Quite an easy task, right? Wrong!
Our minds are processing external information, internal responses and dialogue; all the while trying to balance our brain chemistry and alert levels. So becoming more conscious about letting go of This thought, then the next, and on and on requires dedication.
Start with 5 minutes several times a day. Tune into one of your senses to quickly get into the Now moment. For instance, I close my eyes and focus on my breath. Or I can close my eyes and focus on sound. If I can’t close my eyes (like while I’m driving), I can focus on color.
But don’t forget why. Why does it matter to be, quote: mindful? — To quiet the mind, to de-escalate and get to a more authentic relationship with our selves.
Suffering doesn’t make us grow –
but what we do with our feelings could make us grow. ⚡️💡
It’s an interesting saying though. Where did it come from? Perhaps it’s because anguish and acute awareness sometimes occur near one another, in time and space.
For me, however, what makes us grow is understanding our feelings, questioning the thoughts behind them, seeing the cause-and-effect of it all, and mindfully letting go.
If we utilize this information the next time these feelings arise (anger, sadness, depression, confusion, fear), we can remember the awareness, the ‘aha’ moment, or insight we discovered before. We can notice that what we are experiencing in the here and now is separate from the past, and know that our reactions don’t really apply in the current situation. Awareness sets us free to respond differently.
Uncomfortable feelings are nearly always preceded by a stressful thought, and when the feelings come, we can isolate the stressful thought, idea, or assumption and question it thoroughly.
I find journaling a powerful aid here. Just write your rambling thoughts about a situation that made you uncomfortable (in your mind or in reality – doesn’t matter). Then let it set. You probably will already feel better because the act of writing is cathartic. But for true growth to occur, go back later and read what you wrote. Pretend you are a scientist! Your job is to (compassionately) dissect your writing to find the threads of connection…
Try asking these questions:
1. Have I ever felt this way before? Are there any other similarities?
Personal example: I had to go to my son’s junior high school to deliver his medicine. I noticed I had a racing heart, a sense of urgency to complete the task, and an overall sense of shame and dread.
It made no sense in my logical mind.
Have I ever felt this way before? Are there any other similarities?
Junior high was very scary for me. I was picked on by other girls and I was even beaten up a number of times. The threats often occurred when students were moving from one class to their next, so I was especially scared when that bell rang!
2. What were the beliefs / thoughts around the event?
Awareness: my heart is racing; I have a sense of urgency and intense fear.
THOUGHTS: I Visualize being attacked. “If I can become unnoticeable, I might make it… Hopefully the bell won’t ring!”
Once we gently meet our past with understanding, we can separate those experiences and respond to the present authentically.
By listening, compassionately, to your own mistaken, innocent mind, you can become free… from this, then that, then…
“We all come in different shapes and SIZES. We have our STRENGTHS and weaknesses.
What’s right for one person may not be right for someone else…
There are things that are important to one person that others don’t care about at all.
And sometimes other’s behaviors don’t make any sense to me.
Because we want to understand each other, and communicate well (since we live in the same world), we can’t expect others to want the same things that we want.
We are not the same person, so we will not always see things the same way.
We all have our own thoughts and ideas that may or may not fit into other people’s vision of who we should be.
By learning more about our own Personality, and about other Personality Types, we can improve our interpersonal relationships, adjust our expectations concerning others, and get a better self-understanding that will help us define and achieve our goals.” (PleaseUnderstandMe.DavidKeirsey.AmazonBooks)
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
The Theory of Psychological Types was described by Carl Jung in the 1920’s. He theorized that much of the seemingly random variations in peoples behaviors are actually rather systematic and reliable. These basic differences can be viewed as the ways an individual prefers to:
- Perceive reality (all the ways of becoming aware of things, people, events, or ideas), and then
- Evaluate those perceptions (all the ways of coming to conclusions about what has been perceived). Jung also talks of
- Direction of Consciousness, or the basic direction in which a person’s conscious interests and energies may flow – either inward to subjective psychological experience, or outward to the environment of objects, other people and collective norms.
Isabel Briggs Myers studied Jung’s ideas and added her own insights. After 30 years of research and over 5,000 participants, she created a survey that would eventually become the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) (MBTI by Isabel Myers). It is the most widely used measure of Psychological Types.
Personality typing is a tool that is particularly helpful in personal growth: Understanding ourselves in a semi-objective way leads to heightened self-esteem.
It’s also a way to understand others: If people differ in what they perceive and in how they reach conclusions, then it is only reasonable for them to differ in their interests, reactions, values, motivations, and skills.
Learning about our Personality Type helps us to understand why certain areas in life come easily to us and others are more of a struggle. Learning about other people’s Personality Types help us to understand the most effective way to communicate with them.
This self-report questionnaire assesses “type preferences” on Extraversion-Introversion (E-I), Sensation-Intuition (S-N), Thinking-Feeling (T-F), and Judgment-Perception (J-P).
According to the MBTI, we all have a primary mode of operating within four categories:
- The flow of energy– (I or E?) defines how you receive the essential part of your experience. Do you receive it from within yourself (Introverted) or from external sources (Extraverted)?
- How you take in information (S or N?) shows your preference for focusing on 1) the basic information taken in through the five senses (Sensing), or by 2) interpreting and adding meaning (iNtuition).
- How you prefer to make judgment calls (T or F?) objectively, using logic and consistency (Thinking), or subjectively, considering other people and special circumstances (Feeling).
- The basic day-to-day decision-style that you prefer (J or P?) how you interact with the outer world — with a preference towards getting things decided (Judging), or for staying open to new information and options (Perception).
I’ve searched high and low and found these great online tools. The first link is to a good adaptation of the original test (Copyright infringements prohibit the availability of the real one):
16Personalities- Get to Know Yourself – the BEST questionnaire on the web.
