students who struggle with writing are stuck in the perfectionist's loop of negative self-talk. Occasionally writer's block is about creative depletion and exhaustion, but most of the time it's about perfectionism. There are so many wondering quotes by Anne Lamott about writing and getting past the blinding light of "perfect." Here is a bit of her Wisdom for your Wednesday.
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it.” --Anne Lamott (via Yum & Yuk)