Instructions for how to be a better perfectionist

Instructions for how to be a better perfectionist:

1. Identify which ideals are the very best.

2. Pretend that your life does not fit those ideals, but really should.

3. Be totally miserable and pretend that how you got to be so miserable is a complete mystery to you.

Symbol for the Enneagramic type " Perfect...

Symbol for the Enneagramic type ” Perfectionist” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That’s it. If you really understand those three points fully, you will become the ideal perfectionist. Well, actually if you really understand those three points fully, then you really should become the ideal perfectionist, but of course you actually won’t (…knowing you).
I should warn you that I might be joking. In fact, I should have warned you before I started that I would probably be joking eventually.

I’m really sorry. I take back that I did not warn you before I started. Please allow me to start over now.

My Life, by Bill Clinton

My Life, by Bill Clinton (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

Ok, so what you need to know about me first is that my past is not how it should have been. How I know that is because I have identified precisely how my past should have been (which I occasionally revise) and then I compared my past with my latest ideals of how my life should have been so far and… well, there is some good news and some bad news. So, which do you want first?

The bad news is that no matter what ideals I identify (arbitrarily) as the very best ideals, none of them perfectly match my life. My life simply has way too much variation for certain ideals (and not enough variation for others).

The good news is that it is optional for me to value a certain specific set of ideals over the totality of my life. Yes, I can be an idealist, a perfectionist, a miserable worshiper of arbitrary ideals. It is one possibility.

In fact, being an agonizing idealist is probably what I should have done (given that I have actually done that). However, I could stop.

Agonizing is a behavior, a pattern of activity. It takes time, right? It takes energy, right? It takes practice to develop it in to a habit (or even an identity)- a lot of practice!

Great! So, now I have told you the good news and the bad news. That only leaves the old news.

The old news is that I used to argue with people about which ideals are the very best. I used to be very sincere. I would even prove to you that I was more sincere than you. Sincerity was probably the very best of all possible ideals, right?

By the way, you may notice that everyone who is miserably cynical is also very sincere. In fact, a leading expert in the field of making things up has claimed that the most extreme form of naïve sincerity is cynical misery, which is also known as perfectionist agonizing.

Cynical (song)

Cynical (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Obviously, that assertion is quite preposterous. Everyone knows that cynical misery is a very serious condition which can only be treated with a brain transplant.

Unfortunately for… everyone… there are no available brains for transplanting and there are no available surgeons and it is not covered by any insurance plan anyway and obviously never will be (because you know how the insurance companies are…). Anyway, I really could not afford it even if it was free because… because… my busy schedule simply does not have time for taking any time off from identifying the very best ideals, then obsessively comparing my life to those ideals, then complaining that my life does not fit those ideals and blaming some politician for that (obviously), and then frequently promising to stop whining. Also, just as a reminder to you, I am still keeping my promise to stop procrastinating right after I finish waiting for the right circumstances to show up magically.

(“No, not those ideal circumstances… the other perfect circumstances. Don’t you realize that what I said last week about the right circumstances was back when I was very naïve and sincere and idealistic! I’m not LIKE that anymore. I’ve CHANGED… can’t you tell? What kind of a friend are you anyway?”)

Yeah, but… have you apologized lately for saying that you are sorry way too often? Have you promised to stop making promises that you have no intention of actually keeping? Have you called yet to explain why you do not want to talk to me? (Note that I only ask because I see that I have 14 missed calls from your number in the last 2 hours.)

In conclusion, you really need to be a better perfectionist. Because you clearly are not sincere enough about your commitment to being a miserable, agonizing, idealistic cynic, you may have a serious case of sincerity (which is often complicated by a sincere case of seriousness). That’s why you should ask your doctor today about whether Ofukitol is right for you.

By the way, this offer is not valid if you are a procrastinator. In that case, please don’t even bother.

No, listen, just forget it, okay? You always act like this. It’s so annoying!

This is why you are never going to have any friends. You are always so negative. I hate negative people like you.

Sincerity Is an Easy Disguise in This Business

Sincerity Is an Easy Disguise in This Business (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ironic? What is ironic about any of this? You really don’t even take me seriously, do you? You don’t understand me and you never will!

You don’t even KNOW me. If I was not a very polite person, I would TYPE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS and then calm down momentarily and extend my middle finger at you in a gesture of sexual frustration– but your sexual frustration, not mine.

I’m not frustrated. I’m not angry. I’m not contemptuous and I am DEFINITELY not resentful… you stupid idiot!

But the only reason that I am not resentful is because I am such a perfect idealist. I do have every reason to be resentful, of course, but I am so forgiving because that is how I should be. Anyway, how many flipping times do I have to tell you that I have already forgiven you for how you are always so negative (and passive aggressive… and critical… and a naïve hypocrite)?

Anyway, that is why I do not want to talk to you either. Yes, I called you back to just tell you that.

Hello? Are you there? Did you just hang up on me? You can’t do that!

Oh, hi… yeah I think I accidentally put you on hold for a second. Sorry about that. What were we talking about again?

Right, we were talking how I can’t just stop agonizing any time I want, you know, because of my schedule which is too busy…. exactly! Hey, do you still want to sign up for that course eventually on how to stop procrastinating about agonizing about the best way to be a perfectionist..? Okay, right, once you have better circumstances in your life, of course, yes, I agree completely. There is no need to rush in to it, grandpa.


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