Overcoming Perfectionism

 

One woman’s story:

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.

Yet, even as a young child I wanted perfection. I remember asking 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 a tiring task 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.

When my parents divorced I was shocked because they rarely fought. I had no idea of how to deal with my intense emotions. I couldn’t do anything to stop it, and I intuited that anger wasn’t a acceptable in our family, especially for women. It wasn’t ‘Christian’ enough or loving enough… or good enough.

Inside I felt a burning – similar to hot 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. There began my long dance with perfectionism.

No matter the root causes of your perfectionism or your desire for it, know that it’s actually a desire for love and acceptance, if even from yourself. You may have inaccurately concluded that the only way to be loved was to do everything right.
Maybe you feel the need to challenge yourself to ‘be bigger’ and ‘do better’ in your work and your relationships. That’s not a bad thing. But there’s a difference between striving for growth and wanting to reach perfection.

Overcoming Perfectionism Requires Surrender

Perfectionism is about fear — fear of criticism, of losing control, and so trying to control everything Sosa to avoid being rejected – by anyone or anything. One mistake could mean abandonment.

Striving for growth, unlike perfectionism, is about (lovingly) pushing ourselves to be the best person we can be, given the current situations in our lives. Growth is okay to strive for. Perfectionism is not.

Surrender is about accepting where we are in any moment, knowing that we are a work in progress. It requires self-forgiveness.

Tips to Manage Perfectionism

1. Laugh

Having a sense of humor about ourselves and our actions, especially embarrassing or disappointing experiences, doesn’t have to be a form of defense or protection. Humor can heal or at least create enough dopamine and endorphins to get us through the tough moments. (“What a nut!… Silly me!“)

2. Forgive Yourself

Forgiveness is actually an act of kindness to the self and it’s 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 reactions of those around us. In AA they say, ‘Let go and let god’. Acknowledge our powerlessness to control the universe. (Actually, what a relief!)

3. Know the facts

Learning to let go of controlling every detail of your life is called —- ‘wisdom’. The fact is, perfectionism isn’t even possible! And look at the amount of judgement required in deciding what ‘perfect’ is to begin with! Impossible. And miserable. Even if you tell yourself your perfectionism is only about yourself, the truth is, you are judging everyone and everything you deem ‘imperfect’. Miserable for you AND everyone else around you.

One person said about her compulsion for perfectionism,

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 you simply exhale, and surrender to whatever is really going on in the moment.

And a sweet sort of softening occurs:

If I can accept myself, I can learn to accept others.

Isn’t life better that way?

She goes on to say,

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.

Be kind. Be at peace. Become WISE!

For more, see Erin Dougherty‘s blog.

3 Steps to Mastering Self-Love

Self-love, or compassion, involves treating yourself kindly, especially in the face of setbacks and disappointments.

Learn to say to yourself: “This is really difficult right now. How can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?”

Self-compassion involves recognizing that all human beings are imperfect and that means we will make mistakes. — Don’t scold yourself in a way that you would never do to another human being!

The following are three ways to help you begin to shift from self-criticism to the practice self-compassion.

1.  Pay attention to your inner-dialogue.

The first step in any behavioral change is to develop an awareness of the behavior itself. Begin paying attention to the things you frequently say to yourself. Write them down for greater clarity. (Don’t worry — this is for your eyes only!)

Choose  a time during the week when you experienced a strong emotion. Write down the specific thoughts you were having and your judgements about yourself.

2.  Practice  speaking kindly to yourself.

People will  say things to themselves that they would never say to someone they loved! Practice speaking kindly and gently to yourself, especially during times of stress or when you have made a mistake. If you are struggling to be kind, try looking at a photo of yourself  as a child. Try to think about how you would respond to a child or loved one who was struggling or having a difficult time.

3.   Create a list of ways for you to self-care.

Learn relaxation strategies. Schedule self-care into your calendar. “What would feel nourishing or calming to me in this moment?”.

self-reflection via journaling

Many people have told me that they have a hard time doing something for themselves, that it feels selfish or egocentric. But the fact is, we need to listen to ourselves before we can listen effectively to others.

 

3 Tips for Developing Self-Compassion!


Practicing Self-Love

Self-love, or compassion, involves treating yourself kindly, especially in the face of setbacks and disappointments. Learn to say to yourself: “This is really difficult right now. How can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?”

