Giving Yourself Grace = Self-Compassion
Does this concept actually exist?! Yes, indeed it does, and it is an important one!
How many times have you messed up and instead of letting it go, you beat yourself up over and over again? How many times do those messages that play in your head like a movie remind you that you will never be good enough, because of that ONE mistake that you made?
Yup, I have been there too. You are not alone.
We are our biggest critic, and frankly, for some of us it is a very ugly critic, that is RELENTLESS. Nothing that we do will ever be good enough. We will never please ourselves, because our expectations are set so high that they are unattainable. What we fail to remember is that, WE ARE HUMAN, WE MAKE MISTAKES, and WE WILL NEVER BE PERFECT.
But.. But... But.... (You argue). There is no other option besides absolute perfection. Trust me, I know.
My mom and husband could have conversations with you for hours about how my perfectionism drives them CRAZY. I change my mind a lot because of this, I cannot make decisions easily because of this, and I am often sent into anxiety over striving to reach this perfection. I expect everything around me to be perfect and my expectations for perfection are through the roof when it comes to myself. If I cannot do something in a perfect way, I struggle to want to take part at all. This makes things very difficult sometimes. I often cry because my standard for myself is not met, on a pretty regular basis. I expect A LOT of myself, and to be real honest, most of what I expect for myself cannot be attained in the timeline that I allow. Can you relate?
I am vulnerable and share my own story, because it is so important to me that you know that you are not alone.
So, where does this need to be perfect come from? For me, its control. If I can control everything around me and it looks pretty in a little wrapped up box, life is safe. As you know from reading "My Story", I strive for safety. Safety was something that at one point in my life, I lost.
Life is not predictable, and often times this is how we have experienced pain in the past. So to move forward and protect ourselves in the future and to prevent the pain from happening again, we try to take control.
The good news is, we CAN let go. We can offer ourselves self-compassion. We can grasp onto the fact that we are going to mess up. We are going to do something in an un-perfect way. We are going to experience something that is un-perfect, due to the lack of control of our world. HOWEVER, just because perfectionism isn't reached, doesn't mean that we cannot still choose happiness. We ARE still good enough. We DO still have value. We ARE lovable. Just as you would be quick to offer compassion to a friend or family member, give yourself that same value and love and offer it to yourself. You deserve to love yourself. Become a perfectionist at loving yourself.
Do you struggle with feeling like you have to be perfect? How does it affect your life? I would love to hear about your personal experience with this. Please feel free to share in the comments or contact me.
Brittany Wingfield, MS, LPCC