Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

Perfectionism has been a thread in my life for a long time. It resides mostly under the surface, but can put an immediate halt to almost any project I want to complete. You may recognize the voice of perfectionism, saying things like: "I am not qualified enough to do X" "I don't have the right venue for this class" "This project/class has already been done a million times" "I don't really have anything special to offer", etc.

Perfectionism in my life has been a way to keep some parts of myself hidden. Especially those that I find to be scary, paradigm-shifting, or rebellious. I can't dress these parts of myself up neatly, nicely to be presented and maintain the "status quo". I am finding some of my most deep, meaningful parts actually want to be a bit messy. They come out in full force like a pile of unfolded laundry on the bed. My job is then to sort through, begin to fold, and take care of each thing that comes up. 

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Uncovering Joy: it's bubbling right under the surface

I have been reminded this summer that joy is not something to cultivate or to "achieve". Joy is a state that is inherent in all humans, accessible at any moment in time. 

Joy v. Happiness

We live in a culture obsessed with happiness. There are many self-help-y books, courses, etc which aim to increase one's happiness. While I am not opposed to happiness, by any means, it is a state that relies on external circumstances. "If only I had that car/ house/ relationship... I would be happy". Most likely you are familiar with the voice inside your head that tells these stories. Each of these are things that, once gotten, will eventually lose hype. And then, the quest for that thing that brings happiness begins again. 

So joy. Joy is an internal state, something that is not altered by external circumstances and is inherently primal in humans just like anger and fear. Joy is a state of being. So, I have come to understand that we uncover joy.

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