I’ll admit it: I am a perfectionist. I like to be number 1, to have everything work just right, to be at the top of the class, to be at the front of the line, to be the highest performer. The problem is that trying to be perfect is exhausting—and taxing on my mental health.
Recently I turned in an assignment for a class. Afterward I agonized over whether my submission would meet all of the grading criteria. More specifically, I was worried I would not receive a perfect score. I had trouble sleeping, talked up the paper with friends, and felt nervous and tense. Finally a friend reminded me that this is a triviality—that the earth won’t stop spinning if I receive a less-than-perfect grade! I realized that I was violating Recovery’s principle of being average by trying to be exceptional. I allowed my imagination to be on fire.
After this experience, I felt a bit guilty for not practicing my Recovery training better. However, Dr. Low reminds us to endorse for the effort, not the outcome, and before Recovery I would not have stopped this vicious cycle and would have continued to worry. After all, we are not to try to practice Recovery perfectly, but rather as an average person.