The Meanest Boss I’ve Ever Had   2 comments

My last journal entry (on perfectionism):

I start out with the idea “I could do better” (in this case about counseling).  I think of what possibly went wrong, and how I could “fix” it in the future.  “I could do better” becomes “I must do better,” turning hope and potential into standards and judgments.  The way to fix my sense of failure and self-criticism is to be sure I don’t repeat the mistakes I supposedly made and so escape future shame—forgiveness earned through perfection.  This is a never-ending gerbil wheel.

Even though I might approach the issue as mere problem-solving and try to avoid self-criticism, the judgment hangs around the edges just waiting to pounce and drag me down.  And the longer I dwell on ways to improve, the heavier it weighs on me.  Driven by fear of repeating my failures, I come up with some good corrective plans and wish I had used those in what has already transpired.  And then “I could do better” becomes “I should have done better.”  After all, with just more reflection I figured out a better approach.  Couldn’t I have done this before if I had just been more observant or reflective, more thorough and careful?

Of course, this self-judgment cripples me, gives me less freedom and flexibility, makes me defensive and self-protective, makes me fearful and insecure, and in the end I am less present, open, and vulnerable, more tired and distracted because the good is overwhelmed by my attacks on myself.  My very desire to flourish becomes the knife that severs my flourishing.


Posted July 7, 2020 by janathangrace in thoughts

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2 responses to “The Meanest Boss I’ve Ever Had

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  1. Heather Holleman has written Seated In Christ about the tendency you struggle with. She is a prof of English and Writing at Penn State and also on staff with Cru. Your struggle is real and I trust you can not only analyze it but find God’s supply of what is needed.

    • Thanks for the suggestion. I have done extensive reading (and writing) on the subject and a huge amount of personal work. My trajectory is a good, healthy one, I just wish it moved forward more quickly. Much of my work is learning to be okay with not being okay, as strange as that might sound.

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