Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Losing Control

I've always been a perfectionist...have to make sure things are done to my standards all the time. I notice as I get older that I'm starting to lose my passion for perfection. I'm starting to think that life is too short and if I try to keep doing everything perfect I won't have a chance to do everything I want to do...and I have a lot of things on my list that I want to do (like learning ballroom dancing...writing a book...going cross country skiing again, and a hundred other things).

I'm reading an interesting book that I picked up at Borders when I was trying to buy "The Secret" and they didn't have it in stock...I found an entire section called Self-Help books. There were so many self-help books I could not decide which one to buy...I'm not always good with "self-help"...I like when someone else helps me...maybe that's why I was in therapy for 10 years when I was in my late twenties and early thirties...but now that I'm turning 50 I thought maybe I am ready to self-help myself. So, I bought this self-help book called Excess Baggage by Judith Sills, Ph.D. She is a nationally recognized public speaker and former radio host, and she is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Philadelphia. For $14 I thought I would see what she had to say (beats $100 or more for an hour therapy session)...and I could read the book at my leisure...that is if I ever have any leisure time.

I took the book to Italy with me and started the first chapter on the first of five common obstacles to happiness that Dr. Sills feels are part of our excess baggage that holds us back. I thought that if I learned about my excess baggage it might help me address my perfectionism...since it does get in my way of happiness sometimes. Dr. Sills says the five obstacles are:

- We need to be right
- We feel superior
- We dread rejection
- We create drama
- We cherish anger

Yep, that's all me...the perfectionist...all 49 years of me...I'm a control freak...have to control everything...have to be right...(that's as far as I got in the book so far...I can think of it as one therapy session ...or half of a therapy session). Dr. Sills says we should begin with small situations and try to be more spontaneous and let others take control...yes, let others take control...I'm going to try...yes I'm going to try to lose my perfectionist ways...to lose my control...I'm going to:

...let my husband do the laundry (so what if he throws my favorite black cashmere sweater in the dryer by mistake like the last time and it shrinks to fit a baby)
...let my husband load the dishwasher (this is a tough one...can you believe I am a perfectionist when it comes to loading a dishwasher...I'm embarassed to say it, but I'm a dishwasher filler freak...I have to make sure that every nook and cranny is filled to the brim with dishes...not half empty before I run the load)
...I'm going to let my son put away his clothes that are hanging all over his chair (I'm trying desperately not to touch that stack of clothes...are they clean or dirty and they are mixed together...ooh it's a struggle...now he has even started to close the door to his room...I may have to sneak in there after he goes off to school...stop it...stop it...lose that control!!!).

I'm trying...yes I'm going to try to lose my control...my perfectionist ways...it definitely gets harder as I get older...but I'm determined to lose some of this excess baggage before I'm 50...so I can be happier in my 50+ years...wonder what I will have to do to get over the fear of rejection...haven't gotten that far in the book yet...will let you know when I get there...stay tuned.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is the best yet!