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The Bliss Mistress Guide: Doing It Right

by Edie Weinstein

I have never considered myself a perfectionist. Sure, there have been times when I have been more detail oriented than others, since much of my daily life involves multi-tasking. I prefer not to let things slip through the cracks or drop any of the plates I have been spinning in an attempt to dazzle and impress. Ooopps, did I admit that?  Guess so. In the past, I wouldn’t have been as transparent and instead would have led with the idea that I had to accomplish as much as I did since it was expected of me by family, friends and professional colleagues/supervisors. 

I had been an A-B student throughout most of my academic career. I would love getting my report card, since it too seemed like a measure of my ability to deliver and my success quotient. My parents weren’t insistent that I excel, however they modeled excellence in what they did, so I assumed it was something I needed to focus on as well. They each kept the same job for most of their careers, earning praise. It was a path I wanted to traverse; the praise, not the one and only job. At this point, my resume is two pages and growing, since I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up. I too received accolades for doing what pleased the people around me. I didn’t want to lose the approval, since it felt so good. As a result, I quickly figured out how to meet their needs. 

Professional writing entered my life when I became the publisher of a magazine back in 1988. I was also my own editor, with the oversight of my husband who had his own ideas of the ways in which the articles should read. He did have perfectionistic tendencies. At times it reminded me of a teacher grading my papers. Something felt like it was left wanting. That was me. It wasn’t simply a matter of him polishing my writing. I took it personally. When I write, it is sometimes feels like a conversation with the reader; as I imagine their response to the words that come through. 

Fast forward and I too am an editor for an on-line publication. Writers whose work needs little or no polishing, as well as those whose prose needs major surgery, pass through my hands. I do it kindly and with a sensitivity about how it feels to have ones’ creation scrutinized. 

As someone who writes for various publications and websites, my words are under a proverbial microscope as well. When I send articles in to editors, on occasion, sometimes they are sent back with suggestions for changes. That’s when I have a bit of an ego twitch. It feels like my ‘baby’ is being insulted. Clearly, no one is exempt from correction and re-direction for the purpose of inspiring change. Fortunately, it doesn’t become a ‘pout-a-thon’ and I am able to take the feedback for what it is. I know that the editor wants the words to sing and not sink. I am willing to look even more deeply at what is behind the fear of disapproval.  Part of the dynamic is that I have related too closely to the words that come through me. When they are looked at askance, it seems like I am being dissed as well. 

Somehow, I internalized a long standing belief that always doing my best and then some, was a measure of my worth. I could be counted on to ‘do the right thing’. The difference between the writer’s perceptions of what is their best work and that of the editor is sometimes as fine as a thread. 

In the wise words of Brene Brown: “Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be our best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth; it's a shield.”

Edie Weinstein, LSW is a colorfully creative journalist, inspiring transformational speaker, licensed social worker, interfaith minister, BLISS Coach and the author of The Bliss Mistress Guide To Transforming The Ordinary Into the Extraordinary. She calls herself an Opti-Mystic who sees the world through the eyes of possibility. She is the host of the weekly radio show called It’s All About Relationships on VividLife www.vividlife.me  Her website is www.opti-mytical.com

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