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Background photo: Anne Ku at Ilp, Netherlands, May 2001.

Bon Journal

The perfectionist's racket

Proud perfectionists who insist on being right are brought to their knees when they realise that they are just running a "racket".

A racket is a sequence of action-reaction that leads to a vicious circle. For example, whenever someone is unreasonably happy and content and I'm not, I would try to equalise the situation by saying something that might irritate the other person. By doing so, we both become equally irritated and unhappy. If the other person runs out of things to say, I don't stop. One approach is to dig up the past and question the other person's actions which he/she can't change. My mother calls it "zwan nieu jiao jien" which means digging into the bull's horns. You keep digging even though you're at the end.

Another racket is to criticise the other person to make myself feel superior or more right. Ultimately this makes me feel guilty and I try to compensate the guilt but never quite make it.

I'm my own worst enemy. I find myself cursing and scolding myself for things that go wrong.

On the second day of the Landmark Forum, I declared that I was going to chill out and not let anything bother me anymore.

When I spilled the hot red candle wax in the bathtub, I didn't curse. The next morning I just laughed. When I accidentally knocked over a plant, I didn't flinch. Sure I wish there was an undo button or a way I could turn back the clock, but it wasn't up to me. It's the beginning of ending the racket I've been playing on myself.

4 March 2003 Thursday

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Anne Ku
writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.