Dealing with perfectionism

Practice makes perfect. But what exactly is “perfect”? Talking about obscure things, like the foggy ideas that swim in our minds, this is the best example I found in my everyday life. Trying to do your best is what I’ve been taught to do and what I’ve always considered the strongest skill. Besides being an abstract and subjective concept, setting high standards can move mountains and people with the sole power of self control and determination.

Certainly, striving for excellence is a very powerful way to get things done and motivate yourself. You visualize the destination of your journey, you keep coaching yourself and your chances to give up are as low as you can imagine. See for examples athletes, that undergo very long trainings to meet their expectations, but also scientists and artists. Pictured like this, the ride towards “perfect” seems the ultimate trick to success, but being a perfectionist can be very hard. Nothing is never ok until you’ve checked it enough. And “enough” always means a lot. If you don’t put a limit to this attitude, you might end up paralyzed in a broken mechanism, repeating the same things millions of times and never going any further. And we don’t really want to stay still and waste our energies, right?

Michelangelo Buonarroti, one of the best artists of all times, used to destroy the artworks that he didn’t consider flawless. Imagine how much beauty the world would be filled of if people was less severe. Moreover, psychologists say that perfectionism is a self-defeating behavior and in its pathological form makes us vulnerable and can drive to unipolar depression, anorexia and suicide. As always in life, the key is balance. Yes, but how do you understand when is the moment to turn the page and switch to the next step? Here are a few hints on how to limit your perfectionism:

  • face it

Do you set yourself always higher and sometimes unachievable standards? Have you ever stopped before you even started? Do you feel anxious because you could possibly make mistakes? Are you so critical that you’d rather do things yourself, because you are the only person you can trust? Do you check and re-check what you are doing millions of times? Do you get nervous if nobody sees your commitment and achievements? Are your friends and colleagues under pressure when you are around?

If you answered YES to at least one of these questions, then read forward. Don’t pretend, face the problem, notice your attitude and try to make sure you don’t lie to yourself. Being conscious is your first step.

  • be realistic

Perfect doesn’t exist. You know it, just tell your hellish self that the world is beautiful because it’s not perfect. There’s no right way to be, there is your way, my way and so on. Everyone deserves the chance to express himself, and you need to give your creativity this opportunity. Don’t try to appear at your best and to please others. People won’t judge you by what you are doing: there is nobody outside looking at you with the same critical mind that you imagine. Really, they have other things to do.

  • stop talking, do it

Now that you understood that you can try, then stop procrastinating and do it. You have plans, dreams, ideas and so many wonderful interests that you don’t know where to start? Just pick one and go for it. What if you fail? Failure is a risk, but also an opportunity to learn. It’s not a tragedy. Remember, the best ideas come from failures.

  • meditate

Take some time for yourself to set your goals, talk to your inner self and make peace with it. Love yourself, love your body, love your mind, embrace your fears, recognize your achievements. See every step that you are taking, be in the present moment and be aware of what you feel every day. Only by listening to yourself you can grow, overcome fears and get better. Not perfect, just better.

“Perfect is enemy of good” Voltaire

 

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RAINY DAYS IN LONDON

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Rainy days remember me about London: after my first few days in the city two years ago, I understood that boots, coat and umbrella were the elementary equipment I needed to survive without sneezing all the time. After that, I found out that the capital of the queen is lovely with the rain, and started to appreciate it.

Water washes away dirt from the streets, it lows down the pollution and cleans the air, while it nourishes those wonderful plants that adorn parks and gardens. It makes people socialize when taking refuge at a bus stop, under a roofing or in a bar. It can also be romantic, if you have someone to share the umbrella with, and fun for any kid who loves to get wet. I love it because it leaves inspiring puddles everywhere, generous pools that double the world and change perspectives for a while.

I remember one day in spring, when I was walking down the street towards Maida Vale in West London, and the sun was warming my face. After something like ten minutes, a storm arrived and my little umbrella couldn’t face the wind. I had to wait at a bus stop until the clouds passed and the sun came out again, with a rainbow.

An incredibly beautiful setting, but next time, I wish I could walk in the rain despite the violence of nature. Here’s what I need: I found a special umbrella which never breaks and can withstand 100 km/h wind, much more that my body can do without starting to fly, I guess.

The umbrella is called Senz, and its aerodynamic weird shape, besides being a design job, protects against all weather conditions: it doesn’t go inside-out, poke you in the eye, limits your visibility, and also protects your back. Plus, there’s a nice story. Senz was created from the smart idea of a Dutch guy, who made a graduation project about it in 2004, then founded a company with two friends, and now has a worldwide known brand with different collections and colors. I absolutely want one, and it would be a perfect excuse to fly to London for a weekend, and test it.

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GREEN LASAGNE

Here’s one of my favourite dishes, delicious and perfect for a dinner with hungry friends. The original recipe is typical of my hometown – my grandma’s makes superb lasagne with freshly homemade green pesto – and this is an easier version for dummies like me.

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What you need

A 500g box of pasta lasagna
Pesto sauce (160-200g)
3-4 mozzarella cheese
Grated parmesan cheese
A glass of milk
Extra virgin olive oil

 

How to prepare

Turn on the oven at the maximum temperature and prepare an oven-pan with oven-paper on it and a sprinkle of oil. Cut the mozzarella cheese in little cubes and put it in a bowl at one side.

Boil water in a pot, add salt like you’ve learned to do for any king of pasta. When water is boiling, sear the pieces of pasta one by one, and place them in the oven-pan, covering all he surface. When you’ve completed one layer, cover it with the pesto sauce (in this picture I didn’t put a lot of it to show you the layers, but you should put more sauce, don’t be stingy), add a spoon of milk, some cubes of mozzarella and sprinkle some parmesan cheese on it. Continue with the other layers making the same procedure, until you’ve finished the pasta and put only parmesan cheese and oil on the last layer.

Now put your composition in the oven and wait around 15 minutes. When the upper and lateral side is turning bronze and you smell the incredible smell of basil mixed with cheese, your green lasagne is ready. Call your friends and wait a moment before eating it. you don’t want to burn your tongue, don’t you?

COOKING TIPS: FRESH FILLED TOMATOES

One of my favourites vegetables when the temperature is too hot is tomatoes. Remember the Filled tomatoes recipe I’ve already published? Here’s the summer version, a fresh and easy recipe for a finger food that will suit every garden or beach party.

Pomodori ripieni – summer version

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What you need

7 red tomatoes (San Marzano, the long ones)

150 g of tuna in olive oil

2 eggs

1 handful of capers

Mayo

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt

 

How to prepare

Boil some water in a small pan and cook two hard eggs. Wash well the tomatoes and cut them in two parts for the long side. With a little spoon remove the interior part of the tomato and put in on a side. You should have 14 red boats: dispose them on a large dish with the round side downwards. Now it’s the time of the filling. Drain the tuna and put in a bowl with the interior part of the tomatoes. Add the hard-cooked eggs cut in small pieces, a handful of mince capers, salt and some mayo (just a little bit, a couple of spoons). Mix with a fork and fill the tomatoes. Put it in the fridge for half an hour and your finger food is ready.

 

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