3 Ways To Break Free Of Perfectionism

Worth reading – from Off the Web!

 “You’re imperfect and you’re wired for struggle but you are worthy of love and belonging.” ~Brene Brown

There’s nothing perfect about me, and I’m okay with that… now. This wasn’t the case for most of my life, though. In fact, I’ve been a perfectionist for almost thirty years. I’m not counting the first five years of my life when I was free to be as messy and magical as I wanted.

In third grade I asked my mom to buy me a stack of lined notebooks and colored pens. I spent hours neatly labeling each notebook by class, date, and assignment deadlines. If I made one mistake, like a jagged cursive letter or a misspelling, I’d rip out the page and begin again on a fresh sheet.

This was tiring but it was also a compulsion. Everything had to be neat and ordered or else—or else I’d be out of control, scared, and overwhelmed.

Before my parents divorced, they rarely fought, but my father’s frequent absences and his coolness toward my sister and me sparked a firestorm in me.

Expressing anger wasn’t a thing in our family, especially for women. That simply wasn’t Christian enough or loving enough or good enough.

So I denied my anger and my sadness and, most of all, my fear that my family was breaking apart and I couldn’t do anything to stop it.

Inside I burned like coals after a long night’s fire. I never let it get too hot. I played the good child, the loving daughter and sister, but my life was out of control. Thus began my long dance with perfectionism.

I tried to be a perfect girlfriend, perfect student, and perfect employee, all the while denying the expression of my full self, imperfections and all.

At parties, I perfected the art of banter and hosted like no one else. All was accounted for, each detail a way for me to control life.

I never realized that perfectionism was an attempt to avoid all rejection,                                       all criticism, and all failure.  It was a matter of life or death.

Perfectionism saved me from drowning, but it didn’t help me to swim. I was treading water, staying safe, and desperately trying to control my reality, which is never truly possible. What I realized later was at the heart of perfectionism is the desire for love and acceptance.

Life is a practice and when we practice we make mistakes. The desire for love and acceptance are universal desires. There is no shame in mistakes, just an opportunity to learn and to grow.

No matter the root causes of your perfectionism or your desire for it, know that it is a desire for love and acceptance and there is another path to get there. Maybe your family only showed you love and attention when you did everything right.

Maybe you feel the need to challenge yourself to be bigger and do better in your work and your relationships. This is not a bad thing. But there’s a difference between excellence and perfection.

The One Thing You Need to Know to Overcome Perfectionism –  Surrender

… to the moment, to change, to messiness or imperfection. Surrender is about accepting where we are at in any moment, knowing that we are a work in progress.

Excellence, unlike perfectionism, is about lovingly pushing ourselves to act, think, relate, and create from the highest part of ourselves.

Perfectionism is about trying to control the outcome in order to receive love and acceptance.  It’s all about fear.

Surrender gently tug us toward our own center of perfect humanness. Surrender also invites self-forgiveness, an act all perfectionists need to practice daily.

3 Tips to Manage Perfectionism

1. Laugh.

About anything. Do it often. Having a sense of humor about ourselves and our actions, especially embarrassing or disappointing experiences, doesn’t have to be a shield or form of protection. Humor can heal or at least create enough dopamine and endorphins to get us through the tough moments.

2. Forgive, forgive, forgive. Most of all, yourself.

Forgiveness is actually a selfish act. This is not a bad thing. Forgiveness releases us from fear-based thoughts and emotions. It is the gateway to surrendering our perception of control over our lives and over the actions of others.

3. Surround yourself by free spirits.

If you can’t find anyone like that in your circle of friends, then read about them or watch movies about dreamers and risk-takers—people who’ve failed or made huge mistakes only to overcome them and create an even better life than they could have imagined.

 • ~ •

After thirty years of perfecting perfectionism, I’ve finally learned to let go of controlling every detail of my life. It’s scary sometimes, and there are days when I want to organize and reorganize my desk instead of facing what’s really bothering me.

But those difficult, uncomfortable, and challenging moments pass much quicker when I simply exhale and surrender to whatever is in my heart and in my mind. A softening occurs, and my body finally relaxes instead of being constantly braced for struggle.

