Perfectionism is a Program
Do you have the Perfectionism Program constantly running in the background of your Operating System? Do you keep adjusting your behavior to satisfy its demands? How much baseline stress does this create in your system?
When you observe something like this, it’s only natural to want to jump into doing something about it. That’s a trick. If this is happening to you, then the result will be overwhelm…and just imagine that as part of the Program’s self defense, self-repair mode.
Notice how you get pulled off center with this overwhelm.
Now, go back in the process to the noticing. Slow it down even further. Notice at what point you get pulled off center after noticing? What pulls you? Is it the jump to do something about it? Is it something else, a thought that tells you something, like…this is too big for you to deal with, or…what?
If you’re familiar with basic computer programming, you can continue to use that framework to conceptualize what is going on. When you notice, what routines start running? What do they do? Name them: Confuse, Overwhelm…what else? And most importantly, how…what is the mechanism used to achieve these outcomes?
Whenever you get pulled off center, just slow the whole thing down even more. Trace it back to that moment. You were centered, you noticed, then what happened and how?
First, it’s a program. Not “you”. Discovering this is monumental. Sit with it, really let it sink in.
Second, it’s always running. This means it’s always there and ready to distort your reality.
It doesn’t directly control your behavior like a pupeteer. It has trained you to adjust your own behavior and thought patterns to match its pattern. It herds you, like a sheep dog.
Here “I” go again
Always the “I”. You personify the Program because it speaks using “I”. It speaks with authority. It convinces you that it’s the part of yourself that is protecting you from…what…failure, mistakes? It can convince you that you need it to survive.
The Perfectionism Program is elegant and simple, and works primarily because it knows how our human system is built and operates, whereas we (the end users) don’t. The program is really elegant because it knows the system and it employs a nearly perfect economy of energy to accomplish its aims. You know shoddy programming from genius programming. When people say code is poetry, you are looking at it right here.
So, it knows that one part of the human system is geared toward language as a means of defining reality—both internal reality and external reality. This works in a couple of ways:
If you hear a voice (language) in your head, you accept it as your own. If the voice uses possessives (I, me, mine), then the effect is even stronger, meaning, it triggers either an emotional or physical response.
Sometimes this voice can switch to using “you” instead of “I”. This means it’s switched its interface from Self to Authority. “You shouldn’t do that.” “You’re going to be late.” etc.
In some people it has another mode, which is We. “We’re going to be late.” “We’re going to get fired.” etc. This can be thought of as the Collective or the Family. It’s more of a companion/helper interface than an Authority interface. They are all just masks over the same program.
Looping is employed throughout the program. You’ll see it pop up a lot, in different situations. It’s a really effective little piece of code that loops you back in.
There are two important things to do. Notice and stay centered. Anything that pulls you off center, including the idea of doing something about the programming, is part of the programming. It doesn’t mean you won’t do something about it, but if you look closely, and really slow the whole thing down, you’ll be able to eventually distinguish your genuine, powerful move toward action and the reflexive, energy wasting flail.
Narrator as a Program
Language is also used to define your external reality. The voice is constantly running, narrating your experience, when there is no need at all for this. You have a parallel system that does not use language to understand the external environment. It works instantly, accurately, uses almost no energy. It does not speak to you in words (well, sometimes it does, but we’ll get to that another time). Because we’ve been trained to trust the voice over this “knowing” (notice how Super Woo that sounds!), we have learned to pour our life energy, focus and trust into the language/narrative tool, even though it is not the optimal way to understand most aspects of our external life.
So there you are, on the Treadmill of the Narrative program. It talks to you about your inner life and narrates your external environment so that you can’t experience your inner or outer life directly. Instead, you are forced through a filter. The Treadmill is important here, because it takes a lot of energy to live this way. That’s part of the program too, because it loves to siphon your energy off. Our energy systems are naturally self balancing and self nourishing. But if you are on the Treadmill, your energy gets wound up unnaturally, and then either bursts or leaks out instead of naturally purifying and recycling within your system.
It’s much harder for the Programs to penetrate the non-language part of our system.
It speaks in your voice. We’ve covered how important this is in getting you to accept the program. Just step back and pretend you are some mischievous alien scientist who wants to implant various control programs into the human mind. Get really detached and just look from a designer’s view. You can appreciate how effective this particular design approach would be.
(now…please, everyone, I’m not suggesting we are being controlled by evil aliens!)
