Perfectionism can be a huge source of anxiety. It’s a game you cannot win!
Learn how to use a spiritual, loving approach to deal with perfectionistic tendencies.
I love my little green, flowering and sprouting friends! Here are 3 things we can learn from plants:
1) Do things in your own time
2) Love and accept yourself just the way you are – don’t try to be something you’re not
3) You have more life in you than you think
Do you have any plants of your own that you take care of and can learn from?
Guilt and shame are two emotions that are not often talked about. We talk about anger management, grieving periods and ways to reduce fear and anxiety; guilt and shame though are rarely mentioned. They are deeply uncomfortable, embarrassing and hardly acceptable.
But they are part of human life just like other feelings, and facing them can be a crucial step on every individual’s healing journey.
First of all, let’s take a look at the difference between guilt and shame:
Guilt refers to something you did. Perhaps you made a mistake, did something stupid or said something wrong that was hurtful to someone else. Perhaps you feel guilty that you asked your friend to take you to the airport and he got stuck in traffic for two hours on the way home.
Shame on the other hand is about who you are at the deepest level. You can feel ashamed about your character, your body type, your looks, your preferences, your weak spots. You could be the sweetest, most helpful, loving and generous person, and you can still feel ashamed about your innermost being.
Being human, we tend to try and cover up any mistakes and weaknesses.
So if we made a mistake at work, our first impulse might be to keep quiet about it, fix it quickly before anyone notices, or pretend not to know what happened. We might even feel compelled to lie about the incidence, because that still seems less hurtful than speaking the truth and admitting our mistake. But, it takes a lot of effort to keep up lies and denial, and they rarely hold up in the long run. When the truth comes out eventually it might be even more embarrassing than had we just spoken up right away!
But why is it so painful for us to admit a mistake? Because we fear that the people involved will be mad at us, or disappointed with us. We fear that we will be less likable and lovable when we make a mistake. We fear that our loved ones will abandon us when we don’t perform perfectly well. This fear of abandonment is perfectly normal and human. But once we realize that guilt is about something we did, and not about who we are at the core, it gets easier to be upfront and open about a mistake, and to forgive ourselves. When we love and accept ourselves, mistakes and flaws can be seen as natural human imperfections and opportunities for learning and improvement.
But that’s where shame comes in: Feeling ashamed of yourself means that you don’t love and accept yourself completely. And, as bad as it sounds, most of us struggle with this to some extent. You might not like the fact that you’re shy and introverted, that your nose is big, your legs aren’t model material, you have a temper, or tend to worry easily. So we try to cover up and hide these things: We try to act more extroverted than we are, have plastic surgery, hide our bodies in big, baggy clothes or drown our sorrows in alcohol and ice cream.
But, just like trying to cover up a mistake you made, it takes a lot of energy and constant effort to try and hide or change something that’s essential to who you are! In order to overcome our shame, we need to learn to love and accept ourselves just the way we are. We need to remember that we are inherently worthy, valuable and lovable just by being alive. We need to connect with the beautiful, divine spark that all of us carry, and understand that our human imperfections are part of what makes us endearing and likable.
Dealing with feelings of guilt requires acceptance, the courage to be honest about it, the ability to step back and forgive yourself and an inherent sense of self-worth. And you can only establish this sense of self-worth when you work through your shame. Here are a few modalities that have helped me let go of shame and build up my sense of worthiness:
It’s important to remember that this sense of self-worth can only come from the inside: Some people try to get validation by pleasing others, taking care of others before taking care of themselves, spending all their energy on looking pretty and fashionable, accumulating money and material possessions, or climbing the corporate ladder in search of a title or position that will make them feel needed and valuable. But these outside accomplishments are only a temporary band aid, not a long-term cure. True worthiness comes from the inside.
The good news is that you are inherently worthy, valuable and lovable just by being yourself. You have everything you need. You don’t need to prove anything. Just be yourself, do what lights your heart up, and enjoy life. Jesus said “Love your neighbor as yourself” – not more than yourself, but also not less. Once you recognize the divinity in each and everyone of us, you realize that there’s no separation, that we are all one, that we are all worthy of love and belonging. And that we are all connected through a chain of love.
And so it is!
Please share in the comments: What activities light you up? What makes you feel complete, courageous and confident? Have you ever struggled with feelings of unworthiness?
You are perfectly beautiful just the way you are.
PS: In my ebook “From Overwhelm To Inner Peace” you can find an extensive list of tools for self-acceptance, forgiveness and inner peace. Click here for a sneak peak and to purchase.
I’m a classic introvert, and on top of that I’m highly sensitive. So at times, I behave in ways that can seem a little strange to the rest of the population 😀
In the past I would try really hard to be more outgoing and appear more confident than I was feeling. And I would often judge myself for being too quiet, too shy, and for not coming up with great conversation topics at all times and witty replies on the spot.
But thanks to amazing resources (such as Susan Cain’s “Quiet”, Elaine Aron’s “The Highly Sensitive Person” and Anna Holden’s “Sensitivity Uncensored”) things have changed. It’s not like all of a sudden I’ve morphed into the most confident, outgoing woman ever, and there are still times where I’d rather pull a blanket over my head than go out and make conversation. But I’ve learned to accept, acknowledge, and even love my quiet, sensitive nature and all the gifts it brings.
