perfectionism

Titration x Productivity

We all know that moment: life is starting to get challenging and we’re feeling stretched, but our schedule is full and we have a lot on our plate.

In these moments, we have a choice: We can push ahead & test our limits. Or we can slow down and titrate (i.e. continuously measure & adjust the balance of) our stress levels to stay within our zone of tolerance.

Sometimes it’s good to push our limits and know what we’re capable of. And, when our giant pile of to-do’s is looming over us, it’s easy to think that the fastest/easiest thing to do is to ‘get it over with’ and rest later. But if we push ourselves to the point of burnout, it can take a lot of time & self-care to get back to health.

On the other hand, if we’re monitoring how we feel, taking breaks, and adjusting the amount of stress we put ourselves through, we allow ourselves to rest & recover as we go along. It can seem counterintuitive, but managing our stress levels in this way can help us to be more productive in the long run. We may work more slowly than we’re capable of, but we do better work with a healthy, well-rested body+mind. And we get to skip the days- or weeks-long burnout recovery period!

Perfectionism x Personal Growth

I’ve had to remind myself lately that it’s okay to ‘check out’ sometimes.

When I first started addressing my trauma, I realized that I dissociate A LOT — it’s one of my go-to coping mechanisms. So I crowned myself the kween of embodiment & self-healing and made dissociation my new enemy.

I didn’t think of it that way at the time... but sometimes a good idea takes a bad turn, ya know? In trying to help myself, I created a new ‘should’ — another rule about what’s [un]acceptable. And dissociating (which I do all the time) was now officially not-okay ❌

So when I get stressed and start to disengage, this little voice of self-judgement chimes in, saying “Don’t do that! Bad!” Which adds to my stress, which makes the urge to dissociate even stronger, which fuels my self-judgement...

I’m just gonna ruin the surprise and let you know, it’s not a very effective strategy. So now, when I hear the judgmental voice chiming in, I come through with the self-acceptance.

I let myself smoke weed & watch Netflix & feel like doodoo, until I’m fckn over it and ready to face my feelings & take care of myself. And when that time comes, I don’t think about how ‘bad’ I’ve been — I just do what my body is calling me to do, and then move on to the next thing.

Letting my intuition guide my progress, rather than trying to ‘discipline’ myself into being perfect, feels like a radical act of trust and self-love, and it’s really difficult sometimes. But we don’t grow by being perfect, we grow by making a mess & learning from it!

Imposter Syndrome x Bravery

Have you heard the term ‘imposter syndrome’ floating around? It’s a name for that voice in your head that says, “Who do you think you are?” It’s that feeling of hot shame and the fear of being ‘called out’.

I think most of us have experienced Imposter Syndrome before. I, for one, had an encounter with it last weekend. I went to a conference where I was surrounded by successful, knowledgeable people who do similar work to mine. And, while a part of me was feeling so inspired and so happy to be learning with likeminded people, I couldn’t help but notice the little voice in my head telling me, “You’re so basic. You think you’re qualified to teach people? You don’t know anything that isn’t already known.”

Fortunately, the teachers at this conference were courageous & open-hearted, and they didn’t hesitate to admit that they were nervous, that they too felt like an imposter

I think, a lot of the time, imposter syndrome (although it feels terrible) can be a good sign... it means we’re doing something brave, we’re challenging ourselves. The shame & fear is just a byproduct — it’s our brain trying to protect us from uncertainty, failure, and rejection

So, next time your brain starts asking, “Who do you think you are?” I invite you to tell it that you’re human, perfectly imperfect, and that you’re learning & growing. Appreciate your strengths. Commend your bravery. Give yourself the acceptance & love that your brain is so afraid you won’t get

How to (Lovingly) Deal With your Inner Perfectionist

A note to my fellow perfectionists-in-recovery: You don’t have to struggle with your inner-perfectionist! You just need to give her a better job. The urge to plan & perfect is not ‘bad’ or wrong. It’s natural to want to predict & control — it’s hardwired into us to keep us safe.

My inner-perfectionist is always scanning for things that could go wrong, and trying to formulate the perfect plan that will protect me from any & all bullshit. But we do not have ultimate control over our circumstances, and sometimes life throws a big pile o’ shit at our perfect plan.

And I don’t know about you, but I don’t really find comfort in ‘just letting go of the reigns’ or telling myself “whatever happens happens”. I find it much more helpful to give my inner-perfectionist a job that suits her skills — I have her plan for when everything goes to shit.

I think about practical needs, like housing & food & rest. But I also think about how I’ll take care of myself emotionally, and make a list of who I can rely on for help. I do this for anything that I might be worried about, big or small. It reminds me that I can get through anything, which gives me peace. And it makes my inner-perfectionist a valuable part of the team, rather than something to be reigned in or repressed.

Perfectionism x New Year's Resolutions

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As we transition into the new year, many of us are making BIG plans! This time of year is so filled with hope & encouragement.

But I think this has happened to most of us — around March (...or, y’know, late January), we ‘fall off the bandwagon’ as they say.

Making a new habit feels weird, and sometimes we struggle and we don’t like it. And maybe we forget a few times, or skip it because we don’t feel like it. And then, after awhile, we just go back to what we’ve been doing because it’s easy & familiar.

I know, for me, it’s my streak of perfectionism and all-or-nothing thinking that trips me up with stuff like this. When I can’t execute my perfect plan perfectly, my reaction is to think that I can’t do it - I’m not cut out for it, it’s too hard, etc. It’s like I’m so overwhelmed by feelings of not-good-enough that, to avoid dealing with them, I just shut down and give up.

Fortunately, I’ve learned to be more & more aware of this pattern. And whats helped the most is to give myself permission to do something badly.

Most people fumble & struggle & fail a lot before they become skilled at something — that’s just life. And yet I was expecting myself to be supernaturally good at things I had little-to-no practice doing.

When I expected I would do badly for awhile (and made myself okay with that), it became a lot less scary for me to try new things. And, ultimately, to perservere and succeed.