Academic Writing, Essay, Counselling
“It’s always helpful to remember that when perfectionism is driving, shame is riding shotgun.” Brené Brown, Rising Strong
I have never considered myself to be a perfectionist, but I now know, with the infinite wisdom that comes with my rapidly advancing age that I am a perfectionist by default, because it is easier to do the best you can than to feel the sting of criticism.
We live in an age of feedback, 360-degree or otherwise. During performance reviews, you must self-evaluate, but I have found that the attitude to failure is somehow falling short. In her book Emotional Agility, Susan David cites an anecdote of Sara Blakely, the billionaire founder of Spanx. Growing up, her father would say to her at the dinner table “So tell me how you failed today”. It is a brutal example, but the overall sentiment is shared by Richard Gerver, author of Change. Gerver states that to nurture resilience you must want something badly enough to endure the difficulties and challenges, while still finding a way through them.
It was March 2004. I was 27 years old, and I was unhappy. I was working for a national police force and not being particularly worldly, I had fallen for the dubious charms of a much older, divorced Sergeant. He had neglected to mention he had been in a long-distance relationship with someone for 3-years, I had found out from the married Detective who later tried to take advantage of my weakened state. I had been that all too common thing that female civilians in police forces were back then. I was prey. I hadn’t realised this, of course, because they had omitted it from my job description. I confronted him, he said he thought I had known all along. I told him I only knew what he had told me, and he had told me he was single.
I remember vividly that I found this situation unbelievably difficult to come to terms with at the time. I was a dreamer, gullible, impressionable. The individual in question used to tell me I was a “free spirit” which the “me” that I am at 41 now knows is code for…