“Many of us learned that keeping busy…kept us at a distance from our feelings…Some of us took the ways we busied ourselves—becoming overachievers & workaholics—as self esteem…But whenever our inner feeling did not match our outer surface, we were doing ourselves a disservice…If stopping to rest meant being barraged with this discrepancy, no wonder we were reluctant to cease our obsessive activity.” Maureen Brady
Perfectionism has kept me from completing many projects, jobs, and even marriages. It has had a devastating effect on my life. I was the oldest child–the hero–with good grades, popularity, jobs in high school, etc. Unfortunately my parents used the ‘Why aren’t you like Kathy” routine with my sisters. Talk about sibling rivalry. Ours was sibling hatred. And I don’t blame them.
I am an introvert. But you have to learn how to receive credit in order to be advanced in life. The hard lesson I had to learn from my overcoming the perfectionism was to learn how to print my own newspaper. The trick is not to read it. The self compassion comes from accepting mistakes and failures as a necessary part of the journey.
From “Finding Yourself and Why It Matters” by Alice Mills:
“Relationships don’t run deep if you don’t have a center. Intimacy is impossible with someone who doesn’t know who they are. Beliefs vary depending on who they are with and often swing from extreme to extreme. A person without a sense of identity will often rely on labels to define who they are. Whether it is a relational role such as wife or mother, or a political party, their perception is that who they are depends on the labels they adopt.
The truth about identity is that it arises from who we are on the inside. Instead of a role or a label that we wear like a banner across our chest, who we are comes from the deep places within. Who we are as people derives in part from our history. We are each a unique collection of experiences. Our family plays a significant part in teaching us who we are in relation to our past. Family legacy is crucial as are deep relationships with our parents. Lacking parents who are capable of an intimate relationship can derail a sense of self from an early age.
A sense of self is supposed to form more concretely during adolescence. Individuation helps us complete the healthy division from our parents. We question beliefs and then adopt as our own the ones that resonate with us. A developed sense of self has complete ownership of one’s own set of core values. If we do not adopt our own belief system apart from those who have influenced us, then our belief system will collapse easily under the pressures of a very loud world. Those who do not understand what they believe and why they believe it are then cast adrift in a world full of voices shouting conflicting opinions.”
From “Are You a Bully—to Yourself?” by Lea Bayles:
Self- bullying is heartbreakingly common in our culture and it can be changed in a very short time.
Change your self- bullying to self kindness and you will dramatically increase your health, your creativity, your productivity your joy and your inner sense of peace, joy and wellbeing.
Ready to start? Here are six easy tips you can use today.
1. Begin cultivating kindness toward yourself. Feel the kindness that naturally rises when you think of the ones you love. Notice the sensations and feelings in your body. Know that you can extend those same feelings to yourself.
2. Notice with kind curiosity when you are mean or cruel to yourself. Kindly say to yourself, “ Hmmm there’s that critical voice.” Practice simply noticing it kindly, without fighting it and without letting it take over.
4. Begin looking for the goodness in yourself. Sometimes clients tell me they fear this may make them conceited or too full of themselves. Nope. I’ve seem this change in hundreds of people. When we become more truly kind and appreciative toward ourselves we actually become more loving and appreciative of other people.
4. Write down the goodness. Begin a daily practice of writing down- either as a list or a journal – things you have done that you feel good about or that you like about yourself. If you have trouble with this at first, just write things you love about your life.
5. Encourage yourself. As you look in the mirror – in the bathroom or in the car- say encouraging things to yourself, “Good job.” “You can do it.” “Well done.” “I’m proud of you for trying.” “Good morning, Gorgeous!” What words would you would like to hear? Say those to yourself.
6. Breathe Kindness. Breathe in: Kindness easily flows in and all through your body, your heart and your beingness. Breathe out: Kindness easily flows out into this precious world.”