And when I find myself falling back into old introvert patterns of avoidance, instead of beating myself up, I have to chuckle 😃 Let me share with you a few typical, awkward, sometimes embarrassing, but hopefully also endearing introvert habits:
2)I work at a retail nursery, which means that customer service is king. Most of the time, I’m pretty good about greeting customers and asking them if they need assistance. But sometimes, I pretend to be busy, so I don’t have to talk to them right away. I let them look around first, and if they look like they have a question, I’ll approach them; if they don’t approach me first, which would be ideal 😃
3) When I’m at a party, concert or bar and I really want to go home because I’m tired and/or uncomfortable, I will not always say goodbye to everyone I know. I pick one or two people that are easily available, give them a hug, and get the hell out of there.
4) I often overthink if it’s appropriate to hug somebody – even if they’re a friend and I really like them! Do they really want to be hugged at that point? Is it too much to hug for hello AND goodbye? If one hug per encounter is enough, when is the perfect time to give a hug – as greeting or as goodbye? And then often I end up not hugging, because I thought about it so much that I missed the window of opportunity. So, it’s not that I don’t like hugs – I’m just incredibly aware of and discreet about another person’s space. But if you give me a clear sign that it’s okay to hug, I will happily return the gesture of appreciation 😃 A friend of mine always asks beforehand “Can I give you a hug?”. I think this straightforward but respectful approach is brilliant, and I want to try and adopt it as a less awkward habit. 😉
5) I think by now most people are aware of the fact that some people get tired from socializing and being around people. I try to take good care of myself in order to maximize my abilities to be open, loving and kind to the people around me. When I’m doing really good I will have the presence of mind to let you know that I need to go (home/to bed/to take a nap/to a sacred appointment with myself) before I get too overwhelmed and exhausted. But sometimes, I’ll get past that point – and I’ll just disappear. Sometimes I just have to put up instant boundaries and insert instant me-time. It’s nothing personal, and it’s not like you said something wrong; I just have to to do this in order to stay sane and healthy and respect my limits! *disappearing in a cloud of pink smoke*
I definitely have more outgoing and more introspective days, as we all do…those tendencies just may seem a little more extreme, since as a highly sensitive introvert everything in life is just a little more intense. I need more time to think, to rest, to be alone, to be comfortable; I can get pretty sad, or pissed off, or closed up; but I also laugh and giggle twice as much, love deeper than the ocean and are able to experience the biggest joy imaginable. Life’s just a little different for me. 😉
Know that the introverts in your life do love you very much in their own ways – even if they don’t always hug, kiss, tear jokes, say “I love you” or scream for joy 😃
Much quiet, gentle and soft-spoken love!
Today I’m celebrating the first day of my period.
Hold it right there – did you say CELEBRATING?!
Yep, you heard that right! 🙂 Let me explain…
First of all – and this may be an obvious one – today marks the end of some uncomfortable PMS symptoms, such as migraines and a terrible mood. That alone is a big relief!
I do firmly believe though that pain free, harmonious cycles are possible when a woman is in tune with her body’s wisdom and treats herself with kindness and love…for me, that’s definitely a work in progress, but still I’m not willing to believe the common story that PMS and painful periods are normal and unavoidable.
You see, just as the moon goes through a cycle of waxing and waning, our bodies have more energy in the first half of the menstrual cycle, and the urge to slow down in the second half. If we keep running around and being incredibly busy without ever taking a break, our bodies develop stronger and stronger symptoms to force us to slow down. If we keep ignoring the little nudges, we find ourselves sick in bed with headaches, cramps, moodiness and back pain.
Now I don’t suggest that we don’t go to work or fulfill our regular responsibilities for two weeks out of the month! But a little attention, a little more self-care and the power of our intention go a long way in making our period not only less painful, but even more enjoyable.
(graphic taken from “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” by Christiane Northrup, M.D.)
As soon as I started paying closer attention to my cycle and its messages, I noticed something interesting: On the first day of my period, I feel more in tune with my feminine wisdom than on any other day. I feel graceful, light and full of compassion for myself and others, and my intuition is peaking.
I take this day to slow down and pamper myself. I don’t do yoga or exercise and I indulge in warm and nourishing foods my body wants to eat (Chocolate? Muffin? Mocha? Pad Thai? Fennel Tea? Chicken Tacos? Yes, please!). I paint my nails, give myself an oil massage and take a hot shower. I take it slow, and I pay close attention to my inner voice that is just overflowing with insights and wisdom today.
This morning I felt the urge to buy an essential oil to support the process of turning inward and letting go. I found this beautiful blend, and I thought about how powerful scents and smells are in helping us get grounded and release old gunk. Why is that so?
Our sense of smell is one of our most primal senses, and it is connected to the root chakra at the base of the spine. The root chakra is our connection to the earth and of a beautiful blood red color. Surrounding yourself with comforting scents (essential oils, incense, scented candles or apple pie baking in the oven) is a great way to connect with this energy center, get grounded and start sending some excess energy downwards.
We women are lucky that once a month our bodies have this built-in cleansing and grounding mechanism. There is so much joy in supporting this process by practicing some extra self-care on these days. (I don’t know about you, but I always welcome an excuse to slow down and take it easy!)
I know we often curse at our period and the challenging week before it…but if we could just see this part of our cycle as a sacred time of introspection, intuitive guidance and graceful letting go, we’d be well on our way to healing not just our bodies and our monthly cycles. We’d also be taking back the power of being a woman, embracing all of her parts, all strengths and weaknesses, the darkness as well as the light. We are only truly powerful when we are complete, and just as the moon dwells in its shadow side for part of the month, so do we. And that’s nothing to be afraid of: We can make it a phase of beauty, inner wisdom and unconditional self-love.
*This post was first published on http://www.energiesinmotion.com on July 11th, 2016