Perfection is unattainable, yet, at times, I still berate myself for falling short. This prevents me from having true peace. I am definitely less harsh with myself today, but, I’m cyclical. An issue will come up, I’ll “conquer” it, just to see it manifest again, requiring me to dig deeper … which means taking a different approach, making mental shifts… blah, blah, and blah. I know that making some decisions and taking action will alleviate pressures in my life immediately.
The daily irritants list in my apartment is getting longer. Visual eye sores, like the front entry, bring my energy level down every time I leave, return, and when I have guests, which is all the time. Broken things make me feel broken, like I deserve less. The hall closet won’t fix itself. I’m constantly shoving coats and jackets around, fiddling with the door, at least twice a day….
So why do I CHOOSE to start each day frustrated with the same pet peeves? This stress is completely unnecessary because the solutions are relatively easy. The internet and the city are at my disposal. Finding solutions for my home is exciting… when it works out perfectly, like the shoe rack I just replaced, perfectly sized and sturdy. When it doesn’t work out, an old switch gets triggered and my lack of confidence sneaks into the situation and I respond with my old way of thinking.
This morning, while preparing breakfast, my husband and I looked at the toaster, and at the same time blurted out that we need a new one. No big deal, right? Well, a few months ago, the crumb situation became unbearable. We use the toaster almost daily. I am constantly cleaning crumbs to prevent unwanted dinner invitations to the critters of NYC. In January, taking full advantage of sales and added promotions, I bought this one by Bodum.
It looked cool in the photos online and the reviews were positive, so I ordered it. I was proud of myself for taking only two days to decide. But, I wasn’t thrilled when I received it. First complaint, the color is more like a red-orange and not true red. (I have a particular theme for the kitchen, modern-retro, colors true red, lime green, black.) On top of that, the crumb situation didn’t improve and the slots aren’t wide enough for thick bagels. The settings are an issue as well. It takes a long time for even a light toast, and, sometimes I have to toast a second time at setting One because some things burn at setting Three the first time around, but Two doesn’t always do it. The English muffins setting is Four, not Five, but Four is not enough, so then I set it again at One. (David said, “If Two is DONE, what is Five ASHES!?”)
We are on the same page to try another model. And we don’t have to keep it if we don’t like it. THAT SIMPLE. However, previous to this agreement, I tortured myself, playing the old cassette tape (the automatic, programmed recordings in my head): I have to be perfect, always: PLAY: I just spent money on a toaster… I waste money… Why didn’t I research further?… I should have gone in person, I should have known better… I should just stop making decisions about the apartment on my own … I am not good at home management and design… I always make poor choices… he’s blaming me for choosing the wrong toaster… I’m a failure and must keep the toaster as a daily reminder to punish myself for not getting this right like everything else that I screw up…
What??? All this over a toaster? (I acknowledge that this is excessive and overblown but I only see this when I write it all out. And what’s with all the shoulds?) Choosing a toaster that doesn’t work for me doesn’t translate into: Don’t bother making decisions because I am stupid. Low-self esteem and perfectionism work conjointly. Somehow, somewhere… I learned that I must have perfect answers and perfect solutions. Always. And when I am not perfect, I must suffer with my choices forever.
Holding on to that very skewed point of view (stemming from past experiences) is damaging, pointless, and limiting. I won’t let others hold me to any kind of crazy standard, not a partner, not a family member, not a friend. More importantly, I will not hold myself to some crazy standard of perfectionism. I control when the old cassette tapes get pulled out. They are almost all destroyed now that I am aware of how my mind plays tricks on me. The negative self talk stemming from past events and experiences conflict with how I presently live.
With all realization comes personal responsibility to take action. I can get a toaster that suits my needs. I can pursue creative and inventive solutions for my apartment and in every area in my life. And if something doesn’t work, I can make another choice.