I’m a recovering perfectionist, and grateful to have the noun modified by this adverb. I think that’s the right grammatical term for “recovering” here. I took one year of grammar in 8th grade, at St. Agnes School for Girls in Alexandria , VA. It was taught by a kind, retired military officer, who wore a suit to class and looked a bit like Eisenhower. Being raised by two English majors gave me an advantage, as the class seemed pretty easy. When things are easy, it’s not hard to do them well, or perfectly.
When something is hard to do, I’ve found it best to give up on doing it perfectly. I can’t learn if I’m aiming for perfection, it gets in the way of making my own discoveries of what works and what doesn’t. Ditto when I’m doing something for the first time. My history of perfectionism has made me avoid taking risks, and has narrowed life, fearful of making mistakes. Slowly, slowly it’s gotten better over the years.
Now, with the show at Toby’s coming up, I’m stepping into something that I don’t know how to do, that I want to do well. My risk aversive tendencies are surfacing. From previous experience I’ve learned a few things that help:
1. Name the perfectionism, instead of pretending it’s not there. 2. Remember that it doesn’t really exist, except for things like giving up smoking. I did that perfectly by quitting and not starting again. 3. Ask for help, which takes away the idea that I should know what I’m doing before I’ve ever done it. 4. When things aren’t working out, take a break, go work in the garden. 5. Try the suggestions people offer. They often know better than I. 6. Lower my expectations. This allows learning, gives things space to flow, and relieves my mind.
Grateful for these tools, they’re making this fun (mostly).