Last Spring I wrote a 10-part series based on one of my very favorite books, “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown. Each week for 10 weeks I shared one guidepost from the book, a few thoughts, plus a journal prompt. For an overview of each guidepost visit here.
Guidepost #2: Cultivate Self-Compassion – Let go of perfectionism
I have been looking forward to talking about this guidepost all week. Let me preface today’s guidepost with a quote about the full-importance of self-compassion,
The human spirit steps forward when people are held lovingly, and firmly, to the standards of which they’re capable. There’s an innate intelligence at our cellular level that rises to the foreground with the slightest encouragement. – Richard Strozzi-Heckler
Self-compassion is the encouragement. Self-compassion is being held lovingly and firmly. And self-compassion allows us to fully experience the depth of our abilities. What happens when you don’t practice self-compassion? In my work I see it play out through the following:
- High expectations of yourself and others
- Assertive and borderline agressive personality
- A feeling that your guard is always up
- Inability to fail publicly
- Don’t fully trust others to nurture you
- Have a hard time accepting love or compassion from others
- Constantly driving forward without stopping
I’ve hard Brene Brown reference perfectionism as a ‘two-ton shield’ – I think what she means is perfectionism becomes the ultra protection from rejection from others. The problem is this – perfectionism may keep the fear of rejection at bay but it also traps your light inside of you. In other words, you can not block out the darkness and fear without also blocking the light and the innate good.
Practicing self-compassion is a practice of radical self-acceptance. Just as you are, right here in this very moment. It is knowing and believing that you are worthy just because you are! Not because you’re driven, or strategic, or strong, or right but because you’re human. Period.
To help you cultivate guidepost #2 I have a journal prompt for you:
I feel most at peace when…
Join me next Friday as we explore Guidepost #3: Cultivate a Resilient Spirit – Let go of numbing and powerlessness.
In the meantime bring this guidepost into practice by trying the journal prompt this week.
In light and love,