Perfectionism[ Apr 15, 2011 ] [ by Frank Mosca, PH.D. ]
I think it is fair to say that when a person encounters a new way of looking at the world, they find it difficult to enter into it completely. Rather they attempt to translate their new experience into the coordinates of the old, more habitual way of seeing the world.
So too with Option, as Bruce noted on many occasions, people who have initial success with the method and experience happiness, now become disillusioned, unhappy when they find themselves becoming unhappy again on some given occasion. Somehow this was not supposed to happen. They thought they had become enlightened and somehow immune to the possibility of experiencing themselves as unhappy.
So what’s the problem? Essentially the person is applying the “rules” of his/her old system of experiencing themselves. Many times that old system had some heavy duty expectations about how things “should be.” We all know that expectations are simply another word for what we say “must” happen in order for us to be happy. So the first thing to understand is that if we find ourselves unhappy it’s because we have given ourselves reason to be so. Perhaps we didn’t think we ever would. But there it is; we find ourselves unhappy. What to do? Well, by the old system’s standards, this is unacceptable. We “should” have known better. We didn’t learn properly. This is just like us to “blow” the incredible chance Option has given us to be happy. There must be something really wrong with us if we turn our backs on happiness this way!
So what is missing in this description? Freedom is what is missing. Perfectionism is a system which excludes freedom. Perfectionism thrives on judgment and fear of failure to control outcomes. So what is excluded is precisely what is the key here. Unhappiness comes to be feared and hated in a perfectionistic system. Option, on the other hand, has no fear or hatred of unhappiness. Option simply allows the truth of the experience of being free and happy to convince people and change their hearts. It brings courage alive to get past fear.
So the answer to perfectionism is the realization that being unhappy is not a “sin” or a sign of some personal deficiency in any way. It is simply a sign and symptom of what we might be believing in any given moment and therefore an opportunity to remember our happiness. The more non-judgmentally comfortable we are in relating to ourselves, the easier it is to choose happiness. It’s never a matter of being perfect [whatever that could possibly mean] but rather a matter of being free.
Remember that to re-member is to put something that has lost its wholeness back in its original condition. Happiness is our original condition, our existential default position so to speak. We are never in the “Humpty Dumpty” situation of not being able to put ourselves together even if we “have a great fall.”