There are a lot of kinds of relationships, but our relationship with ourselves is the ideal place to start.
Do you ever feel like you build barriers in front of you in your own path? That seems illogical, but unfortunately, this is grim reality for most people. Sometimes our own expectations demoralize us, sometimes wrong relationships impede us, sometimes we convince ourselves of things that are not true but that hold us back – like looking through a clouded filter, we just can’t see clearly.
Over the past three years, I had the powerful opportunity to experience some transformative learning that has helped to free me from barriers that I had constructed in front of myself. I realize that I had convinced myself of things that were simply not true, and I had no idea how much more free I could feel from this realization.
Like many people, I had lived my life as a perfectionist. I don’t know where it came from or why it happened, but it was just true. I always had a terrible time forgiving myself if I failed at anything – if I didn’t meet expectations for anything – whether the expectations were my own or those of others.
However, in 2011, I learned a great truth about myself. I attended the Landmark Forum weekend, a program that I believe is designed to help us tell ourselves the truth. I learned of the concept that there are things we believe are facts or constraints, but in reality, they may only be stories we have told ourselves. Among other transformational “breakthroughs” in learning for me over that weekend, I came to realize that perfectionism was not something that was physiological – it was not hard wired into me – it was actually just a story that I had told myself. I realized that I didn’t have to be a perfectionist at all, and I could be free from the shackles of this belief.
For the past three years, I have found that this realization has made me so much more able to accept, even celebrate, my own imperfections. Don’t get me wrong, I still fall off the wagon often as the perfectionism “belief” has run pretty deep in my life forever, but the freedom that even partial success creates is pretty darned extraordinary. Really, you ought to try it for yourself.
Now, I’m sure that you can relate in some ways to this experience. However, this learning breakthrough has led to another epiphany that has really helped me understand the world.
You see, I realized that many of the people in my life that are the most inspiring and impressive are people who are the most free to be themselves. They are comfortable enough with themselves to laugh at their mistakes and their shortcomings, to be so authentic that our own guard can come down and we can feel better about being ourselves as well.
Take a minute to think about people in your life that you see in this way…
- Now, you have to admit, that person or those people are pretty inspiring, aren’t they?
- Aren’t those people that you look forward to seeing and always enjoy time spent with them?
Well, I admit it, it still gets to me when I make a mistake (like a typo in a message like this one), but I feel that I’m on the road to greater freedom from the kind of self-terrorism that had always seemed inevitable.
Let’s all look forward to more opportunities to see the truth in our lives and to allow ourselves the kind of freedom of authenticity that denying perfectionism can provide.
Thanks for sharing time with me; as always, I welcome your feedback. Please feel free to pass this message along to others who may find value.
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I believe creating relationships that truly fit makes a big difference in the world