The Perfectionist

There I sat alone in my lawn chair, book in hand, with a stunning view of the lake. Nothing to do but enjoy reading my intriguing book. But I couldn’t keep still. Every snapped twig, rustle of leaves, cawing crow and roaring speedboat vied for my attention. You have to give me some credit, I really tried. Rereading the same page over and over, shifting my weight until I found a more comfortable position, making every effort to fix my eyes on my book. But it was no use. I finally realized I was working really hard at relaxing, something that doesn’t come as easy as I wish it did.

I’m a doer. But not just any doer. No no no. I’m a “it’s gotta be done just right, down to the last intricate iota and it’s gotta be done by me” doer.

I’m the D’artagnan of Details.
The Police of Particulars.
The Master of Minutia.
That’s right, I’m a perfectionist (or “reformer,” if you prefer).

This is not a “brag-a-thon” or excuse-making or a plea for sympathy. It is a confession. This is who I am and more importantly, I’m working on it. Working on being more self-aware and compassionate towards others. Working on inner anger and hidden resentment. Working on simple tasks like relaxing and having a bit of fun. Working on being instead always doing.

It’s not that I’m trying to be critical or judgmental or (in)sensitive, it rather comes from a desire to see everything become a better version of itself, the best version of itself. But that’s an impossible task, and sometimes it’s a completely unnecessary task. You see, I want everything to be better and perfect and “just right,” but some things (actually a lot of things) are perfectly imperfect. Some things are beautifully broken. Some things are just the way they ought to be. And that’s okay. The world isn’t perfect, and that’s okay. As Fr. Richard Rohr would say, “Everything belongs.”

So, I’m learning to be more forgiving—of myself and others. Learning to be lighter on my feet. Learning to let my hair down (if I had any). Learning to listen and ask questions. Again, as Fr. Rohr would say, I’m learning to “Let be. Let love.”



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