For most of my life, I thought ‘my soul’ and ‘my spirit’ were pretty interchangeable, ie. they were the same thing. But part of getting my head around what I am NOT, (which I talked about here) was realizing that my soul and my spirit are actually two quite different things. I am indebted to the work of David Riddell, founder of Living Wisdom, for helping me to understand this.
As human persons, we are made up of four quite distinct parts, our body, mind, soul and spirit, which can be illustrated like this:
Mind and body are fairly easy to understand but ‘soul’ is a little more abstract and has to do with our temperament and passions. It’s where our beliefs and values lodge. It’s those beliefs and values that actually shape our personality.
Our spirit however, is akin to what we often call our ‘free will’. It’s supposed to direct our mind, body and soul to do this or that, believe this or that. However, it is always under pressure from the survival needs of the other three elements and is in almost constant battle with them. It is the fundamental “me” that has infinite worth and value.
Now if “My thoughts and actions create the environment for my spirit to live in”, (see my previous post here) then that environment can be very safe, or very dangerous, depending on the beliefs lodged in the soul, the thoughts in the mind and the condition of the body.
This series of articles is fundamentally about empowering your spirit to exert pressure on your mind, to change its thoughts, so that the beliefs lodged in your soul also change and your whole person becomes a safer place for your spirit to dwell (and less of a battleground too I might add!).
Perfectionism puts your spirit in real danger, as the vision of my wounded heart showed me, and contrary to what you may have always thought, it is not actually ‘who you are’ or ‘how you were born’. You, in your essence, are not a perfectionist, or a control freak or shy or thin-skinned. Any labels you describe yourself as, you have been pressured into becoming by your mind and soul overcoming your spirit.
Perfectionism, and any other ‘isms’ or labels, stem from a series of lies that lodged in your soul, probably by accident, at a very early stage in your life. These lies have been perpetuated by your mind to the present day. YOUR PERSONALITY IS NOT FIXED. IT CAN CHANGE.
Scary? Exciting? Perhaps you are feeling a little like you are in free-fall reading this. I know I did. Like the foundation of my house had been ripped out from under me. Don’t be afraid. A newer and better foundation can be put in its place. You can still be you. You can still enjoy doing your best. The difference will be the reasons why you are doing what you do.
Some Questions to Ask Yourself
Is your perfectionism your enemy or your friend?
Who is getting hurt by your perfectionism? Anger? Control?
How much do you really want to change?
Is the pain of staying the same worse than the pain required to change?