Angels of Incidentals in 2012
February 8, 2012 by Elle Nolan
This year, as with every year, I come to some insights after thinking about the past. I was thinking about some of my more ‘embarrassing’ characteristics, and thought about the universal implications, such as the plight of human beings, and how they struggle throughout life to find a way to make it through without too much mental damage. And then I began to see memorable events in my childhood… about me, my parents, my siblings, and my friends and enemies. I remembered how I had such a difficult time letting things go easily.
The reason some of us have such a difficult time letting things go, and having to backtrack to “fix” things is because some of us are perfectionists. It doesn’t matter if you tell us: “you can’t make everything right,” or “just let it go, it’ll all be okay in the long run,” no. Perfectionists have to do it right every time, and if they have to, they will go over and over again on the same matter until they feel it is as right as they can make it…It’s in our psyche.
Remember those kids with whom you played hopscotch, who got all bent out of shape when they barely touched the line, and INSISTED on doing it all over again. Or those strange behaving kids that made a tiny error in the spelling or punctuation of their work, and had to erase the whole sentence or use a whole new paper–because you could see the erase marks…? Yup! That was me.
It is terribly hard on those people who are perfectionists, believe me. Others see them as dramatic, as overbearing and controlling, or maybe even a bit neurotic (okay, VERY neurotic).
However, they seem to grow up and do such stupendous work, especially meticulous work, that one cannot fathom how such a person can spend the time and effort on such details, or how that person manages to catch all the little things no one else seems to catch. It isn’t easy,
On the bright side, many of these people are discoverers of tiny little objects like a virus that creates polio, or psychological people that make theories based upon nuance behaviors in people, or theories about the universe no one ever noticed before. These kinds of people have a tendency to wade through large volumes of information, are capable of tenacious and redundant activities in order to ‘catch a single difference in
statistical behaviors. ALBERT
SIGMUND FREUD & NEWTON
When I was a child, I observed everything. I watched how my mother walked, my father laughed, and how every person I came in contact with, behaved or spoke. I was very good at “acting” like someone else, from their voice, to their mannerisms.
On the negative: many of these types of persons are very good criminals at forgery, or copy painting of famous works or jewels, or of making fake money or checks; what can we say? They have to pay their time if they do the crime.
DICAPRIO (actor of criminal) & FRANK ABNAGALE (famous forger, criminal, turned informant for the government)
Some of our greatest presidents, generals, clergymen, psychiatrists, doctors– all sorts of people and professionals–have been perfectionists.
They did okay,didn’t they? Maybe their personal lives were a shambles, and many of them were talked negatively about, as having been too dramatic or dictatorial, or just plain weird… . And yes, some may have been hard on others, like Hitler!
However, in many or most cases, they usually brought others to a higher degree of disciplined standard in whatever they did.
Every person has their strengths and their weaknesses. I always felt a little less confident because I knew I had some areas where I simply could NOT be perfect, even in areas I had nothing to do with, for example, my looks or my body shape. So many people truly are perfectionists, but many of them learn to let go, and let things fall where they may.
While being educated, every teacher with whom I was fortunate enough to be a student, told me: “Lydia, you are too hard on yourself.” When it comes to successes as well, my successes to others were never successes to me, but I saw them as having always the probability of being better than they turned out to be, if only I could continue to “perfect” them.
I could tell if someone sung off key and even when someone were lying, by their behavioral movements, or having remembered everything they said about something prior to this time. I am admitting this because I think it’s important enough to bring up, especially to those who may have children growing up, showing signs of perfectionism.
The paradox of such people is that they have very low tolerance for others who do NOT do or say the right things (in the perfectionist’s mind). They seem always to find something wrong with others, or to find some type of improvement method for situations. Yes, they can be critical. But don’t be too hard on your children, parents, those children who have these tendencies.
Maybe you had a “perfectionist” parent. I did. Forgive them. They could not help wanting you to be perfect. They could not help wanting you to HAVE everything perfect. And no matter how many times they fail, they strive for a perfect world. While they probably could not, or cannot now effect such an outcome, they are prone to attempting such a monumental feats forever. Which means they struggle just like everyone else in life, only to a much more complex degree. All I can say is: allow their neurosis, and don’t let it get you down. See them as The Angels of Incidentals, and try to do your best around them. They live shorter lives, and many of them die of illnesses that manifest due to their strenuous efforts. They just want to make sure everybody is in place and life is as it should be, so let the angels do their neurotic job, and smile, move out of their way, and shove the water over your shoulder as they say.
If you are not one of them, I guarantee you’ll be alright, and maybe even be better than you thought because of them. There is a reason for everyone who is here with us, including us.