Is there a wrong way to fold a bath towel? For people like me, that’s a trick question. There’s only one right way. Every other way but mine is wrong.
I was 10 years old when I decided how towels ought to be folded. My sisters and I did the laundry in our household — they were 8 and 6 — and I decided that our inconsistent ways of folding towels had to change. Our current towels were neatly stacked, but there was no system about how they were folded or turned in the stack.
I spent a lot of time thinking about how I thought they looked best. I talked with my sisters about it. Then I settled on one particular method. From that moment on, that became the way to fold towels in our household. It wasn’t just “our way.” It was “the right way.”
A lot of us have preferences about such things, but not everybody internalizes that his way — of thinking, of doing things, of believing — is the one and only way. This was a pattern of my perfectionistic thinking for most of my life — and it’s still a struggle for me to realize there can be other ways that are just as right as my own.