This morning finds me thinking about perfectionism. My really awesome friend Jenn calls her critical inner voice the Perfectionism Monster, or “PM” for short. I love this, not only because it can be very monster-like, but also because it calls to mind the title “Prime Minister,” which is exactly how that voice speaks: bossy, demanding, and in charge of All The Things.
If you are one of those amazing human beasties who does not suffer from this particularly cruel inner voice, add that to your gratitude list. For the rest of us, I’m guessing you have already groaned and thought of several stories from your own mental archives in which your PM said nasty things to you. Perhaps this morning when you looked in the mirror, or yesterday when you didn’t make it to the gym, or last week when for the first time this calendar year you ate something that wasn’t perfectly nutritious by whatever rules you’re currently lording over yourself.
Have you ever really noticed how you talk to yourself? I don’t mean talking to yourself out loud, although I notice that about myself also 😉 I mean, the voice you use, addressed to you, when you dish out all these criticisms? Jenn and I are “accountabilibuddies,” charged with catching each other out when we are being too harsh with ourselves. As the conversation went when we made this commitment, we often speak to ourselves in ways for which we would have zero tolerance if we heard it out of someone else’s mouth. I want to remember, every moment of every day, that I am the protagonist in my story, not this Perfectionist Monster. If I let it take over, make my decisions, stop me from trying things I might do poorly, then who is living my life?
I am working on my meditation practice this month. Yesterday was just no good. I sat for the allotted amount of time and never did get my mind on board. Shockingly enough, I am really pleased with myself, however, because I had barely started to criticize myself when I caught it. I know meditation goes this way sometimes. I have read enough experts sharing their stories of days when the thoughts would not settle down, and no amount of forcing or cajoling could do anything about it. I still sat. That is all that matters.