After completing the test above, go HERE (The BEST MBTI Profiles ) to read detailed descriptions of your unique profile.
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
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.
If You Never Give It a Chance, You’ll Never Know How Good It Is – B.G.
Worth Reading – From Off the Web!
Just like a book, life’s an adventure. Sometimes books start out slow and maybe even a little boring. However, to know for sure whether we’ll enjoy what we’re reading or not, we have to be willing to give it a chance. Life is the same way. If at the first sign of difficulty, we give up on ourselves, we will never be able to discover our strength. If we look at life and say, “Well it’s too difficult to get through, so I’m just going to stop trying,” we’ll never be able to learn from our mistakes and we’ll never be able to see the beauty in life.
Let’s say that you start reading a book and at first, you don’t understand it at all. Let’s say that it’s complicated, doesn’t make sense, and it’s difficult to get through. Now, one option is to stop reading altogether. Sure, that may be easy, but imagine what you could be missing out on! Maybe the book just seems complicated at first because you weren’t in the right mindset or maybe part of the book being so exciting and worthwhile is because it’s challenging! Maybe once you grasp the storyline, then only then, will you see how wonderful the story truly is.
Sometimes you have to read a book more than once to really understand it and that’s okay. The same thing goes for life. There are some moments in life that are difficult and we may even make mistakes. While we can’t go back and relive those moments as easily as we can flip back the pages of a book, we can continue to try improving ourselves until things begin to fall into place.
Giving up in life and on ourselves is a huge mistake. We have so many gifts to give and so many opportunities waiting for us. If we don’t begin and continue to try to get through our struggles and live our lives to the fullest, we’ll never be able to experience true happiness. Think about that really good book, TV show, or movie that you love and imagine if you never tried experiencing it. How would you feel? Think about your favorite food or favorite moment in life! If you never tried that type of food or challenged yourself, you’d never have experienced something that you’ve grown to love.
So don’t give up on yourself. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity that could mean the world to you!
This post first appeared on The Seeds 4 Life written by B.G.: Life Is Like a Book. If You Never Give It a Chance, You’ll Never Know How Good It Is
Worth Reading – from off the Web!
Instead of going down the beaten path of self-blame and self-punishment for not being “good enough”, we can rewire our brains to think and behave differently.
We live in a world where the theme of unworthiness shows up in all areas in life. As kids, we proudly show off our high marks and perfect behaviors knowing they will earn us praises and approval from adults, and as adults, we constantly judge and punish ourselves for our lack of wealth, success, relationships and others’ good opinions of us. In my healing and coaching practice, the most common story that is told over and over is the one of “I’m not good enough.”
That was the story of my life as well, for over 3 decades. Having grown up in an Asian culture in the 80’s where being an overachiever was encouraged, the accepted, even celebrated method to motivate children was to subject them to harsh criticism and belittling (ie. “who do you think you are”, “you are nothing until you prove your worth so you can be something”, etc.) As a result, I not only internalized the disempowering belief that “I am not good enough” but I also made sure it dominated and manifested in every area of my life — without fail.
As powerful as this or any belief can be, it is only a belief, and we can choose to liberate ourselves from it – simply because it isn’t who we are. If you are constantly battling with a similar story, I invite you to read and practice the following steps to take your power back from that self-limiting belief.
Signs, Signs Everywhere
The first sign is always what we call a negative feeling. Our feelings are intelligent communications from our bodies to indicate to us whether a belief is in or out of alignment with who we are. How we feel at any moment is filtered by our thoughts and our thoughts derive from our existing beliefs. When our beliefs are no longer serving us, our feelings – being the language of the soul in a very literal fashion will give us a little (or large) kick to raise an alert. When I am in a coaching session, whenever a story comes up that is out of alignment, I always ask my clients how it makes them feel. The answer is always along the line of “it makes me feel crappy.”
The signs can range from physical ailments such as lack of energy or tension in various parts of the body to mental and emotional symptoms such as procrastination, depression and anxiety; or they can be a combination of conditions from all levels including feeling a tight knot of anxiety in the stomach that is often accompanied by digestive issues.
Our beliefs also have clever ways to disguise themselves as positive as well as socially approved motivations and behaviors.
Perfectionism is one of them. For the longest time I unconsciously chose to tell the story of “I am a perfectionist” which allowed me to get away from the harsh voice of “I am not good enough.” Yet time and time again when I ruthlessly put myself down for every little perceived failure, I finally realized my perfectionism was only a sugar coated version of “I suck.”
Another common disguise is altruism, or people pleasing behavior. We convince ourselves it is noble of us to place others’ needs before ours as well as compromise our own happiness because it earns us praises such as compassionate, kind and selfless.
Some of us have the tendency to give ourselves up or lose ourselves completely in relationships. Our society has a very powerful reinforcement system when it comes to encouraging selfless behavior without addressing the fundamental notion that our first relationship is always the relationship with ourselves. Without loving, cherishing and respecting ourselves, there is no relationship with others. When we do not know how to value ourselves and make the highest choices for ourselves, how can we honor others as loving, deserving and worthy?
There is certainly nothing wrong with giving our best in circumstances and relationships. However, it is helpful to always do a little honest self-inquiry and ask ourselves how each decision makes us feel. And if it does not feel uplifting, what belief is underneath that decision?
When we practice consciously acknowledging our old patterns every by listening to what our bodies are trying to tell us, we are stepping out of the unconscious and reactive way of living so we can compose a response that allows us to freely create based on who we want to be rather than recreate past scenarios of who we were told to be.
Instead of going down that old beaten path that leads to nothing but a stinking swamp, aka the self-blame and self-punishment for not being worthy, we can choose again and create a new path. The more we can catch ourselves on auto pilot, the more we can rewire our brains to think and behave differently.