In today’s blog, I continue to share my personal experience with the Wheel of Initiation as taught and explored through the book by Julie Tallard Johnson. In the past two days I have had an opportunity to face and be open to releasing my “agreement” to carry the shadows of another and to carry the shadow of the world as it pertains to integrity (or rather, the lack thereof). Here is my story:
The gift and curse of the Perfectionist
As a Perfectionist (#1 on the Enneagram scale), integrity is one of the human qualities that I expect out of myself. To the best of my ability, I try to be honest in all my personal and business dealings, I charge only what I feel is reasonable, accessible and fair and I uphold a quality of standards in the work that I do both professionally and personally. While standing in integrity has worked for me and benefited my clients, my family and my friends (at least I hope it has anyway), upholding these standards can get me into trouble when I expect others to live within my definition of integrity. Being a perfectionist becomes a compulsion for me when I project my standards upon others and I find myself disappointed or “betrayed” by another’s “lack of integrity” and when I find myself giving up my energy to thoughts of judgment of the other, standing in self-righteous indignation and secretly plotting how I can “make that person change.” I know this compulsion has had the best of me when I find myself deciding to take on the work in regards to its lack of integrity. (sigh!)
So, this weekend, I got to come face to face with my perfectionism in its compulsive state. My daughter and I went house hunting and had the opportunity to look at a house that I had placed an offer on in the fall and lost to a local developer. The house was a “fixer upper” and I had gotten bids on what it would cost to bring it up to my standards. At first glance, the developer had done a nice job of “fixing it up.” But, upon closer inspection, I soon discovered that the house was not done in the way that I would have done it, not to mention that the current asking price was in no way reflective of the actual work that was done. At first I was disappointed, then I was sad, then I got mad. In the end, I had to admit that I would probably have to walk away knowing that in a very short time, all the “repairs” would have to be re-done anyway and that I could never justify the price knowing what had really been put into it. Then the compulsion of my perfectionist stepped in: “This is an outrage!” “They lied about …” “How can he justify the price?” “I know what he really put into that house…” Then I decided to take on the world. “This is a matter of social justice….just because someone can only afford a house under $100,000 doesn’t mean they deserve to be served up shortcuts and questionable workmanship.” AAARRRGGHHH!
So, what did this inner tantrum do for me? NOTHING! Will the developer change their ways? Doubtful! Is it my job to fix the world? Probably not! So, then I had to explore this experience in light of my own commitment to inner transformation and healing and this is what I had an opportunity to discover. When I find myself in this place of righteous indignation, here are the agreements I have made (in the words of The Wheel of Initiation)
- I agree to carry the shadow of __________________
- I agree to carry the shadow of the world.
- I agree to take on the responsibility to fix ________________’s shadow.
- I agree to take on the responsibility to fix the world.
- I agree that I have to be right and someone else has to be wrong.
- I agree to judging others so that I can always be right.
- I have to be right to be loved and accepted.
Quite a burden to place on oneself, don’t you think? When I agree to the above statements, they do NOTHING for me! All they do is drain my energy and keep me from my own path of creativity and productivity. In the Wheel of Initiation, we are invited to not only name, but give release to these kinds of agreements so that we can focus on our own call for inner transformation, self-discovering and creative expression. So, today, this is exactly what I will be doing.
Where do you struggle with perfectionism?
Where have you been disappointed when others do not live up to your standards and expectation?
How much time and energy have you given up trying to fix others, fix the world?
How are you being invited to shed the agreements that keep you from your gifts and your creative activities?
Authentic Freedom Ministries