Self-Improvement or Perfectionism? 3 Red Flags...
Self-improvement and self-care are amazing things. I've seen my own life change in the most radical and healing ways possible through MFR, mindfulness, emotional release, and a multitude of other self-help techniques.
But have you ever felt stressed about not making enough progress?
Have you ever judged yourself for not being "woke" enough?
For not doing your stretches?
For not meditating long enough?
For not eating well enough?
Have you ever watched an interview with a successful entrepreneur who shared their morning routine. They get up at 5am, work out at the gym, make a cup of fresh squeezed green juice, journal, write down their goals and meditate all before you are even out of bed. Did you then think to yourself, "Ugh, I need to get my sh*t together."
Well, enough is enough with this way of thinking!
You're not alone! We have all felt this way. In fact, even those super humans who you admire also feel this way.
Here are 3 red flags to watch out for that will bring you back to earth. Remember, the idea behind self-care isn't to be perfect. It's to improve your life. So that you have more joy, success, better health and better relationships. Not so you can prove to everyone that you are the best ever! (haha but oh we all wish we could ;)
1. COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS
This one can go one of two ways. Often we find ourselves actually doing both.
Sometimes you may be judging yourself for not being as good as someone else.
"So and so seems like they have it all together" (spoiler alert: nobody has it all together).
This is a big clue that you need to get off the self-deprecating binge that you are on an focus on where you are now. Take a deep breath and do what feels right for you in this moment. What would actually help you move along the path that you and only you are on? You don't need to make a big leap everyday.
Judging yourself against what you see on social media or TV will NEVER feel good because people don't tend to broadcast their bad hair days. Always remember that you are only seeing other people's highlight reels for the most part.
The other way this can go is equally bad (if not worse) but it feels really good in the moment.
Ever get the sweet, sweet satisfaction of judging another person for not being as evolved or as spiritual or as healthy or as competent as you are? Oh, those poor unfortunate souls!
Yes your ego loves that sh*t! It eats it up for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The only catch? You'll get a bad ego hangover and in the end you don't actually feel any better because you are using your comparison fantasies to deflect from how you really feel about yourself. Yes, if you are looking down on others or even just analyzing them that means some part of you doesn't feel enough.
Well, let's stop right here to acknowledge that YOU ARE ENOUGH! Let's celebrate! Seriously, we ALL are enough. We're all in the same boat here. Just focus on your own gifts and challenges, not others.
2. You have this idea that eventually you will arrive. You will arrive at a place where nothing bad ever happens again. All your struggles will disappear. Yes! All of your hard work in the self-help arena will take you to heaven on earth. Soon you'll be walking on water. If only you could just fit in some extra meditation each day. Then, you'll get there!
So you may not be fully consciously be having thoughts that extreme. But if you get real with yourself there might be a part of you secretly hoping it's true. A silent force within that is driving you towards an unattainable and unconscious goal. I mean, c'mon, who doesn't want to be completely enlightened?
Okay, so to a certain extent yes, you can really go a long way with mindfulness, etc. where you are less triggered and your life goes very smoothly. Yes, a good life is indeed waiting. And that's what Nicole and I teach. But when we hold our lives to the standards of Jesus or the Buddha things have gone too far.
And to top it off, striving for this magical place where pain doesn't exist might be what actually keeps you from achieving a life of pure flow. We all go through bad times and no matter what you do things will come up in life.
So be a badass at enhancing your wave riding skills. Instead of hoping that if you work hard enough the waves will disappear.
3. To piggy back on #2, another red flag is the tendency to get hard on yourself when you face set-backs. Maybe you have a big flare up of back pain that you thought would never return. Maybe you fall for another lie from your ex. Maybe you get sucked into your brother's co-dependency patterns and desperately reach for the phone to talk to a therapist. Panic sets in. You hear yourself saying things like:
"how could I let this happen?"
"what did I do wrong?"
"I thought I had this figured out!"
"I thought I was strong enough"
Again, take a deep breath and come back to your heart. Go easy on yourself. Try not to obsess about the failure or setback. When you spend all your mental and physical energy obsessed with what happened it puts you into a whirlwind that is hard to get out of. Obviously, take care of the situation. But calmly and mindfully go about the things you need to do to address it. The more you vent and think about it, the more you feed the problem at hand.
Don't worry, life will never be perfect. But you are enough. And that's all it takes to move forward.