Memes don’t change lives. As illustrated by 5 P’s.

Having made this possibly controversial statement, I have to add that I love memes. As a sometime meme generator, why on earth would I make this claim? I think they can help us think about things differently, but thinking doesn’t get you very far.

Why is this a topic for a blog? There’s a story I want to share and a point to be made. If a meme could change a life I would not be a recovering perfectionist today. I grew up with a poster just like this hanging in our kitchen:

Nobody’s Perfect vintage print.
Ours was an Artex fibreglass-type material.

I looked at this image thousands of times while sitting at our kitchen table eating cereal. Yet the core message never sunk in. I have a hazy memory that suggests I imposed my family onto those owls: I wanted to be ‘perfect owl’ up with mom and dad owl and my sister was then left to be ‘upside-down owl’. Now, my sister was known for liking to look at things from an upside-down angle (see photo), so I wonder if that means I’m remembering a remark made by a parent? (More stuff to unpack Tara?)

My sister rocking a frilly diaper cover and shoes, me rocking tights and a bodysuit.
It was the 70’s.

The 5 P’s I allude to in the title are:

Perfectionism…when your best isn’t good enough for the only judge that matters (that would be you). Check out this helpful overview of perfectionism. Note they include “nobody is perfect” as a tool under realistic thinking. However, there are additional steps to complete after looking at your thinking.

Procrastination…you can’t even start on something, usually due in part to perfectionism and fear of failure. It is an unhealthy coping strategy that usually makes you feel like you failed anyway. I struggle with this and Procrastination, Health, and Well-Being is #abookiplantoread

Patience…I find I have the ability to be patient with some things, but most of time I struggle. If this post sounds like you, its a good bet patience is not your strong suit.

Progress…when you need to be perfect, find yourself procrastinating, and lack patience, it would seem obvious that your progress toward any goal would be impeded. I think it’s a bit sneakier than that: I find that any progress deemed insufficient is discounted.

Peace…if you are beset by the twin demons of perfectionism and procrastination, your sense of peace is disrupted. All of the things you wanted to do, but didn’t, spin around in your brain. If you have anxiety, these thoughts churn and churn. Anxiety and insomnia worsen.

What is to be done? Read inspiring memes as they certainly can’t hurt, but I believe tackling the root of the issue is important. If you can determine why you have a strong tendency to be a perfectionist can be very helpful. Even without this insight, you can start to tackle the demon through challenging your perfectionist behaviour when you notice it. Gently guide yourself with an inner commentary, such as

“I’m going to let go and let things be good enough.”

Peace & progress,

Today’s tangents (#todaystangents):

Artex or liquid embroidery was a crafting craze from the 1970’s. It seemed like everyone we knew have these paint by numbers-type prints on their wall. There were even naughty versions where the daytime print was innocent, but overlaid on it was a naughty picture in glow-in-the-dark paint. A boy I grew up with had one of these in his room.

History of memes: The term meme comes from evolutionary biology, where is was first described in 1976 as “a unit of cultural transmission or imitation”. The origins of the word meme is are interesting, but humanity’s first memes are fascinating: cave and rock art.

Rock art near me: Writing-On-Stone or Áísínai’pi is the largest collection of First Nation rock art on the Great Plains of North America. Check out these image galleries to look for cave art near you.

Cave art image from the Bradford Foundation of Geneva.

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