Are you aware that perfectionism is a form of self-abuse because it means that you are setting unattainable self-standards? The very definition of unattainable standards implies that you are driving yourself to achieve something that is forever out of reach! Perfectionism also means that you are measuring your self-worth based upon your behavioral performance. Perfectionism comes into play when your ego has you lost in compulsively seeking outside approval and validation from other people. Chasing that outside validation and approval is a way to prop up your sagging self-esteem. Yes, I said it… perfectionists actually have low self-esteems!
As a perfectionist Mom, your fear-based ego is trying to tell you that you are only as valuable as what you can accomplish and is continually determining your worth based upon your last time-up to bat! Your Ego is driving you to EARN love, approval and grace! You are not required to earn any of those things, as they are gifts that are freely given, once you learn to make a practice of giving them first and foremost to yourself.
As a perfectionist Mom, you will find yourself obsessively critiquing your outward performance, while simultaneously gauging the reactions of others, most especially authority figures. This is not a healthy pattern to fall into, in light of the fact that much of your life likely revolves around interacting with health care professionals, social service agency administrators, special education administrators, and a host of other specialists that knock on your door related to your child’s special needs. When the professionals aren’t weighing in with their opinions, then it’s your friends, your significant other, your family members, other Moms and even perfect strangers who are watching from the sidelines and have plenty of opinions and insights to offer!
Perfectionism is worlds apart from healthy striving for excellence. Healthy strivers are inwardly focused toward self-improvement, whereas perfectionists are hostage to the tyranny of needing external acceptance and approval. Perfectionism is characterized by errors in thinking. The biggest error of all is adopting the belief that you are required to live perfectly, present an image of perfect and do everything perfectly in order to avoid or minimize the painful feelings that come from experiences where you felt the sting of shame, blame, humiliation and/or judgment.
Perfectionism is an adaption that often began during a stormy childhood. During childhood, you may have erroneously internalized the belief that you were responsible for controlling other people’s perceptions of your behavior. You may have ceaselessly monitored you own behavior as a barometer for whether you could ensure your own physical and emotional well-being. These internalized beliefs are no longer serving you. Remember, your perceptions, choices and behavioral responses fall within your responsibility; everything else belongs outside of your domain.
As a perfectionist Mom, you likely believe that you are your accomplishments and thus, your ego has pushed you into adopting an identity of neurotic over-achieving on behalf of your special needs child. Your Ego-mind holds you hostage to the idea that it is never safe for you to step off the treadmill of the unattainable. While engaged in your exhaustive efforts, your ego continually measures your performance and assigns a score… your result either approached the mark or was deeply flawed. Due to the black and white assertions of the ego, there is little to no grey area between the two extremes.
Your Ego continually hammers you with the idea that mistakes are unacceptable. In the event that you’ve actually encountered shame, humiliation or judgment, your Ego will push you to double down on your efforts, rather than having you challenge the faulty premise of attempting to earn other people’s support through your performance. The Ego will insist that you work even harder the next time around to stamp out your so-called deficiencies. These measures by the Ego are harsh, tyrannical and unforgiving.
What’s quite troublesome is that perfectionism holds the promise of offering external rewards but those rewards come at an exorbitantly high price.
Perfectionism robs you of your joy, resiliency, your freedom and potentially even your health, while keeping you addicted to gaining a modicum of validation from other people. The rigid black and white thinking of perfectionism, in combination with the fear of failure, potentially keeps you stuck in a cycle of constant anxiety, strained relationships and chronic procrastination.
Carol Look has discovered that even when a perfectionist attains the trapping of success, it results in deep emptiness because that success is based upon the wrong ideals and values.
Your true power as a Mom is never outside of yourself. Neurotic overachieving, perfectionism and workaholism are nothing more than a set of masks to cover over your fear, shame, pain and lack of self-love.
This journey is about you learning to love and accept yourself without conditions, so that your special needs child can learn to love and accept themselves unconditionally as well. Remember, your children internalize the truth of who you are, more than the words that you utter!
- Are you ready to give yourself permission to drop the burden of perfectionism and instead replace that burden with unconditional self-love, self-acceptance and self-compassion?
- Are you ready to surrender to the idea that it is one hundred percent acceptable for you to make a misstep? Can you validate with kindness and compassion, as though you are speaking to yourself as a dear best friend, why it’s totally safe for you to display less than perfect behavior? It is safe for you to throw gutter balls in life because gutter balls are integral to the learning process.
- Are you ready to courageously assume full responsibility for all of your life choices, by placing your attention on the pivot and correction, rather than the so-called missteps? Are you ready to preserve your life force energy by dropping the Ego-mind’s survival story of observe, complain, blame and explain?
- Are you ready to give yourself permission to complete certain tasks in an acceptably average manner? Not all tasks require the same level of commitment.
- Are you ready to set healthy boundaries so that your home life and your work life don’t bleed together in a nonstop work cycle? Are you ready to make yourself a priority in your own life by carving out your own time for recharging, renewing and revitalizing yourself?
- Are you ready to create a meditation practice so that you can begin to tap into your highest wisdom, take measured and guided actions that are based upon the inspirations offered from your Higher Self? Are you ready to save time and spare yourself unnecessary struggle because these inspired steps invariably lead you in the right spiritual direction? Are you ready to free yourself from the compulsive run on the hamster wheel?
- Are you ready to embrace the following truth from Dr. Wayne Dyer; “What other people think of me is none of my business. One of the highest places you can get to is to be independent of the opinions of other people?”
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