Read a good self help book recently. “Fear Of The Abyss“. It is about perfectionism and control issues. Written by a psychotherapist, it is very easy to read and insightful.
In a conversation from that book, the client is describing their struggle to protect someone else from emotional pain. And the psychotherapist asks “How do you know that the pain, the crisis, is not good for them?”
This is a sort of light-bulb moment. Several times I have done things just to protect someone from knowing the truth, just because I thought the truth will hurt them. But almost never I thought that the truth might have brought an adjustment in their thoughts and beliefs and might have made them a better person. I was content playing God, protecting others. Sometimes the issue of concern would just fed away as time passed. Sometimes the issue kept popping its head and made it difficult to keep the lie, and protection intact.
This desire to control, and desire to play god is at the heart of perfectionism. Calling a task complete is equivalent to giving up your control over that task. That’s why I don’t like to complete things. That’s why I keep procrastinating, because I want to be able to control. Often times I don’t write blog posts for months even though there are several ideas ringing in my head. Writing about them and publishing the post means giving up the control.
And then there is another question in my head. What is ‘Value’ of something? As a rational human being, we are programmed to seek value in positive, beneficial things. We like to food and we are willing to pay for it. We are convinced about value of education and we are willing to pay for it. We appreciate the comfort and shelter a house provides and we are willing to pay for it. We also appreciate the value in control. If I decide to rent an apartment instead of buying a house, it allows me to live there without committment. Because committing to something is giving up control. So I am willing to pay a little extra to avoid committing and keeping my control.
We live in a society that appreciates and rewards positive things. But are we willing to pay for a crisis that will teach us? Are we willing to pay for bad experiences, inconvenient truths, moral dilemmas, just for the character building aspect?
I don’t have an answer yet. But it’s time to click “Publish” on this post and give up control.