For the sake of this conversation, let’s say we have two parts to our Mind, two distinct systems. One system is geared toward verbal/written language. It has certain strengths and vulnerabilities. It is useful in certain circumstances for certain purposes, and not in others.
If a designer knew the basic rules and vulnerabilities of this system, they could easily create some programs to take advantage.
Survival. Another vulnerability of the system. Your prime directive is to survive, so anything deemed necessary for survival will receive priority and less general scrutiny.
It convinces you that it knows what’s best for you in ways you can’t begin to comprehend. Are you appreciating this from a designer’s view? Good one!
Intimidation, rejection, shame…it all comes down to fear in the end, and that is part of the Survival complex.
It convinces you that it provides the truest assessment of who you are. Because, once again, it claims to know you better than you know yourself. This is a Parental/God complex in action. Its objective is to contain you.
End result: you are minimized, like a browser. You’re still there, but you’re not really on screen, so to speak. When it gets too heavy, you can experience it as despondency and collapse. This is just to say the program has gained dominance or primacy and you are “running in the background” instead of the Program running in the background.
Now, imagine that this personified voice was not experienced in your head, but playing on a radio or external device. It might be maddening and completely annoying, but you would never accept its message as pertaining to your life, nor would you give it any particular merit.
Repetition is one of the vulnerabilities of the language based mind system. The “incessant” nature of this voice is just taking advantage of that.
I address this and have exercises aimed at diminishing this in the advanced sections of the Peerless series and in private consultation, but for now the important thing is to not waste your energy “fighting” it. The trick is to minimize it without engaging with it. It would love nothing more than if you went to war with it in some aggro head-on way.
The important thing is that you can see it clearly and you can perceive it as being separate from you.
As you get a clearer sense of what is not you, let the awareness of what is you…your All That I Am awareness and personal signature, grow and deepen. When you start seeing what’s not you, it can be so disorienting, especially when you become aware of how pervasive it is. The trick is to ground yourself in yourself. It doesn’t matter if that feels vague at first, or even for a long time. You can feel it, you can let that grow and settle in to it.
You are not your language based mind. Nor are you the non-language based mind.
Your mind is a tool and part of the vehicle for your awareness, for your All That I Am presence. It’s been hijacked and infested with these parasitic programs.
It feels like you are being deconstructed, but only because you (like everyone else!) have identified with the equipment, the hardware and software. There is a ‘you’, or a You Awareness, that is singular, natural, simple, powerful, and most notably, not fragmented. It’s not something that has this component and that piece, saying different things and having conflicting motives. Find that natural, unfragmented ground and rest there. That is your home.
Now, some advice! Once you have these powerful insights, you might want to go deeper into analyzing them. Pay very close attention to any point at which the simple clarity you experience when you notice turns into the muddy confusion of getting scooped up by the Loop. This is where you’ve leaned over off your center, chasing the insight. When you notice and observe, and suddenly you can see something clearly, notice how you are not chasing it. Then you want to chase it to gain, perhaps, a deeper insight, but what happens is you’ve left your center and are now off balance. The Program has these sweeper routines that are waiting to scoop you right back into some emotion or thought loop, which just causes confusion and overwhelm.
Insights come to you. You don’t get them by chasing them into some dark alley.
Your job and most powerful weapon is in noticing and sharpening your awareness, while at the same time, practicing staying right where you are, in the center, where the Programs have a harder time affecting you.
So if you really notice, you’ll see that insights come to you, you don’t hunt them down. The clearest analysis comes when you stay in the center, but if you follow some line of thought too far outside the center….whoosh. You’ll get swept up by one of the Scoopers and shuffled right back into some programmed loop.
More Basic Human
Whether you’re a parent or not, this is important for everyone. A lot of the issues that come up in parenting are really not even… READ >>
I’ve been friends with Doug since I was 18, and he knows I am totally apolitical. I’ve never discussed politics, never cared to and absolutely… READ >>
The world is going to break your heart. To pieces. Or maybe it will feel more like having your heart slowly wrung out, like a… READ >>
Does being abused as a child damage your soul? Is it possible that the current received wisdom of psychology is incorrect? I don’t think of… READ >>
Moving from insight to consistent action isn’t easy. Want to change your life, work on a project, create something? You’re going to need more than… READ >>
Ready to deprogram destructive patterns you learned growing up? Great, but that’s only half of it. It’s your choice, and also your responsibility. That’s a… READ >>