Lessons in Perfectionism-The Broken Pencil
Updated: Aug 23, 2019
As I have shared in previous posts, I have struggled for many years with being a perfectionist. Because of my hyper-critical nature, it often shows up as negative self-talk and pessimism. It is something that I have been very mindful of and worked on overcoming for the past six or so years (since I got clean and sober).
When I was in treatment, my amazing counselor Jen and I were talking through my constant need to be right and be "perfect" or "the best" in every aspect of my life. She took a wooden pencil and handed it to me. She told me the lead was the tough times and imperfect moments and asked me to break the pencil in a way that got rid of the lead. I snapped the pencil several times and there was no way to break it in a way to have no trace of lead left. Even when you try to pull the lead out of the center, there is still always a mark left behind.
I saw the parallels immediately. In life, you have to take the good with the bad and the happy with the sad. In order to appreciate the positive, you have to endure the negative. The tough times help write your story. Without them, you would not reach greater heights or aspire for more.
Though this is a consistent lesson that is taught throughout life, it is easy to set the impossible standards of knowing everything and never making mistakes. We all could give ourselves a break once in a while and take time to appreciate the pressure that we have been put under, as this pressure is what makes us all diamonds. :)