Day 276/366 days Towards Self-Mastery.
When I think about adverse childhood experiences and their long term effects, I think about the failure of parents to attune with their children. To find that place of knowing their children as personalities in their own right with wants and needs that are unique to them.
We are so fortunate to have the work of Bowlby now around attachment theory to help parents understand what attunement means. It's also extremely helpful in understanding cognitive, physical, and mental issues in later life that impact our relationships and our ability to live fully and wholly.
When a child is reaching to attach and is unable to achieve that sought after connection that makes the world a safe place, they will begin searching for ways to find favour with that one primary caregiver. A family system that has a strong ethos of hard work, struggle and striving may very well set high expectations that will only ever be met briefly through perfectionism.
However the striving for perfectionism never ends, as that moment of bliss experienced with those brief moments of recognition and acknowledgement act as nourishment, drops of nectar for the those starving for connection.
Perfectionism becomes an embedded practice.
Overcoming the drive for perfection in my life was supported by understanding its origins. When I was finally able to breathe, to allow myself to be imperfect, to be good enough, it came as an enormous relief.
To this day I enjoy leaving things undone, imperfect and in some form of disarray. To honour myself I bless that mess with an affirmation, "I LIVE here!" I LIVE HERE.
With perfectionism there is limited life. Life is delayed until recognition is received. I want to live every single moment of my life. Whatever I'm doing, achieving, learning, I want to live it fully.
Whether I'm alchemising a meal from scratch, finishing off some work in the garden, cleaning my home or spending days in meditation. Good enough is GOOD ENOUGH. It is beautifully human to be good enough.
Can you trace the origins of perfectionism to their source? Can you see how they show up in your every day? Are you able to feel how they rob you of your life?
We are immersed in a world of marketing that presents us with well crafted images and messages of perfection every single day, assembled by well-paid experts.
Sarah suggests to use a simple mantra each time we feel ourselves being sucked into the vortex of comparison, "you are not real, you do not exist". I love this idea. You can repeat it anywhere and begin to remind yourself that what is real is right in front of you. In the supermarket aisles, walking in the street, on the beaches on Sunday you will see real people living real lives.
At work, find a way to handle those times of imperfection. I discovered that it was far more connecting and affirming to own my mistakes and work out a repair plan than to strive for perfection and wait in fear of reprisal when things didn't go to plan. My team was encouraged to bring me their concerns early so that we could affect the repair together.
Your best effort is good enough. It is an expression of your life force, gifted. It is more than good enough. It is real, it is you, it is unique, it is in the flow of life, it is an expression of living in the moment. For this I am truly grateful.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.