Nearly everyone gives their power away every day without even realizing it. Our power is what allows us to create the world and life we want. To give our power away is a practice of pretending to not be responsible for our own life. It would be like having a baby, and treating it poorly, ignoring it, and pretending it didn't matter. Except in this case, we are the baby that is being mistreated, ignored, and being told we don't matter.
A question I am often asked both in and outside the therapy room is, ‘what is so bad about being a perfectionist?’ Why this question is asked, is often the result of a misunderstanding of what perfectionism means and looks like. When I see perfectionism, I see the year 12 student who is crying because she received 98% on her exam. I see the man who didn’t chase his dreams because he was scared of not being the best in his field. Or the girl who is striving for the perfect body at the expense of her health and relationships. The perfectionistic picture is not a happy one.
Perfectionism is perceived as being equal to happiness, success and achievement. Through society, the message that is communicated to us is that the more perfect you are, the happier you will be. Through obtaining the perfect job, car, test score, friends, house, body, and partner, you can achieve everlasting happiness. What we are not told about perfectionism, is that there is a difference between aiming to be perfect, and striving for excellence. Perfectionism is about wanting to meet your goals to please or impress others, whereas striving for excellence is about achieving your goals to please yourself.
With perfectionism, you are setting yourself up for failure even before you’ve started putting in the hard yards. You are chasing what is essentially an unachievable outcome as being perfect is a concept, not an attainable destination. What makes us interesting are our flaws and the fact that we are constantly learning, evolving and growing. What is also problematic about perfectionism, is that one’s self-worth is based on the ability to achieve the unrealistic goals. This means that the perfectionist will place all their self-worth on their capacity to perform and achieve at this high standard. If these are not met, their confidence and sense of worthiness are considerably battered.
I’ve also heard people with perfectionism say, ‘but having these standards works to motivate me.’ In reality, perfectionism only works to push one to keep up the unrelenting high standards they have set. This can cause a life-paralysis and result in demotivation. I have seen wonderful, talented people become paralysed by their fear of not reaching their impossibly high standards. Instead of serving as a motivating factor, perfectionism has actually worked to prevent them from excelling. In other instances, I have had clients who have managed to come close to, or have reached their lofty goals. What has resulted though has not been happiness or contentment. Instead I hear them describing feeling burnout, stressed, depressed and anxious about maintaining this standard.
So what drives and underlies the perfectionist mindset? Inherently, there is a fear of inadequacy. There is an anxiety that their flaws will be discovered and that the ‘truth’, that they really are not good enough, will be revealed. There is an idea that to be less than perfect is to show vulnerability, which is ultimately a sign of weakness.
While perfectionistic mindsets can be challenging to shift, there are strategies you can implement to reduce the hold of your perfectionistic mindset and behaviours.
1. Identify the downside of maintaining your perfectionistic mindset. Assess what areas in your life you are sacrificing in order for you to meet your perfectionistic goals. It may be impacting your physical and mental wellbeing, interfering with your relationships and preventing you from engaging in things you once enjoyed. Be clear on what you want your life to look like and what happiness means to you. Often my clients find that perfectionism has prevented them from achieving a sense of peace and happiness, opposed to bringing them closer to it.
2. Recognize which perfectionistic standards and beliefs are problematic and evaluate them logically. Is it really necessary to check your work four times before sending it through to your boss? And if there was a mistake, what would be the worst possibl
As a child I was a dreamer. No doubt about it. I dreamt of being famous; perhaps an actor, musician or even a radio star! As I grew the dreams continued, although they became worldlier. After overcoming depression and realizing I could help others do the same, I suddenly dreamt of changing the world; helping everyone learn how to love their most precious selves. Be able to accept themselves unconditionally. It was my dream.
Call it a breakthrough, or maybe it’s a breakdown - its hard to tell when you’re still processing. One thing was certain, I’d just uncovered a key to so many of my struggles in life – “I am unlovable.”
