Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Perfection and the Mother Starter

I make bread every week now and have started noticing a few things about myself. Take this morning: while replenishing my Sourdough Starter (the “Mother starter”, they call it), I started to worry. My starter, you see, is a bit too sour for my taste. Not bad, mind you, but a little less of the sour would suffice just nicely. So, this morning I started changing it from a rye to a spelt starter and got thinking of experimenting with different consistencies— more liquid, less liquid, ect. While mixing in my seed culture with more flour and water I noticed how tense my shoulders were. Using ARC BodySpeak™ skills, I asked my shoulders what was up — why so tense? The answer was my age old nemesis, perfection. A part of me feels that I need (ha! no pun intended … maybe) to do this right —I mean really right. I need to bake perfect bread every time or my inabilities— my unworthiness—will be public knowledge. An inadequate loaf of bread is the equivalent to a neon sign blinking “failure, failure”.

The search for perfection, or the manifestation of perfection, is the trait of one of my more familiar codependent parts. If only I was perfect, this part bemoans, I, too, would be accepted, worthy, even loved. A bit dramatic but you got to love her, she keeps me entertained. At least she does now. In days gone by, she hounded me with threats of abandonment and rejection if I failed her.

I recently saw this dynamic at play during a community event. A couple of participants were demonstrating their unique skills and, despite being acknowledged and praised, could not see themselves in this light. It was frustrating but also embarrassing to witness. It was like looking at old funhouse mirror images of myself. In the past when my perfectionistic part was at the helm, I could not see myself in a positive light nor let the complimentary words of others penetrate. I saw myself as walking proof that no matter how hard I tried to be better, it would never be enough.

I sit here now at my computer typing furiously away, illuminating this perfectionistic part of myself. She needs to be seen for what she is: a codependent part that desperately wants to be found worthy. My job — me, my Self, the authority of who I am — needs to let her know, she already is.

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