Self-compassion involves self-kindness through recognizing  that all human beings are imperfect and make mistakes. Don’t scold yourself in a way that you would never do to another human being!

The following are three ways to help you begin to shift from self-criticism to the practice self-compassion.

1.  Start to pay attention to your inner-dialogue.

The first step in any behavioral change is to develop an awareness of the behavior itself. Begin paying attention to the things that you frequently say to yourself. Write them down for greater clarity.

Choose  a time during the week when you experienced a strong emotion. Write down the specific thoughts you were having. What were your judgements about yourself?

2.  Practice  speaking kindly to yourself.

People will  say things to themselves that they would never say to someone they love. Practice speaking kindly and gently to yourself. especially during times of stress or when you have made a mistake. If you are struggling to be kind, try looking at a photo of yourself  as a child. Try to think about how you would respond to a child or loved one who was struggling or having a difficult time.

3.   Create a list of ways for you to self-care.

Learn relaxation strategies. Schedule self-care into your calendar. “What would feel nourishing or calming to me in this moment?”.

 

 

Listen to What Your Soul Has to Say About That

 Worth reading from off the web ~
'When I first started my blog, and before I linked it to this page, I showed only a small handful of people and they were strictly sworn to secrecy. </p><br />
<p>And then I allowed a few more people to find out. And a couple more and then I just kind of let go of who was going to read what I wrote. </p><br />
<p>But the next phase was hard. I was so sensitive about what people would think of my writing. Would I get those mean trolly comments? Why did my Likes just go from 100 to 99? No focus in that moment on the 99 people who stayed - I wanted to know about the one who left. </p><br />
<p>It's a Thing, expressing ourselves. Whether we have a blog or write books or give talks or just speak our truth and make a stand for love in the post office queue. It's a Thing. </p><br />
<p>And it's a Thing because this stuff has deep roots. Roots into our childhood - and all the ways we learnt to fit in, to go under the radar, or to stand out, or to keep peace, or to help others - all the many ways we learn to get loved rather than rejected. </p><br />
<p>I think it's unrealistic (for the majority of us) to think that we will ever reach a point in our development where it simply does not bother us at all what others think of us. </p><br />
<p>But we can deepen into a love of truth - and even the smallest inkling of who we really are - that becomes more important than what others think of us. And it doesn't mean we won't get our feelings hurt every now and again or we won't get offended. We might still even obsess over that one person who unsubscribed from our blog. But when truth is more important, we will weather those storms and learn those lessons and process them properly so that we bounce back stronger each time. </p><br />
<p>I do think that's possible. And it's also totally necessary if we want to live authentic, loving lives. We need to find a way to listen to what our soul has to say and see ourselves from that perspective as much as we can so that we can show up authentically and in a real, loving way. </p><br />
<p>And if this is an area that is tough for you, really, take my hand. Because when we join together, we can stand for love and speak our truth and keep it real. And we are all needed. Only you can say what you want to say in the way you say it. Never mind that others have a larger audience (there will always, always be someone with a larger audience by the way) - the important thing is to be authentic, to show up, to join in the conversation. </p><br />
<p>And because we are only ever really talking to ourselves anyway (with others listening in), what really matters is that we speak our truth as clearly as we can. </p><br />
<p><3'

I think it’s unrealistic (for the majority of us) to think that we will ever reach a point in our development where it simply does not bother us at all what others think of us.

But we can deepen into a love of truth – and even the smallest inkling of who we really are – that becomes more important than what others think of us. And it doesn’t mean we won’t get our feelings hurt every now and again or we won’t get offended. We might still even obsess over that one person who was unkind. But when truth is more important, we will  weather those storms and learn those lessons and process them properly so that we bounce back stronger each time.

I do think that’s possible. And it’s also totally necessary if we want to live authentic, loving lives. We need to find a way to listen to what our soul has to say and see ourselves from that perspective as much as we can so that we can show up authentically and in a real, loving way.

And if this is an area that is tough for you, take my hand. Because when we join together, we can stand for love and speak our truth and keep it real. And we are all needed. Only you can say what you want to say in the way you want to say it.  The important thing is to be authentic, to show up, to join in the conversation.

And because we are only ever really talking to ourselves anyway (with others listening in), what really matters is that we speak our truth as clearly as we can.

Hollie Holden – Notes on Living & Loving