It’s no picnic to be a perfectionist. It can mean making yourself (and others around you) miserable with constant judgment, correction and impossible standards. But there are ways to begin to see through it. In order to learn something new, something beyond the beliefs and dictates of the personality (the personal software that you’ve come to think of as “you”*), you have to “go toward that which you are rejecting.” For a perfectionist, one way of doing this is to leave the “imperfect” ways of others alone. Your personality will likely predict dire consequences if you don’t intervene, but because it has never NOT intervened, “it” (the personality) doesn’t really know that this is true. It just THINKS it knows this is true. You are going to collect some evidence to the contrary.
So here’s a challenge for the perfectionists out there. The next time you find yourself on the verge of stepping in and fixing something, back off, leave it alone and watch what happens. With your Watcher’s hat on (read Chapter Six of The Not So Big Life to learn more about the Watcher), make notes about what the personality says will happen. Then watch and make note of what actually does happen. Finally, report back here and let us know what you find out. (I need to add here that I am not encouraging you to ignore real dangers–just the things that are really personal preferences of the perfectionist personality.)
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