Actually, let’s come back to that. We all like to believe we see the world the way it actually is. The truth is we’re all seeing the world from our own unique perspective. Think of your unique perspective like a pair of sunglasses. Now you’re looking through those sunglasses at a glass of water. The amount of air and water in this particular glass is exactly even. An optimist sees the glass as half full (filtered through a perspective you should focus on what is there). A pessimist sees the glass as half empty (filtered through a perspective you should focus on what isn’t there).
By Sheryl S. B. Bakalov
This idea and concept can seem a bit "out there", but whether you realize it or not, you are visualizing (in other words, creating) your reality all the time. I've manifested a lot of things in my life that people would find extraordinary, such as all three mp3-players I've ever owned (I had not paid a single dime and 2 were brand new, 1 was gently used), my current relationship with my awesome boo (he's all I've wanted AND MORE), living in the area I currently reside in (one of the most beautiful and expensive cities to live in my area AND I scored a great place to live that is wonderfully affordable), and many other things.
I'm sure you can think of some awesome things or experiences, whether big or small, that you've been able to attract and manifest into your life.
Here are some of the most basic, tried and true, tips for visualizing the things you want in your life:
1. Know what you want: You've got to be clear on what you want, but be general. Make room for the universe to surprise you with the goods. Sometimes you can get specific, but even if you don't know exactly what you want, start thinking about your desired "end result".
For example, maybe you'd like to attract a thing, such as an e-reader. You might know exactly which one you want, so you can visualize yourself already having it and how it feels to have it. Or, if you don't care which one you get, as long as you have one, visualize yourself having one and what it would feel like for you to have one in your possession. The same would apply to an experience you'd like to experience, such as traveling to another country or doing something on your bucket list.
2. Get into the feeling of your desired "end result": It works best when you really connect to the "feeling" as if it is already a part of your reality. It also works best when you are general about the feeling of how you want your life to be like. (It sounds contradictory to knowing exactly what you want, but being general helps you let go of thinking about "how" it's going to happen and not get hung up that what actually shows up was MUCH BETTER than you had originally wanted). When you align yourself and your awareness to already having what it is that you want, and you can start to really feel as if you have what you want, then it will come to you much faster.
3. Let go and trust: This is important. Don't worry about "how" it's going to happen. Get into a state of an "it is done" feeling. If you are too attached to the thing you want, you actually repel it from coming to you. Have you ever tried so hard to make something happen (or tried to not think about the pink elephant) that it never came to you (or that pink elephant is now stuck in your head)?
Try this quick exercise illustration of the point I'm making: Close your palms and make fists with your hands. Squeeze as tight as you can (without hurting yourself, of course). Now keep them closed and notice the feeling of holding on to something so tightly, you can't enjoy it because it's trapped in your palms. Also, your palms are not able to accept even better things that are awaiting to come to you because they are closed. I hope this quick exercise illustrates the importance of letting go and allowing the things you want to come to you.
4. Not more than 3-5 minutes a day! Honestly, keep it simple. It's all part of the fun of this whole process. Yes, I said it, it can be FUN! Keeping it fun helps you let go and trust that what you are visualizing (aka: feeling) is feeling more like your reality and you have come to the point where you "just know" it's going to happen, therefore, it will show up much quicker.
5. Remember: You deserve this. You are attracting things into your life every single moment. Once you are aware of this amazing magic that's available to you, make it a fun process of self-love and self-growth, and start attracting the beautiful things that are deep down in your soul that you deeply desire and DESE
On January 25th, 2012 I tweeted that if humans came with an instruction manual it would be The Four Agreements. The Four Agreements is a book written by Don Miguel Ruiz based on Toltec wisdom.
This book is best read when your mind is fertile and open to receiving, to ensure the seed that is about to be planted will grow into actionable knowledge and positive experiences.
Sleep is absolutely essential to both the body and mind as impaired sleep, altered sleep patterns, and sleep deprivation can severely disrupt mental and physical function. It’s often debated, but exactly how much sleep an individual needs does vary from person to person. Sleep needs tend to decrease with age, for example, a one year old requires about 14 hours a day, a five year old about 12 and adults, about 7 to 8. In addition, women actually tend to need more sleep than men.