Reformed Perfectionist Series: Introduction

Oh, perfectionism. The monster that keeps us striving for a goal that we can never reach.

I used to be a perfectionist without even knowing it. Looking back, I can see the signs. I was harsh towards myself, thought in extremes, was inflexible in my habits, and felt like I was internally walking on eggshells. Being human – making mistakes, feeling all my emotions, being anything less than my idealized image of who I should be – wasn’t an option.

I started my journey away from perfectionism unintentionally, when I was 15 years old. My first step was to care less about what people thought of me. Often, perfectionists believe others judge them as harshly as they judge themselves. Reframing my focus allowed me to cut myself some slack and free up my energy and enthusiasm. I became way happier.

Cut to today after continuing diligently on my reformation to a non-perfectionist. In my career as a therapist, I get to help others free themselves from the binds of perfectionism. That transformation never gets old – the breaking of the shell, spreading of the wings and taking off. It’s a certain kind of magic and has become a passion of mine.

I decided to create a blog series about how to let go of perfectionist thinking and behaviors. Every post will focus on a different task of dismantling perfectionism, including self-compassion, mistakes, shame & other challenging emotions, aligning with values, gratitude, routines, and more.

Plenty of other writers have described perfectionism, so some helpful links are below. Tune back in the coming weeks and we’ll tackle this beast once and for all!

Perfectionism” from GoodTherapy.org

9 Signs that you Might be a Perfectionist,” by Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD

Move with Radiance Podcast Interview

This week I had the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by my friend Stephanie Dankelson for her podcast “Move with Radiance.” (Listen to my episode here). In it, Stephanie and I cover all things relationships. Here is some of what we talked about:

  • The importance of knowing yourself as an individual in order to create a healthy relationship with another person.
  • Boundaries – what they are, why they matter, and how to set them.
  • How healthy conflict can help your relationship grow.
  • Communication skills – the good, the not-so-good, and how to upgrade yours.
  • How sex factors into healthy relationships.

Stephanie is an inspired writer, podcaster, coach and friend. Here is a bit about her:

“Stephanie Dankelson is personal trainer and life coach with a passion in helping women work through exercise addiction, disordered eating, and negative body image. Through years of trial and error, deep personal development work, training, and recovery from her own battle with these things, Stephanie has discovered a new way of eating, exercising, and living that isn’t based on fear.

“Through her coaching, writing, and podcast “Move with Radiance,” Stephanie demonstrates how redefining the relationship with yourself can ultimately help you heal and redefine the relationship you have with your body, food, and movement. She helps her clients find reconnection with their bodies, navigate through the negative self talk, the self destructing habits like binging/restricting and the back on track/off track mentality. She also helps them discover movement they no longer feel forced by and how to look at food in a different, more sustainable, fueling way. Because to her, there is a more freeing way to be fit.”

Wow, right? Stephanie is one of those high-vibe, inspiring, authentic women that make me feel like I can do anything. Check out the rest of her podcast episodes and her blog!

Here is the link to the podcast: https://www.stephanie-dankelson.com/the-podcast/episode13

Connect with Stephanie:

Website: www.stephanie-dankelson.com
Instagram: @stephaniedankelson
Facebook: facebook.com/stephaniedankelsonmovement

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Often when we find ourselves feeling down, depressed, anxious or not like ourselves, our first move is to try to get out of it. We try to avoid or ignore the pain, fight it with positive thinking, or dive into it so deeply we that we can’t seem to find a way out. We get stuck – stuck running, stuck despairing, or stuck feeling numb.

In my work with clients, it’s at this point that a childhood camp song, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” comes to mind:

“We’re going on a bear hunt
We’re gonna catch a big one!
I’m not scared,
What a beautiful day!
Uh oh! Mud!
We can’t go under it,
We can’t go over it –
Oh no!
We have to go through it!

What we are taught about pain, uncomfortable emotions, and suffering can impact how we relate to these unavoidable experiences. Were you taught that pain is a sign of weakness or defectiveness? Were you taught that pain has value or is a signal to slow down? Were you never taught a thing about emotions?

Much of my work with clients is about making meaning from suffering. It’s a question of, “This is what I’m dealing with. What now?” By changing our relationship to suffering, we can become unstuck. From there, healing begins to flow.

At some point, we run and run until we become stuck in the metaphorical mud – unable to move on despite the best efforts. We can’t beat ourselves up for being there. Maybe you are in that mud now – it’s never too early or too late to get moving.