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Letting Go of Perfectionism

As a child, I had to stay on guard to ensure I did everything right. My grandmother, Mother Margaret, was as strict as they came. As the matriarch of my dad’s family, she was a lineage carrier of perfectionism. She would bark at us if we didn’t use proper grammar, or stand up straight and look her in the eye. She thought kids should be seen and not heard. She was passing down Cultural Patterns from a long line of army generals and Boston Brahmins. She enforced strict rules from the legacy of Victorian Aristocracy—be proper, at attention, and no feelings allowed. I thought she was the Wicked Witch of the West.

My dad carried that intense perfectionism into my family. He was a career military man, and I had to be on constant high alert not to get slammed—mostly emotionally, but often enough physically. I learned to toe the line at all costs, behavior that evolved into my perfectionism. I constantly feared doing things wrong, so I worked as hard as possible to do everything “right.” It was exhausting!

Letting Go of Perfectionism

The Centering Skill of Letting Go has helped heal me. It has taken courage to look at myself, see what’s there, let it in, and then figure out what to do with it. I’ve had lots of help through many years of therapy, and I’m still on a lifelong healing journey. Here’s what I’ve discovered about Letting Go

I can Choose my way of being! 

The Resilient Mindset of Choice reminds me that my perfectionism is mine to manage.  Though my perfectionism is a Cultural Pattern handed down from my grandmother and others before her, I am responsible for my own life and whether I keep this Cultural Pattern going forward. I’m not a victim but an adult who can determine what is best for me. First, I need to notice how I get caught in my reactive Protective Patterns. 

When I practice Letting Go, I start by fundamentally accepting what is true about myself. I must Let Go of the fear I learned from my grandmother and father about being perfect. I have to Let Go and release my judgments about who I thought I was supposed to be. Then, and only then, can I be open to what is emerging as a possibility now. By Letting Go, a new way of being can arise free from Hypervigilance and perfectionism.

Freedom is possible! 

May you also choose to Let Go of Cultural Patterns that aren’t working for you.

With love and resilience, 
Chuck and the Dovetail team