i was recently reading an article on perfection. in it the Author admonished the readers to not seek perfection and to become very aware of dangers of perfectionism. i suppose i would say i had a sort of epiphany at that moment because i became amazingly aware of all the ways that slaves seek to be perfect, and the dangers of perfectionism to the Ms/ dynamic.
Often we can not see the ways that perfectionism effects us because we do not recognize our actions as being perfectionistic. Perfectionism is not merely keeping an insanely immaculate home, or constantly dusting. It is also when you constantly see flaws in yourself and others, no matter how inconsequential they are and feel that “if only THIS weren’t here”. We may call it an attempt to be “balanced”, seeking continual improvement, or just trying to make the relationship “better”. However closer examination will often reveal that what’s really at play is perfectionism. Perfectionism can literally destroy the joy of slavery, remove the Respect the slave has for his/her Owner, and crack the foundation of the M/s dynamic. When we know what to look for it’s really easy to see the insidious seeds of perfectionism. Frequent discussion or contemplation of how things can be better, what’s “missing”, things that can “improve” are all symptoms of perfectionism. Perfectionism is in a nutshell the idea that nothing is ever good enough. No matter how wonderful, no matter how great, there is always SOMETHING that needs to be fixed. This is a problem because relationships are made up of fallible people (yes even M/s relationships!). We do not serve our Owners because they are perfect…we serve them because they are our Owners and we are intrinsically fulfilled by being their slaves. For example let’s examine one of the common things said by perfectionist slaves:
“i’m only trying to make the relationship better” – This implies that 1. something is wrong with the relationship as it currently is, and 2. you can make a unilateral decision to change it. Now the above thinking wouldn’t work well in a vanilla dynamic…so why do we assume that it will work in a M/s one?
i think it is important to say at this point that i am not suggesting that growth is not a desired trait. i am also not suggesting that we do not strive to be excellent. However, there is a difference between perfection and excellence. Living an excellent existence is possible…living a perfect existence is not.
i often hesr slaves speak of their Masters or their dynamics in this way, wistfully dreaming of the day that their Owner will be perfect, free from all flaws and THEN this will transform them into the perfect slave.
a small admonition- If your Owner has to be perfect in order for you to be their absolute slave…then this is not the life choice for you, because perfection is not a human trait.
Another way that perfectionism shows its head in the M/s dynamic is in the idea that if the Master were just “more” (insert verb of your choice here) the slave would “feel” his/her slavery more. This is problematic because it makes the slaves fulfillment dependant upon the Masters perfection.
So how can we recognize it when the perfection bug is at play? Ask yourself a few questions….
1. Are my concerns related to core values in the dynamic? (if it’s perfectionist thinking the answer will be no)
2. Do i find myself thinking “if only THIS were fixed”?
3. Am i never satisfied? Never content in my M/s dynamic or my slavery?
4. Do i compare our relationship to others?
5. i am frequently depressed because of imperfections in myself or my Owner?
What to do if you find that you are suffering from PSS?
1. Understand that you have value intrinsically. It is not necessary to be perfect to prove your worth.
2. Recognize the destructive influence of perfectionism.
3. Live in the now, it is almost impossible to suffer from PSS and be truly thankful at the same time.
4. Learn to live authentically. – Perfectionists are frequently inauthentic due to trying to appear perfect at all times. One cure is to live authentically and transparently. The experience of receiving love, even while flawed can be a great aid in internalizing that you don’t have to be perfect.
i hope that this little essay helps someone to see the dangers of perfectionism, and to recognize the ways that it can hurt a M/s dynamic. As slaves our focus needn’t be on perfection, only on obedience. ~Master Obsidian’s namaste (c)