Saturday, October 24, 2015

     Do we know what “Atelophobia” means? Atelophobia is fear of not being good enough. If you have never felt such fear, then stop reading now and go drink your latte. If you have, then read below.

     As a recovering perfectionist, I am always curious to learn who else labels herself a perfectionist. I wonder if we really understand what perfectionism is and why it is so harmful. Even Ken isn’t perfect. 

     Some of us are “hard-wired” for perfectionism. I have heard that term through the years, and I never really understood what it meant. It means, this is how we were taught to see our world; this is how we were raised. Yes, sorry, folks, it goes back to the FOO (Family of Origin). Now this is not to say, “Blame your parents, and keep wondering why you’re miserable because you can’t do things perfectly.” Yes, you can blame your parents or whoever raised you, but you can’t stay stuck in the behavior once you’re past puberty. We perfectionists know the feeling of frustration, “not good enough,” “if only we hadn’t done it that way,” “why bother?” and the litany of whines goes on. Bottom line, perfection is the enemy. It buys us nothing—no accolades, no status, no gold stars on our tombstones. It buys fear, anxiety, depression and a pouty face.

    Consider some well-known people’s take on the subject:
Ann Lamott, author Bird by Bird (best book ever for writers)
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.”

Brené Brown (Social worker, researcher, lecturer)
“Perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”  



     Brené Brown talks about “the photoshopped world.” This term jumped out at me. Is this our beloved face book? Do we just post all the touched-up parts of our lives so an unknowing reader would just assume that’s the whole picture? If a young person read all the fb posts on a given day, she could assume that no one has any problems but her. She could feel isolated, different, a loser. She wouldn’t realize that the stories on the page before her only reveal “the perfect” brushstroke of our lives on any given day; they don’t tell the whole or the real story. Some people not only post like that, they talk like that. They photoshop their rhetoric so we think we are the only ones in the world with a worry or a problem. They are like Barbie and Ken.There are no Barbies or Kens; there are just moments of them.

     As I am preparing for my second one-woman show, I am very comforted by the following quote by Ludwig Van Beethoven:

                  “To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.”