I may still compare myself to that social media dynamo who effortlessly attracts a huge following on Facebook or avoid looking at myself as I pass a store window for fear of being disappointed by my reflection, but now I just smile and keep going, knowing that this too shall pass.

Edited for readability
by  Erin Dougherty    Join Erin Dougherty’s mailing list at www.birdsongreadings.com and get a free copy of “Finding Your Personal Mythology.” Or join her Facebook group“The Mythic Life,” all about the everyday hero’s journey.

3 Solutions to Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are NOT uncommon.

Some people experience them once or twice in a lifetime while others have them whenever they’re speaking in public or are preparing for an important phone call. In severe cases, sufferers may feel like they’re going to die.

Anxiety is defined as “fear of the unknown”, and historically, it aides in survival. It’s close relative,  fear,  prepared us to choose fight-or-flight in dangerous situations by heightening our senses and dumping the fine-tuning chemicals into our blood stream, like adrenaline and epinephrine.

Yet today, while still protecting us from genuine danger,  fear and panic somehow morphed into a bunch of barely relatable and dysfunctional afflictions:  panic disorder,  obsessive-compulsive disorder,  phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder.

As your rate of breathing accelerates, you begin to chest-breathe instead of belly breathing (breathing deeply). This causes hyperventilation, where you are blowing off too much carbon dioxide (CO2) . This leads to a rise in blood pH, which in lay-terms, means symptoms like dizziness, weakness, fainting, headache, and tingling in the hands and feet.

SOLUTIONS

1. Focus on deep breathing.

Hyperventilation brings on many sensations, like lightheadedness and tightness of the chest. By learning to tune into your breathing, and then consciously controlling it, you develop a coping skill that you can use to calm yourself down when you begin to feel anxious. If you know how to control your breathing, you are also less likely to create the very sensations that you are afraid of.

2. CO2 Normalizes blood pH.

If you are already experiencing a full-blown panic-attack, breathe into a paper bag.  It will reduce many of the extraneous symptoms of panic and help normalize your breathing by re-balancing your bloods pH.

3. Practice relaxation techniques.

The opposite of a panic-response is a relaxation-response. If you are prone to anxiety attacks,  learn and practice relaxation techniques. When practiced regularly activities such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and progressive muscle relaxation, you are strengthening the body’s relaxation response. It also helps you become aware of the difference between bodily sensations that are relaxed versus sensations that indicate dysfunctional tension. Make time for relaxation exercises every day!

**Note: If these techniques do not help, please see a therapist for a deeper evaluation of the causes for your panic. 

Source: The Neurobiology of Panic Attacks

Life Is Like a Book. 



How To STOP Overthinking Everything

“We all do our best to stay positive, but occasionally we can slip into negative thinking patterns that can wreak havoc on our lives. We might worry about our past mistakes or current stresses, and how these could lead to negative outcomes in the future. We might obsess about or over-analyze regular experiences and interactions, reading into them things that aren’t actually there. We might find that as soon as one bad thing happens, we associate it with all the other bad things that have happened in our lives and begin to feel miserable. We might feel anxious in the present, having a hard time getting out of our own heads as we worry and obsess about the things that could go wrong.”   ~ Thinking Minds

If overthinking interferes with your general sense of wellbeing, here are a few tips to Take Back Control of Your Brain!

1.  Understand “Normal”

The brain is actually hardwired to think out all the possible outcomes of a situation.  Thanks to the decision-making frontal-lobe, we’ve evolved to think about our problems.  But overthinking keeps the brain in an agitated cycle while dumping fight or flight chemicals into our blood system(Research shows that overthinking releases cortisol, the stress hormone, that will get you even more distressed).

2.   Jot it down

When you notice your thoughts are recycling the same scenarios, taking a few deep breaths will help calm the brain down. Then put your thoughts on paper. By getting it “out of your head” and putting it in black and white on paper, you effectively short-circuit the brains need to remember! And looking at it, instead of thinking about it, you get a new perspective.

3.  Practice mindfulness meditation

When we’re racked with too many thoughts, we feel over-stimulated. Mindfulness meditation can quickly calm you down, making it easier to make sound decisions. Try it now – close your eyes. Focus on the air moving in and out as you breathe. Tune into your tactile sensations: your weight on the seat, the feel of the fabric of your clothes, the warmth of the sun on your skin…. If thoughts arise, notice, and allow them to float on by….

