I'm going to be honest. Acknowledging my imperfections used to be torturrrrre!
There! I admit it! Woo. I have to say. It's a relief to get that off my chest.
Can you relate to this?
I used to want, no, I used to need to be perfect. It sounds crazy, but in my world to be imperfect meant punishment. I grew up in a performance household. Imperfection could mean being questioned, scolded, judged, or insulted. In my worst mistakes I could have been hit (or chased by my brother who I'm sure would have killed me if he'd caught me. I'm sure of it.) After the impact and the stress of anticipating it, I'd be left alone feeling hurt and confused, all while learning the false narrative that I was stupid, a screw up and that it was dangerous to be wrong, fail, or to in any way be imperfect. I am now an avid workaholic (and so is my brother).
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
These reactions came from several different people in my life who really didn't intend to have such an intense impact on me, but they did. They were all measuring me against their individual preferences and standards of perfection. Even though I didn't agree to them I was being measured against the expectations of others. The cost of disappointing them was (in the eyes of a child) their love, my acceptance and my security as a person.
Dang! That's intense!
Obviously there was no way I could please one person 100% o the time, let alone everyone.
The result for me was anxiety, an underlying need to please others, and a loss of courage to take healthy risks. What if someone saw me fail? Failure was dangerous for that child, remember?
So I played small, let other people make my big decisions and only took my risks alone where no one could see them. But along the way from childhood through high school and into adulthood, I could still feel my scrappy, feisty self beneath the relatively well behaved surface.
Eventually I hit a breaking point.
In 2012 I began to systematically sort through the unhelpful and disruptive patterns that seemed to be stalking me in my relationships, personal thought patterns, career, family life, health — all of it. I noticed that changing boyfriends, friends, social groups, jobs, diets, and workouts didn't change the overarching themes of friction in my life.
The same types of problems kept coming back with new people, new details and new circumstances. Details changes but the problems remained the same. A common one for me was this: A situation would arise in which I didn't feel worthy or safe enough to ask for what I needed. Often I would struggle to set boundaries for fear of hurting or upsetting the other person. Over time it would snowball: I wouldn't say enough here, which meant I compensated by saying too much there, which meant I blamed this person for my displeasure, and resented that obligation for forcing me to stay in a situation I didn't want to be in, and eventually I abandoned the scene entirely or if I stayed I exploded. It was just easier to be alone... but eventually I would want connection and the cycle would continue.
I'll admit I have tried cutting out relationships. While it makes things easier in some ways, it's not really a solution. We're wired for connection and research shows that we're healthier and have a stronger survival rate when we have healthy relationships, just ask google. It wasn't wise or helpful to remain alone and it was also too uncomfortable for me to stay in the same old patterns blaming the world for my problems. As familiar as the problems were I had take ownership of them, say "Yup. Those are my issues." and brave new territory as I explored ways of interacting with the world from a different script.
Ready to Upgrade
Fast forward several years and I am now continually eager to discover new ways of improving myself. It's been 8 years of doing the work and unraveling my old programs in a thousand brutally blissful ways. This means noticing when my thoughts and behaviors are based on a beliefs, assumption or reactions that is not sourced from the present moment.
For example, if I grew up with my parents telling me that all people who ________ are bad and not to be trusted, then when I encounter one of these people I'm likely to treat them as though they are bad and not to be trusted, despite evidence and facts demonstrating that they are good and trustworthy. In this case, I'd be acting based on a belief and assumption that stems from a program given to me by my parents. It is not, however, my sincere belief but one I chose to adhere to as a young child in order to gain the acceptance of my parents. It was a survival technique and it was part of the world order that I initially learned when I was learning what it meant to be human, in this body, culture, country and so on. They'd been playing the game of life longer so I expected them to share the correct rules with me. Turns out, parents share their rules, which include their biases and preferences and don't necessarily empower kids to discover their own answers, morals, or values — at least not initially. They do their best, wherever that lands.
Dismantling these types of biases and preferences is done in an effort to discover what we really believe based on the truth of the moment. It is a process of identifying where we have outsourced responsibility for our thoughts and actions and reclaim that ownership.
Can you relate to what I've found:
The Personal Growth Accelerator
(a.k.a. The Exhilarator :)
When I notice a personal skill I want to develop, whether it's to learn a more effective way of communicating during confrontation or learning to use a new computer program, I choose to grow.
The Personal Growth Exhilarator is a method of expanding awareness into an abundance mindset by expecting to receive exactly what you need. By activating this belief, or this understanding, you will take on all roles of the creative and abundance process and become that which you want and need. Here's how I do it:
Growth is only painful when our ego believes it's dying. That's right. Dying. The ego is soooo dramatic...and so are we! Our drama level is actually the perfect indicator of our ego involvement or rather, our resistance to just pausing and saying "... oh. Yeah, I could have done that better. Instead of making excuses let's see how I can improve so this can be easier next time." Saves a lot of energy and time. Often the results turn out differently than I imagine or plan, and the result is a novel surprise which leads to pleasure, sparking even more inspiration. Fuel for the next creative possibility.
Imperfection is the gateway, not the enemy.
After years of self-flagellation I've put the whip down. Doubt, failure and imperfection are a beautiful part of the process. They are so uniquely messy, I love them like my babies. So onward I climb. Step by step. Stumble by stumble. It may not always be smooth, but at least it will be exhilarating.