Change is beyond difficult. I have so many people come in to my office and share stories about feeling stuck, not knowing what to change, not knowing how to change. It can all feel terribly overwhelming. Part of it is perfectionism. The need to feel like you have to make a change, be perfect at it, and never go back to old habits. This rigid way of thinking does not serve you very well. It actually ends up making you feel even more stuck. So how can we let go of these expectations and not put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect?
Brené Brown is one of my favorite authors/researchers/social workers. I'm convinced she knows all of the answers, or at least most of them. I try and follow her guidance in my own life, so I thought it would be appropriate to share some of her work here. This chart is from her book "The Gifts of Imperfection." The book brings to light how in our society we are made to believe that if we look perfect, act perfect, have the perfect life, perfect family, perfect job, that our lives will be full and we will not feel inadequate. How is that working out for you? The truth is that none of these things make us feel worthy or good enough or connected. When we look for something external to feel worthy, whether it be another person, a job, an identity, we are not focusing on what Brené refers to as Wholehearted Living. For example, when we share who we really are with people, rather than who we think we should be, our lives actually becomes more fulfilling. I know for me, I've noticed that when I practice authenticity, when I act like my real self, I notice that the people I find nonessential in my life are removed. I'm left with MY people. The people who appreciate my ideas, opinions, that enjoy my company. These relationships are meaningful and life changing, they help me grow, increase my confidence, and they make me happy. All of these benefits just from letting go of who I think I should be, replaced with who I really am. If you're looking for something new to read, or if you haven't heard of Brené Brown, I highly recommend her books. What will you work on letting go of this week?