4.  Get moving

Changing your environment, walking, hiking, biking, getting the heart pumping, can loosen the closed-circuit cycle of relentless thinking. You don’t need to try to clear your mind – just let your thoughts roll through your head at their own pace.

5.   Check your beliefs

Underlying all anxiety and all overthinking are a set of beliefs. Have you ever asked yourself where they came from? Or if you actually really believe them? For instance, most people are mortified by the thought of tripping or falling in public. Why??? “People who fall are idiots”. Hmm… I actually do NOT believe that. “People who fall are weak”.  I don’t think that’s true either. But maybe being perceived as weak means you’ll need to be removed from the herd! Well, thanks to the frontal-lobe, I no longer need that instinctual response, so I can choose to dismiss it.

What a relief!

 

How to Meditate – in 5 Minutes!

Meditation Apps To Calm Stress And Boost Mood

Worth Reading from Off the Web! By Natasha Baker

In a bad mood but not sure why? New smart phone apps provide short guided meditations designed to help you return to a positive state of mind.

Stop, Breathe & Think, a free iPhone app, prompts people to check how they are feeling mentally, emotionally and physically and will recommend three guided meditations between five and 10 minutes long.

“We wanted to give people a friendly and accessible tool to develop these skills – something they could easily integrate into their daily routine,” said Jamie Price, executive director of Tools for Peace, a California-based non-profit company that developed the app.

It aims to help people feel more grounded, calmer and happier, he added, and to recognize emotions and impulses and to react positively.

“The recommended meditations are meant to be a support, to help you deal with whatever is going on from the perspective of kindness and compassion, and with a greater sense of being positively connected,” Price said in an interview.

It includes 15-guided meditations based on Tibetan teachings. Users can track their progress including how long they have meditated and how settled they feel every day.

Canadian singer K.D. Lang, who serves on the group’s board, said she used the app as a reset button for stressful days.

“Our goal is that after using this app people learn how to become calm, and approach their everyday life from the perspective of kindness and compassion,” she said.

A similar free app called Headspace, which is available for iPhone and Android, also teaches meditation and provides a free ten-day program that leads users through short guided meditations.

It also features specialized meditations to improve sleep or reduce stress or other problems, as well as paid programs. Users can track their progress day-by-day in a dashboard and set reminders to keep on top of their practices.

Studies have shown the positive benefits of meditation, including research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association which found that it may be helpful for reducing anxiety and depression.

Buddhify This $5 app describes itself as “the urban meditation app for modern life,” and was named the number-one health app by UK news outlet The Sun. App Store reviewers rave about the app’s clear, simple design and relaxing guided meditations. Customize your meditation to your location: It offers tailored guides for when you’re at home, walking or at the gym.

Mindfulness Meditation By Mental Workout  This best-selling iPhone app by Mental Workout, designed by renowned meditation teacher and psychotherapist Stephan Bodian, provides guided meditations for both beginners and more experienced mindfulness practitioners. The app features an eight-week program, inspiration talks, body scans and relaxation instructions. According to one App Store reviewer, the app is the best way to learn mindfulness “short of finding your own personal meditation teacher.”

Simply Being  Short guided meditations, with or without music and nature sounds, for relaxation and presence are the focus of this $0.99 app. Perfect for beginners looking for something simple, Simply Being is highly rated for being user-friendly and customizable.

If you want to learn how to be “mindful” or to “meditate”, and you want it NOW, get the app GPS for the Soul or Insight Timer. I love them!

Article Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/21/meditation-apps-stress-positive-thinking-mood_n_4639232.html#slide=start

We don’t get to Choose our Souls’s Path…

 

IMG_1050

...So what makes us think we can control another’s path?

So much time spent trying to figure out what to do, given (insert problem HERE). What if it were simpler?

What if everything was a game of Charades – That the observations, the interpretations, and the conclusions – were based on the subtle clues exposed to us in Life?

Find the threads – the patterns in your life! They want to teach you something. Can you open to that? And that?

What have you learned? Share your insights with me!

 

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Leaning Into Uncomfortable Emotions Actually Makes You Happier!

Worth reading – from Off the Web!

