I talk about it all the time, it seems, on this blog. (sorry.)
It's not really a perfectionist demon--though some would argue with that. I don't know, maybe it is. It's more like a "should" demon.
I spend much time every day thinking of things I should be doing, and am not, and feeling guilt over it. I also spend time each day thinking of things I should have done, and feeling guilt over it. This is not right. I KNOW THAT. But I am ensnared by the demon!
Like right now, for instance. I am thinking about how I should be exercising--since the other thing I'm always thinking about, whenever I'm not thinking about what I should be doing or should have done--is how fat and out of shape I feel. And you got it, I'm feeling guilt.
Okay, now since I just wrote that, I'm thinking about how I should not have eaten that bowl of ice cream at 10pm last night. (But it was Moose Tracks, and I couldn't help it!) And now I feel (a little fatter) and guilty.
Now, I'm thinking that I should go engage my four-year-old in some kind of creative play instead of studying incessantly (and barely keeping up) and blogging while he is watching a cartoon. And I feel guilty.
It never ends. I think about what I should be doing for my children, what I shouldn't have said to my children, what I should be doing to study better, what I should be doing to increase my testimony, what I should be doing to clean my house, what I should be doing to serve more and not be so selfish . . .
But you want to know what put it over the edge? This is the moment I realized that I truly have a problem, a categorical demon of the most demonizing kind:
Yesterday as I was working in the kitchen (because the demon had been sleeping or otherwise distracted and I actually did a whole bunch of things that I should have been doing! Cooked a great new dinner, planned a creative Family Home Evening lesson, baked yummy chocolate treats for afterwards . . .) I was about to toss some onion skins into the trash, when the demon showed up with a vengeance.
"You should put those in the compost bin," he snarled in my ear.
But I didn't want to walk outside, even though it was maybe 20 steps there and back. And my compost bowl was being washed. So, I brushed them into the trashcan with (yes! I know!) a small bit of guilt.
Then, after opening a can, I looked down to see that the recycling bag I usually keep next to the trashcan was gone, and I was feeling a little too lazy to go get it, so I sat it on the counter and stared at it. And the demon said, "You should recycle that! What kind of responsible citizen are you?" It was evil, I tell you.
I realized that I have so many goals, so many expectations, that they even include my trash! I have this stupid goal to see how much compost I can accumulate each week because it feels so unwasteful and self-reliant, and I have a goal to see how full I can make the recycling can and how empty I can make the trash can! Do you see the madness? I know it's a problem when even my garbage has to be perfect, and I'm feeling guilty if it's not!
I couldn't take it. I even started to laugh. I am crazy! I am twisted!
I admit to you here, that in an act of self-preservation, (sorry, Mother Earth) I brushed that can from the counter into the trash can.
And here I am the next day. Still feeling a tiny bit guilty. I wonder if I should fish it out?