Cultivating Self- Compassion ~ Letting Go Of Perfectionism
How do you treat a loved one who is feeling down or being harsh on themselves? Do you comfort them and help to build them back up or do you focus on their flaws?
Now, how about when it’s *you* who is feeling low? Do you treat yourself with that same grace and compassion, or does your inner critic take over and start telling you things that aren’t helpful or even true?
I used to be that person…the perfectionist who judged myself and belittled myself when I would make a mistake. I figured that if I was super hard on myself, others would not even come close to hurting me because I did a great job of doing that myself. This was a way I could protect myself from others’ harsh words or actions with the hope that I would not feel the pain. Unfortunately, this did not work well for me. Rather than protecting myself to avoid pain, I began to feel worse about myself. This went on for years until I got help.
Last week, we discussed the 10 Guideposts to Wholehearted Living. by Dr. Brene Brown. We talked about Cultivating Authenticity and Letting Go of What Other People Think, and this week we will be moving onto the second guidepost, which is Cultivating Self-Compassion and Letting Go Of Perfectionism. You know the kind, loving way you treat someone you care about? This guidepost reminds you to treat yourself in that same compassionate way!
It’s so easy to be harsh and unkind towards ourselves and to expect perfection at all costs, but this really does nothing for us in terms of personal growth or mental health. Dr. Brene Brown describes perfectionism as a “self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feels of shame, judgment, and blame.” Perfection is the enemy of progress. Dr. Brown tells us to reframe these thoughts by remembering that “I am imperfect, and I am enough.” How does it feel to sit with that thought? Is it comforting?
Many of us are perfectionists, so this is something we can continually and consciously work on. We subconsciously think we can avoid fear, judgment, and shame if we are simply perfect enough. But that’s not how it works, and if we stop worrying so much about what others think of us and start focusing on how we feel about ourselves a little more, we are able to let go of those fears.
So let’s work on letting go of perfectionism and incorporating more compassion into our lives! This could look like making a list of behaviors you implement when you are trying to be perfect, and taking note of when that happens. Start noticing when you’re being unkind to yourself, and think about alternate affirming words you could use.
What do perfectionism and compassion look like for you? What would you like to see changed, and what do you plan to implement in its place?
Would you like to make some changes in your life and have no idea where or how to start? If so, schedule a FREE Breakthrough Call HERE with Lori today and learn more about how coaching can change your life for the better!