Last week I introduced the topic of self-care (Falling in Love). Today, at the suggestion of the queen of my tribe, we’ll take a deeper dive into the topic (thanks mom). I want to add to the concept of pampering yourself as an element of self-care. Sure, every girl can use a glass of wine, candlelight and a bubble bath, but there are some things bubbles can’t soothe. Self-love must be the foundation of self-care otherwise you’re just going through the motions. You do things when it is convenient or easy. I don’t know about you but I’ve never truly “cared” about or for someone I didn’t “love”. In my previous post I introduced 3 barriers that prevent us from loving ourselves. For the next few weeks we’ll dive deeper into each one.
Perfectionism is the pressure we put on ourselves to reach unreasonable goals. When we don’t achieve those goals, we end up feeling like failures. Don’t get me wrong having high standards is a great trait. Striving for excellence demonstrates your strength and can push you to achieve your dreams. We should work to bring our best selves to every situation, but you are going to stumble here and there. The perfectionist in us has a hard time with the stumble. We believe that we are failures. This makes us fear our mistakes. We get stressed about disappointing ourselves or others. Eventually, we begin to doubt our own abilities. To begin breaking these patterns we’ll look at how perfectionism might be holding you back and provide a few steps to change.
Only the Strong Survive
You might be the person that everyone relies on. People come to you for counsel and you take charge naturally in most situations. You may have been the “good girl” growing up. Your parents and teachers praised your good behavior and high marks. You feel pressured to win, because… that’s what you do! You rarely share your fears or feelings with others and keep your emotions under control. Your fear of rejection/failure often makes it hard for you to be “all in” in relationships. The truth is no one gets it right all the time. Despite what you see on Twitter, Instagram everyone stumbles. Everyone gets scared, everyone has doubts and insecurities.
“If we discuss only our victories and not our struggles we allow others to believe that you can win a war without engaging in battle”. – Lost and Found, Sarah Jakes
Sis, we are all at war with something. To win we must release the self-imposed responsibility of being what we think other people want or need. Release the need to have it all together all the time. Release the need to control every situation. We have to practice a worthiness now attitude – not when you lose weight, not when you get that job, not when you find a husband. Now! Dust the cobwebs off your voice. Speak courageously about who you are, what you need and how you are feeling.
Look at Her
Being overly critical of others is another pattern worth reviewing. It’s astonishing how much we judge others. We spend a lot of our time criticizing the way our friends raise their kids, gossiping about why “she” got the promotion, or where they” really” got the money to buy that house. We feel the need to compare ourselves to those around us. Frequently the things we criticize in others are the things we struggle with or fear the most. It secretly makes you feel a little better that you’re not as bad as “she” is.
Try this experiment for 24 hours where a rubber band loosely around your wrist. Every time you judge someone snap the band on your wrist (not hard, just enough to call your attention to it). In that moment quickly assess what’s going on internally. Why has this person or this behavior got your attention? How does this judgement connect to feelings I have about myself? Accept the choices you have made. Focus your attention on embracing your quirks and the need to judge others will decrease.
There is one last pattern we’ll cover today. Instead of being someone strong and driven for success. Some of us suffer from analysis paralysis. This is when the fear of failure is so strong we get stuck. We have the tendency to put off tasks. We are so afraid of failing, we never try. You put off making decisions for fear of making the wrong one. The inability to act or move forward furthers feelings of inadequacy.
We must remember that we have the tools to make decisions, take action and be responsible for our lives. Throughout the years we’ve found ourselves presented with challenges. From learning to tie our shoes, ride a bike, ace a final or find a great job. As difficult as those things were in the moment we had what we needed to make it through. Please know that whatever challenge you are facing now you ARE enough to make through!
When you are feeling overwhelmed with all the things that need fixing try focusing on one thing and break it down as simply as you can. Small steps are much less daunting than big endeavors. For example, getting your finances in order can be a formidable goal. Bring that beast down to size by breaking it down into small tasks, like creating a spreadsheet with your monthly expenses & income or ordering your credit report. These little steps are often easier to wrap your head around. Small steps still equal progress.
It’s not easy to face your fears and allow yourself to be vulnerable. Be sure to celebrate your victories and to practice compassion. Put some of those pampering techniques you’ve heard about as a reward for pushing past the patterns of perfection you demonstrate.
“She is amazingly amazing, beautifully beautiful, heavenly heaven-sent, while being Perfectly Imperfect!” – Raghib Clitso