Upside and inside couldn’t be more aptly named – because it about sums up my life right now. After eight out of state trips in March and April… 88 miles run in April despite all the travel… all I can say is thank God I had to call off my marathon because that would not be happening right now.
I’ve written a ton of blog posts… in my head… because there simply hasn’t been time for anything.
So today I’m slowing down, resetting my rhythm… vacuuming out the car and changing the wiper blades… literally… because there hasn’t been time for that either and I was down to one flopping piece of rubber on one blade… driver’s side… you get the picture.
I’m into my fifth course of my master’s program… so far so good on the 4.0. Which brings me to my point…
In my Winter I term I had an interesting conversation with my professor because I was frustrated. My frustration was not lessened when his only response to my concern was that the rubrics weren’t realistic and it was pretty much impossible to get an A. That is just about my greatest nightmare. Almost as bad as when I went to Florida a couple weeks ago and forgot my running shoes. (Yes, I’m being sarcastic… kind of… I know, first world problems right… But seriously, I’m not talking about these things as real, I-can’t-live-with-this-situation issues, but yes real personal, internal struggles. Because we all know what these things represent.) At some point in the conversation, my professor asked me, “why is it so important for you to get an A?”
It seemed like an illogical question coming from a professor. Luckily, I was quick on my feet that day, or at least had enough caffeine in my body to appear so, and I garbled out some answer about how the A represents the highest level of learning for the course and of course I wanted to achieve the full objectives of the course.
But the whole time there was a little voice in my head shouting, “Liar.”
I want an A because I want to be perfect. Punto. End of story.
Sure there are some more worthy objectives for me too, but I am also the person who knows from top-of-the-line head hunter/recruiter that a 4.0 on a resume makes it look like your university wasn’t necessarily challenging. Which is most definitely not the case, as I currently procrastinate on the challenge of facing today’s homework.
I am a self-professed perfectionist. I know it and I also try to balance it out. And I’ve gotten better at using that aspect of my personality as a strength to produce quality work, rather than focusing on perfection for perfection’s sake.
So, it isn’t surprising that when I got an email newsletter this week from a Mexican psychologist/nutritionist about “perfection and eating,” it caught my eye. I had the opportunity to listen to the podcast this morning. I’d link it but it is in Spanish so that may not be particularly helpful. So I’ll give you the summary version. I loved the simplicity of it, or maybe it was the perspective, or maybe I was just finally at the right moment of my life to hear this.
She explained perfectionism as a result of two fears: 1.) fear of rejection and 2.) fear of making mistakes. Those two fears have their root in a belief/false view of our own value and worthiness of love. She also addressed the difference between perfectionism and doing your best as not linking our own value on the outcomes of any specific event or job. She also stressed the importance of enjoying the process rather than focusing on the outcome.
Then she linked perfectionism and eating. In my case, I’ve always been puzzled by how someone who has anorexia – a restrictive eating disorder – can also occasionally binge. None of the descriptions I’ve read of eating disorder have been able to explain this to me. Because it isn’t a constant flip-flop… it is a “once in a blue moon” eat way more than I ever would let myself. Or it is being very restrictive but when I do eat – I eat five cookies type of situation. So technically I’ll I’ve eaten in a day is very little, but what very little I do eat is total junk.
She explained that perfectionist often find so much pressure in constantly doing what they should be doing and doing it perfectly, that eating is the only area where they let themselves be imperfect. It is still restrictive, so that characteristic is still there, but the content isn’t perfect.
It helped me understand some of the deeper roots of my eating habits. As I continue to progress in my path to mindful eating, hunger-based eating, and eating in a healthy way… I found one more piece to help me understand what happens in me and how I can work to be free one day.
Because, we are all worthy to be loved. Just as we are.