Treat yourself and trade perfectionism for self kindness
Ever wonder why it is so much harder to be kind to ourselves than it is to be kind to others? The expectations and pressure that we expect ourselves to live under is sometimes overwhelming and unkind. Have I done enough? Is what have I done good enough? Why can’t I do more? So many times we expect ourselves to be perfect and sometimes forget that we are human just like everyone else.
When I was growing up I put high expectations on myself. I needed to have the best grades, do my best in competitive situations and always deliver at a level of excellence that often drove stress instead of satisfaction. When I was in the military there wasn’t room for error, you couldn’t make mistakes without consequences and perfection was not only expected, but demanded. As I move into later stages of life, all those pressures carried forward into my every day life.
In my career, I had to overachieve and in my extracurricular endeavors, everything had to be perfect. Eventually, it became necessary to sit down and have a conversation with myself and ask just who I was trying to please and why was it so necessary to be so perfect. What I realized was that all the expectations I had placed on myself, that I believed to be coming from others, was really coming from right within. No one was asking me to be more than I could be, or do more than I could do. It was me who was heaping those expectations of perfection upon myself and causing unneeded stress in the process.
While I have become better at setting self expectation, when you have lived with that for so many years it is a very hard pattern to break. Ultimately, your body and mind pay a price when expectations of yourself are so high when most people are happy with just mediocre. I will tell you that I will never be happy with just mediocre, but I also have come to realize that it can’t all be perfect. As I continue to work on that in my meditations, the stress that comes with that expectation starts to subside. I am learning to be kinder to myself and if you are struggling with a similar situation, I hope that you too are as well.
Mornings with Ron is available as a podcast at anchor.fm/morningswithron or on iHeartRadio, Apple or Google Podcast, Spotify or most podcast sites.