Anyone who knows me well, knows that this past week has been different to say the least. I've done a lot of thinking and realized I'm fed up with two things: 1. The expectation of perfection and 2. People acting like having boundaries is somehow wrong. Both are abusive - point blank.
Perfection. There's a word I'm quite familiar with. I was taught as a child that God is perfect and we definitely are therefore are headed straight to hell. Oh hey, but since perfection is an impossible task, and God is love, he was kind enough to let humans murder his son as a substitute instead of killing all of us (I can't believe this ever made sense to me - oh wait, I was brainwashed). Even though our own efforts would never succeed, we still were supposed to try to "be perfect as your father in Heaven is perfect" because otherwise we were "crucifying Christ anew". If that's not a way to mentally fuck people up, then I don't know what is.
There you are, stuck knowing that what you do is irrelevant, but still feeling like you have to try to bail water out of a sieve lest you sink before the rapture or death come to rescue you. I've had people say to me "relax, no one is perfect" and it sounds great; but when I've made a mistake, many of those same people have ranged from disappointed to ripping me apart. The truth is I've made a lot of mistakes in my life but what's fucked up is that I can think of very few that were intentional and deliberate. After 29 years of dealing with the people who were supposed to love me saying I wasn't good enough, I left everything but my kids behind.
I didn't realize how far past full pressure I was till this week when I did something rather imperfect and immature at work but still not intentional, just in the heat of the moment. Less than 5 minutes after losing my shit, I knew I had made a mistake but I also wasn't sure how to prevent it from happening again. As I've pondered my life over the last few days, I realized that I should have understood myself better and done something about the situation before stress reached critical field. Normally I would have been hard on myself but I chose not to this time. I regret my actions and take responsibility for them and the consequences; however, I refuse to be ashamed because fuck it, I'm not perfect and I'm finally accepting that. Instead of striving, I just need to be an adult and that requires having boundaries and enforcing them.
Reality is defined by boundaries and if it were not, I suppose everything would simply be one infinite jumbled sea of whatever the stuff every particle is made out of. IBLP, the organization my parents acquired most of their seriously misguided ideas from, put out a book called The Pineapple Story. You can buy it if you want the long version but don't bother. if you are that desperate, I'll write a longer synopsis of it so you don't waste your money. This is the short version:
A missionary decides to grow pineapples on his plot of fertile missionary land. The natives steal his pineapples. Missionary gets angry, loses sleep, becomes an asshole driving the natives away receiving the Bad Missionary award (that could go to a lot of people...) God tells BM that he's failing because he's putting pineapples over the people he's trying to help. Pineapple man extrapolates from this that we have no rights to anything. You know, turn the other cheek type shit but not just cheeks or pineapples - everything. Some obsequious fools took that to mean for example, they shouldn't call the police when men repeatedly broke into their house to rape their wives and daughters. I'm sure from that example, you don't need me to provide others to get the gravity of this lunacy. But hey, I believed this to a certain extent too for a while.
As I've struggled with letting all this brainwashing go, I met with a lot of resistance. Nearly everyone who says "it's cool, no one is perfect" will become upset with someone for screwing up in the same day - I'd put money on it. It could be the barista messing up the coffee order or their partner forgetting to check the mail, who knows, but something is going to bug them because NEWS FLASH, they're not perfect either. Genpop wants you to be perfect because it benefits them but god forbid you throw any restrictions on how they interact with your life and realms of influence: "that's expecting perfection".
Each element and compound have different boundaries and structures. Some mix well, while others release energy explosively when combined. The boundaries you have define who you are just like atomic structure determines an elements properties. You aren't an asshole for having boundaries. If you allow yourself to be dirt, you will be walked on. Yet, you cannot fight every battle - that's what children do. Almost every toddler has a stage where it seems like everything makes them scream. Unless coddled, they quickly learn that their wailing is a pointless endeavor unless something is seriously wrong.
Not knowing and accepting who you are is like window shopping - you want something, even think you might deserve it, but believe you don't have the money for it. That feeling of deserving the unobtainable is what causes anger to boil because deep down, know you have the power but can't see your way out of it. As that internal struggle builds it gets to a point where the stupid snap behaviors come into play. You know you can do something, you're an adult for Pete's sake, so you just do anything needed to prove a point. Accepting who you are and what you believe not only informs your values, it empowers them. We put up with shit because either we don't think we have the right, or we don't want to deal with the consequences. If you put yourself on an island with a bunch of thieving natives, you will have to let the idea of retaining possessions go to be effective at developing relationships and making a difference. However, a business person would be stupid to leave their doors unlocked in a society with laws to punish malfeasance. Mature actions should be based off of the end goal and your priorities (which should include love at the top if you are a mature adult).
Why are perfectionism and a lack of boundaries abusive? Because other people put them on you to take what they want. We've sat around for too long thinking either we don't have the money for things in the window, or that we deserve things that we do not. I saw this the other day in an article about finances " stop saying I can't afford xyz because the truth is that we find money for what is important to us." Maybe if we understood what we actually are, we would reappropriate the currency to back values that could change our world. Regardless of your opinion on unions, they are an example of a group of people saying "we've been pushed around enough. We're worth something and you need to recognize it." Facebook is replete with bitching about how messed up (you fill in the blank) is in the world, but who's taking the sacrifice to say in an adult manner "I've had enough and refuse to stand for it anymore." Just because you develop some rigidity doesn't mean you are becoming an unsavory person. Diamonds are one of the hardest items on the planet but they still allow light to pass through them when polished. The form you take will dictate the life you lead.
As I said earlier, I regret my stupid behavior (no, I didn't harm anyone) or more accurately, I regret that I didn't learn this sooner in life. In many ways I was expected to be an adult from childhood completely skipping much that and my teenage years. At the moment I feel like that kid has grown to mid teens but it feels like it's been an exponential type of growth - super difficult at first but now years are flying by. None of us deserve to be bullied, disrespected, treated like garbage but we let people do it because we don't find the voice to say "no". Good people don't need to be told no because they have empathy but many people lack that quality and need to be stood up to. That doesn't mean that they are all evil, it simply means they need to be told that their antennas are out of alignment somehow.
We see very little empathy coupled with authority. Most powerful people are sociopaths completely lacking empathy. A bulldozer can get a lot done but life and relationships don't need bulldozers. Many children's favorite word is "no" because they still think they are powerful. We are taught that we are powerless by those who are afraid of us and want to use us. Good parents only take away their child's power temporarily giving it back each day as they grow in wisdom and empathy. Like I said in a recent post, adulthood isn't a tool chest you are given when you leave your parents house and know how to use because you saw them do it. Every day till graduation should be a chance to take out a tool and learn how to master it.
It's time to start saying "no" to the maniacs who have been in power for ages, before they drive us into extinction. Who are you and what are you passionate about? People who have the security of knowing and accepting themselves while possessing empathy could probably change the world.