Tie me up in a bow why don’t you

24 Sep

Tie me up in a bow! (Kim Cattrall for Baileys)

So, I’m starting big school today.

A Masters in Psychotherapy & Counselling. And very excited I am too. Pencil case – check. Pink folder – check. Geeky tin-foil packed lunch (because fees are darned expensive)- check.

After a whole summer course studying counselling & psychotherapy techniques, I felt challenged. And we all know I love to be challenged!

My question is…

Why, as humans, do we love things tied up in bows?

I’m not talking about presents wrapped in shiny paper and tied in sumptuous bows (although I do love them), i’m talking about life.

Maybe it’s just me.

So, I’ll make this personal.

Life is messy right? The t’s aren’t always crossed, and the i’s most certainly aren’t always dotted. Which makes me wonder quite where my discomfort in unanswered questions, and general confusion comes from (for it is what life is made of right?).

I am an organised girl – I file away my bank statements in the right section of my ‘House ‘stuff” folder. I have birthdays written down in a ‘birthday book’ and my filofax only stays at home when I do. I love to-do lists and I most definitely love the yummy satisfaction in crossing off the done items.

I wish I could cross of the things of life-

Issue with friend. Tick. Sorted.
Worry about family. Tick. Sorted.
Think about moving flat. Tick. Sorted.
Life plan. Tick. Sorted
The thing is, life is full of grey areas, journeys, loose ends, uncertainties. It can be turned upside down with one phone call, one prognosis, one sentence. It is full of things we can’t prepare for, ‘hold our horses’ for.

So, I have worked out. The battle I’m fighting is against perfectionism. A common battle. Maybe yours too. Perfectionism is the desire to meet high standards and the propensity for being displeased with anything that is not perfect or does not meet these extremely high standards.

The funny thing is, we are often the ones setting these standards.

When you aim for perfection, you discover it’s a moving target.  ~George Fisher

Not many things in life can be tied up in neat red bows and filed away in a drawer marked ‘done’. Complete. I should know that. I love people – I love working with people in their incompleteness, their messiness and their undone-neness. But the thing is, I don’t have set these standards for them.

I set them for me.

So I am challenging myself. To leave things undone – to find peace in the questions, the unanswered, the unfinished. If we were all complete, tied up in bows, what would we learn? We would be unteachable, unshakable, unmovable.

Surely – nothing that is fully complete – is fully real.

I want to be authentic, real and…messy if needs be. We are all broken in our own way, but the most interesting people are the ones not afraid to admit it! And the most inspiring – are the ones that aren’t afraid to show it!

I love the metaphor of a cracked clay jar full of treasures. I imagine seeing glimpses of the bright jewels through the cracks in the mundane dusty clay. Without the broken, marred surface – you wouldn’t see these rich jewels.

I want to be like this.

So, i’m going to go against my natural desire to round off this post, to finish, to tie in a big red bow….

And here I end.

11 Responses to “Tie me up in a bow why don’t you”

  1. jo September 24, 2010 at 11:01 am #

    if i were wrapped in a bow, nicely packaged and neatly stored, the people in your profession would be out of a lot of money.lol. im the re-gifted gift that you put in a bag that was meant for a baby shower…getting to know me has been a bumpy road, but i think i would be even more lost if i was wrapped in a bow…its not meant for everyone.

    good luck with school, and may peace travel with you through the day

    • Anna and Her Biro September 27, 2010 at 9:34 am #

      Ah thanks for your comment Jo. It’s sometimes harder to get to know ourselves than it is other people! I love your mention that getting to know you has been a bumpy road – at least it is one that you are taking the time to travel. Sometimes I wonder how much we know ourselves. You are right – i think if we are all neatly tied up then we would probably be more lost.

  2. Corinne September 24, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

    This is just fabulous. Part way through, my mind drifted and I really believed I was reading an article in the stylist…. very, very, very good stuff Anna – I am an extremely proud of you. Come round soon for tea and cake please?!

    • Andy Westbrook September 24, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

      There are some good thoughts in this article. Perhaps, in learning to communicate and listen to others, we can also understand, just because some of us strive for perfection, that does not mean everyone else in our lives subscribes to do the same. While in school, may I say, “Learn to think like your listener.”

      If I may, I would also like to leave an article with you as well.

      Best of luck to you.

      • Anna and Her Biro September 27, 2010 at 9:24 am #

        Hi Andy. Thanks so much for your message. I have loved reading some of your posts over the last few days. Unfortunately I can’t find the comment box!

        You are so right in that everyone doesn’t strive for perfection, and it’s certainly good to try and think like your listener – open mind and open ears. It’s in this that we learn to be teachable and challengeable. And in turn – changeable. I like your article on facilitation/leadership by engagement. I’m a big believer in the power of meeting people where they are at.
        Thanks 🙂

  3. Stacey September 24, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    Sooo True! I too try my best to make sure everything is tied up in a bow, and when I fall short against my own measures I tend to be hard on myself, or be emotional about it. But I am CURRENTLY learning that everything will almost never go as plan are directed. I actuall wrote a blog awhile ago about “sh*t happens” but it’s not all meant to cause you harm. We live in an unperfect world, with unperfect people, so not only will we not be able to conquer being perfect sometimes, the world can’t either.. Love your Blogs, please visit mine when you can!.. Thanks

    • Anna and Her Biro September 27, 2010 at 9:26 am #

      Hi Stacey. Thanks so much for your comment. It’s all a journey of learning isn’t it! Try not to be to hard on yourself. I love your comment about the world not being perfect either. Perfect is this concept that really doesn’t exist in this world – no matter how much we seek it. It’s never going to be obtained. There is so much beauty in flaws too – that’s where individuality comes in as well. If we were all perfect – we wouldn’t relate to the world in the same way. Please can you leave me your blog link? I can’t find it!

  4. blackwatertown September 24, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    I think I can relate to what you are saying. The idea of having material things all neatly and beautifully packed away sounds like an impossible dream – in fact I wouldn’t be that bothered anyway. But I do like to achieve closure or progress on obligations or helping people. That’s the sort of thing that preys on my mind if left unfinished.

    • Anna and Her Biro September 27, 2010 at 9:17 am #

      Thanks for your post. It’s a funny one isn’t it, the desire for closure. The perfect antidote is learning to fInd peace in the unfinished!

  5. 2zpoint September 25, 2010 at 8:19 pm #

    I feel that we put things in bows as a sign that it is different and special. You want a gift on a special day to have a special meaning you tell the recipient that it is with out saying so with a big red bow! strange that you pointed it out though…interesting topic!

  6. DaPoet September 25, 2010 at 11:56 pm #

    Don’t forget to pack your tin foil hat…LOL Just kidding. :)On a more serious note: As a poet while I strive to write the perfect poem I’ve learned that my best poems are those that I wrote for myself as opposed to writing in order to win someone else’s accolades. I have also learned over the years to strive to reach for the stars but to be happy with the moon as long as I can honestly say to myself that I did my very best.

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