It’s finally sunny out today. The winter has been long, and now I can walk out in the yard and see spring’s first flowers, some emerging green, and…my shadow.
It’s always there, that shadow. A darker projection of me. Stalking me. Talking to me. Following me around like a black cloud, ephemeral but inescapable.
Measuring every thought, word, and deed by a club-shaped yardstick. That “other” Steve Woodruff. The perfectionist.
He’s really starting to piss me off.
Restless and never satisfied, this shadow knows only one unreachable standard. Who can argue with the standard of perfection? But to reach it? Beginnings are insufficient – only final attainment matters. To try is indispensable, but to fail is inevitable.
“Hey, thanks for coming. Unfortunately, you don’t measure up. Like, never. Have a good day!”
Chased by the shadow, I’ve managed to drive forward relentlessly; some would say, quite successfully. But not according to that alter ego. He can’t be satisfied. He has taken the position of hostile witness, prosecutor, judge, and jury. In that courtroom, all defenses are in vain. Five steps forward, no steps back, or you’re through.
Having high standards is a good thing. Being addicted to perfectionism, however, really sucks. It sucks the joy out of living.
It is time to dismiss this winter-like apparition, this tyranny of displeasure, and walk out into the springtime, shutting the door on its oppressive presence. Oh, to enjoy the sunshine while ignoring the shadow! To be imperfect and perfectly OK with that! Surely there must be a place for high ideals and imperfect reals, for moving forward without gazing backward, for holiness without heaviness!
“Get thee behind me, Shadow!” Ooops, I guess that’s sort of stating the obvious. Just stay back there and shut up, will ya? Time is short, and I’ve wasted enough of it…