Identify Your Oppressor

photo by Sam Lamott

photo by Sam Lamott

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.                        

-Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

Without perfectionism, wouldn’t many of us feel free-er to do what we had set out to do, and then to be done with that particular thing? On to the next, and then finish that one, and so on? But then sometimes we get stuck. We listen to that loud voice insisting that there are still details left to fix and manage. We lose track of the big picture, we stop noticing what else is happening around us, happening inside us.

There is, actually, a large amount of freedom to be gained by simply noticing. Noticing that the overwhelmed feelings, the control we are exerting over even the tiniest details, the stress and lack of sleep we are bringing on ourselves is often done in the name of making things “perfect.” And yes, that voice, the one telling us about perfection, can get very loud.

But deep down inside? The voice of your oppressor, as Lamott calls it, isn’t the only thing you can hear. There are other qualities you value. 

So, when you get to that familiar place of stress and overwork and sleeplessness:

Take a deep breath. Listen to those other, maybe quieter voices. Notice what they are saying, and that you get to control what voice you listen to. Use a different voice, a new message, to inspire even a one-degree turn from your current path. You may be surprised by what even a subtle shift can open up in your day... your week... your life.