As a recovering perfectionist, I felt very tickled when I heard this line from the movie Letters from Juliet: “Saying I’m a perfectionist, is just another way of saying: I’m too chicken to do it”. I can laugh at this now, because I see it’s the truth. And that’s not say that I never fall back into my perfectionist a.k.a. chicken ways, it just means I become aware of it when it happens.
If you’re right smack dab in the middle of perfectionism’s sticky web, it may take some time to pry its tangled web from you.
My suggestion is simple: Have some FUN! I know you’ve heard it before and probably did a small eye roll and thought: what’s the point? How will that help?
That leads me to my second cinematic piece of evidence: “The King’s Speech”. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. The King has a stuttering problem that has not been resolved despite years of speech therapy. His wife finds a very unique speech therapist who makes the King play, dance, and sing while he is trying to speak to distract him from being self-conscious of his stutter.
It worked for two reasons. First, it distracts the mind from all of the anxiety created by the thought of speaking. Secondly, it allows the accumulated stress that is stuck to be released and flow out of your body. That’s the most important part since we know what accumulated stress can do to our immune system.
There is no better way to get out of your mind and into your body then doing some form of play. It’s a way to allow yourself to experiment and be free of the distractions created by your perfectionist. This is why I suggest it to all of my clients whether they are suffering from mental distress like hating their job or physical distress like IBS or muscle tension. Regardless of the symptom, having fun always does the trick.
On a more personal note, I am the child of a parent who stutters. I have watched my parent struggle to get even the most basic words out in both social and private situations. I have seen how the speech impediment can make a person overly serious, frustrated, and angry. As I watched this movie, I saw the drastic change fun created in the King’s life. I began to wonder how different life might have been had my parent experienced the release of all that tension, let go of caution, and just played. It may seem like a simple, even silly request, but believe me it can work wonders.