a “type A” personality’s guide to letting go.

The dictionary defines a “Type A personality” as having “a temperament marked by excessive competitiveness and ambition, an obsession with accomplishing tasks quickly, little time for self-reflection, and a strong need to control situations.” (source: Google, natch)

I’m not particularly competitive, at least when it comes to sports and Monopoly, but I MAY have dipped my toe in the control freak pond a time or two when it comes to other areas of my life.

Let’s just say I most definitely have room for improvement. So, I came up with this handy little self-help guide:

Step 1:
Find a paint-your-own pottery studio and a 5-year-old. The second part of this step is crucial.

Step 2:
Come up with the brilliant idea for said 5-year-old to paint something for her dad for Father’s Day.

Step 3:
Wait until the very last minute to put Steps 1 and 2 into play.

Step 4:
Wear your open mind and your least favorite clothes.

Step 5:
Take a deep breath. Repeat as necessary.

Step 6:
Let your 5-year-old pick whichever item he or she chooses. DO NOT try to steer him or her away from the tea cups to the coffee mugs, even if you’ve never seen the recipient drink a cup of tea. Ever.

Step 7:
Position yourself close enough to your 5-year-old to watch the work, but not close enough to touch the work.

Step 8:
Repeat step 7 as necessary. Stop scooting your chair closer, she can see you.

Step 9:
Take a few pictures to distract yourself from your burning desire to control the situation. Gain perspective.

Step 10:
Take a deep breath. Repeat as necessary.

Step 11:
Take a deep breath. Repeat as necessary. Remember, in through the nose, out through the mouth.

Step 12:
Pretend you want to go look at the pottery samples on the wall. Repeat steps 10 and 11.

Step 13:
Give consistent and regular encouragement. This part is the most important, regardless of your neuroses. They are your issues, not hers.

Hey, sometimes self-help is also tough-love, people.

Step 14:
Repeat step 9.

Step 15:
DO NOT ask your 5-year-old if she’s SURE she’s done one, two or ten times. The piece is done when she feels it’s done. It does not need “just a little something else right here.”

Step 16:
High-five your little artist for her great work.

Step 17:
Wait patiently for a week while the pottery is fired in the oven. Apologize to husband for his Father’s Day present being “a little late.”

Step 18:
Admire the final product. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the moment of pure pride in your child’s face.

Step 19:
Realize that while no one is perfect, this coffee mug is.*

Step 20:
*Don’t beat yourself up too hard at your inability to complete step 6.

In unrelated news, I had a 5-mile run scheduled yesterday. It was great! I was slow but I felt strong. That’s all I can really ask for. Well, that and always finishing my run at a perfectly clean and orderly .00 distance, but that’s another guide for another day.

Coffee or tea? I’d love to hear from you!

11 thoughts on “a “type A” personality’s guide to letting go.

  1. This is funny because I have actually done this. I had to go grab something to paint (an espresso cup, no less) just so I wouldn’t hover over the 5-year old I was with. How come it is so hard to just be a noodle and let things happen organically? It has to be genetic. I blame my parents.

  2. The mug is PERFECT. I friggen love that thing, and O and you of course. I have to say though that the last picture of the mug needs some color correction, the yellowish white point does it no justice, seriously the mug is awesome and I just took a drink from cup number 4 today. I wouldn’t want to offer help with that though as I know it would be tough to relinquish control.

  3. So sweet! I am definitely not at all a type A personality. However, I do have some MAJOR control issues. Nothing cures these better than children. It’s so much better (for all involved) to just let go and let them be creative. Of course sometimes I need a xanax to help me realize that. Love the mug.

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