Here’s the thing about perfectionism, we can have a season of doing ALL the right things and life just flows amazingly.
– Staying in the moment
– Self care
– Positive affirmations
– Thinking of others
– Celebrating the small things (gratitude)
And then….there are the seasons where ALL the things are no longer a help, all bets are off. Because we’re sick, or the kids are going through a phase of pushing boundaries or our sleep is interrupted or the stresses in our lives just get too much.
Action over Perfection – Topic 2: Stop Striving
Have you ever had someone say an off the cuff remark that stung a bit, and that sent you into that well known tailspin to shame, the pit of perfectionism?
Let me tell you something, when I write these perfectionism posts I am making myself fully vulnerable because I’m telling you my story.
I’m telling you that by nature I’m tense, anxious, a worrier.
I worry that I write these posts and they won’t resonate with anyone, I worry that I’ll look stupid, I worry that no-one will share the posts so that other people who need to see them won’t.
By telling you that I’m hoping you won’t throw that back in my face, and yet I know some will and do and yet I beat myself up the most.
I’m still going to show up because, as Oprah says, I want to become the change I want to see.
‘Become the change you want to see – those are words I live by’ Oprah Winfrey.
Because that’s what being vulnerable is, showing up, speaking up. That’s not easy and sometimes the words won’t come, no matter how hard we try. The well is dry.
The struggle to do this is REAL.
Perfectionism doesn’t go away.
As Brene Brown says in Rising Strong, as long as we stay curious about our feelings and rumble with the truth we will find out who we really are and how to live wholehearted lives, even when we’re on the arena floor covered in dust.
I was covered in dust this week.
The struggle is real
While my mind went AWOL due to a horrendous sinus headache, I have wrestled with my purpose in life: what is my ‘thing’? Trying to work this out this week was not the best idea. I got sucked into feeling ‘less than’ and unworthy and self-righteous.
I decided that showing up for me was to drop the stress and striving of trying to write a perfectionism post that wasn’t coming, and be with my kids instead. I also read some chapters of Rising Strong.
Tip #3 – Consider compassion
Here are some words on compassion; I’ve been keeping compassion at bay thinking it’s only about giving out and instead it appears to be a two way street, but check this out:
“Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.”
― Brené Brown, Rising Strong
This week I gave up striving. I gave up the struggle to do everything while sick and asked for help. Help with the immediate; dinner and chores, and with the longer term like with Harry’s spellings. The laundry is still in the tumble drier even though it was done two days ago.
It can wait.
And with it I said goodbye to self-righteousness and I said hello to compassion.
Some words about denying what’s going on:
“The opposite of recognizing that we’re feeling something is denying our emotions. The opposite of being curious is disengaging. When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don’t go away; instead, they own us, they define us. Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending—to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how this story ends.”
― Brené Brown, Rising Strong
Perfectionism doesn’t go away, we can have strategies and all the positive things going on and it will still strike out of nowhere and take us down.
In those moments I want you (and me) to just hit PAUSE.
Stop striving for a minute and breathe.
If you do nothing else, just stay with me in this moment.
Breathing in, breathing out as deeply as you can. (We cannot muck that up, our bodies know what to do.)