Why Leaning Into Your Uncomfortable Emotions Actually Makes You Happier

2971831831_7ebf8e6860_oby Dina Overland

Life is the most amazing teacher.  It offers us the exact lesson we need, precisely when we need to hear it.

So that means that if you’re feeling emotions like anxiety, anger, sadness, jealousy, or bitterness, then life is offering you an opportunity to understand where you’re stuck in your growth… where you have more to learn… where you could focus your attention.

That’s why you should LEAN INTO those emotions and really FEEL them. Explore them. Consider WHY you’re feeling that feeling. Think about what lesson you can learn from the situation and the feeling you’re having.

It’s when we truly feel and experience ALL of our emotions that we’re able to move past the emotional pain and start receiving more happiness and peace in our lives.

In fact, these so-called negative emotions are actually quite positive — if you take the time to SIT with them. View them as messages to stop what you’re doing and look these feelings right in the eyes.

“To stay with that shakiness — to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge — that is the path of true awakening,”  ~ Pema Chodron 

I know this firsthand. Although I have accepted and come to peace with the fact that I will most likely only have one child, I still feel sad that I can’t have what I desperately want in my life — more children. In fact, I felt deep heartbreak earlier this year when I learned that three of my close friends were all pregnant.

I knew I had two options — ignore the crippling emotional pain, pretending I was fine with the news or open up my heart and really explore my honest emotions that were stirred up as a result of my friends’ pregnancies.

I opted to follow the advice I give to my clients and feel my feelings. So I gave my sadness and despair a space to exist by limiting my to-do list and social obligations. That freed up my time to practice good self-care tools like journaling, sharing my honest feelings with my husband (and he shared his with me), and meditating so that I was able to fully process the sadness and upset out of my system.

From an outside perspective, it looked like I was moping about for a few days, but I was really letting my sadness have a place to exist — without judgment. I wasn’t stuffing it away, hoping it would just miraculously disappear so I could avoid feeling crappy.

And I felt so much better for my choice to feel my feelings. It was like I healed a part of myself by releasing these emotions.

If you find yourself in a painful situation, and you think you can’t bear a minute more of whatever you’re feeling, follow these three steps:

  1. Become aware that you’re resisting and pushing away the feelings. Simply being mindful of your tendency to avoid feeling emotional pain is a huge step toward moving past that pain and feeling more happiness. That’s because you can’t change a thought or behavior if you don’t know you’re thinking or doing it.
  1. Observe your feelings without judgment. Don’t push them away, but don’t obsess over them either. Just acknowledge them and let them go. One way to do that is to observe your feelings and thoughts simply as “feelings” and “thoughts.” Don’t qualify them as good or bad, positive or negative. Just allow whatever feelings you have to come to the surface and remind yourself with compassion and kindness that you’re merely feeling a feeling or thinking a thought. To help prevent those feelings and thoughts from taking over your life, use this affirmation: I accept all of my emotions and thoughts. It is safe to feel those emotions and think those thoughts. 
  1. Refrain. As I mentioned in Step 1, we often try to distract ourselves from feeling sadness, loneliness, bitterness, and other so-called negative emotions. But try to refrain from diverting your attention away from those feelings. It’s when you refrain — by pausing and being mindful of those feelings BEFORE you take any action based on them — that you’re getting to know your deepest fears and able to heal the wounds that caused the fears. For example, if you’re feeling particularly hurt and lonely after your estranged spouse makes an insensitive comment to you, don’t just lash out in response. Instead, sit with that hurt and loneliness and use the opportunity to consider where else you can work on healing yourself.

Essentially, if we live our lives seeing everything as a chance to heal, then every single moment and experience — even the especially hard ones — is truly a gift helping us grow and welcome deep peace and happiness.

About The Author
Dina Overland is a Spiritual Life Coach helping people (especially mamas) move past their emotional pain so they can stop feeling angry, anxious, bitter, depressed, and alone and start feeling more happiness, love, and peace. Watch her FREE video — From Pain to Joy:  4 Steps to Finding Peace Through Emotional Suffering — connect with her on Facebook, and check out her website.
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Original source: http://truththeory.com/2015/10/29/why-leaning-into-your-uncomfortable-emotions-actually-makes-you-happier/

 

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