I know you work hard. I know you want to do everything and do it well. I know you want to be the best mum, wife, daughter, employee and I know you are constantly comparing yourself to others who you think are doing much better then you.
No one has it all worked out and anyone who tells you different, is lying! There I said it. There isn’t an individual out there who can sit back at the end of the day and think ‘yep, I have got this life thing covered.’ Nope, never going to happen and you know what? That is exactly as it should be. If we had it all worked out, what would be the point?
We are constantly learning
I am sat here at the moment thinking and criticising myself. Even though I work hard on eating well and exercising, I haven’t been giving it my full attention. I haven’t been working out as often as I normally do and although I am not eating poorly, I have lost my enthusiasm for planning and prepping meals. However, I also know that I have been working incredibly hard on creating new content and releasing new courses for my business.
Instead of celebrating a job well done on all of my new content, I have been beating myself up because I thought that I should have been exercising and eating better. It wasn’t until I did a bit of reflection one evening that I realised what a slippery slope I was on. I was starting to expect perfection from myself. I know, from all the work I do and teach on mindset that it is okay to not have it all worked out but I had let my inner critic take control of the driver’s seat and I needed to remind myself of what was important.
What is important?
This doesn’t mean that I will give up on getting my workouts back in and eating well, it just means that I give myself permission to NOT be perfect at it. To have those lows and those highs and to know that it is all a learning curve to finding out what works well for me. To remind myself that our best successes in life come from trial and error and finding solutions to problems.
What can you do?
Here are a few things you can try:
Nobody is perfect
I know that you look around at others and think they have the perfect life but I promise you, they don’t. Perfection is something we create in our own heads, it doesn’t exist in reality at all. From a psychological point of view, it has been argued that we have two needs. Positive regard from other people and self-actualisation which is where we need to explore and develop our own abilities and potential. (Carl Rodgers, 1961)
Rodgers says that most of the time we are absolutely fine but every so often the two needs are at odds with one another and this leads to unrealistic expectations of ourselves. We do not feel free to explore our own abilities as we are worried that we will lose people’s positive regard. When we have these high expectations, we tend to think that other people do things better than us and we are somehow inferior. This is not the case, which leads me onto the next point:
Learn to love yourself unconditionally
Think about when you train a dog or teach a young child right from wrong. You have to tell them the same thing over and over again until they get what you are trying to teach them. Even then, there will probably be slip-ups along the way. That is exactly the same here. You will need to tell yourself the same loving things over and over again.
I know that it sounds a bit ‘hippy’ but the person who holds all of the power to your happiness is you! You need to start to practise unconditional love on yourself. I know that you, like many others will be great at being self-critical. You will be the first to highlight your faults and things you should be doing better. This voice is there because sometimes, it serves us well but just like an over-eager assistant, it doesn’t mean that it has complete authority over you. You can choose not to listen to that critical voice. You can choose to tell yourself something different instead. Try saying these instead:
I am doing the best I can
I will learn new things when I am ready
I am on my own journey
I am great at working my way through difficult situations
I am strong
I will work it out
I will find a way forward
I love myself exactly as I am
I can learn something from those around me
I can ask for help
I am okay
I don’t have to be perfect
You will need to say these to yourself and often. Our bodies and minds are like a huge, complex computer system and by the time you are 35, 95% of your thoughts and emotions are hardwired meaning that they happen without you consciously being aware. This means that you have to work incredibly hard to change the way that you think which in turns changes the way you feel. It will feel uncomfortable to begin with but keep going!
If you are stuck
If you still find things difficult then at the end of the day, spend 5 minutes reflecting on your actions. Think about the moments where you were hard on yourself. Now imagine that person was your best friend. What would you have told her? Now tell that to yourself.