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Perfectionism: 3 Quick Ways to Lift a Heavy Heart
(perfectionism, weight, self-esteem, advice, tips, confidence, disordered eating, self -consciousness, appearance, overweight, worthless, shame, guilt, frustration, anxiety
At a routine medical check-up, I stepped on the scale. I got a welcome surprise. No, I did not lose weight. I gained… a valuable perspective.
"The number on this scale can only give you your relationship with gravity. That’s it.
The number can’t give you insight into your character, beauty, identity, purpose, possibility, or love.”
SOURCE: Washington University School of Medicine
This sign speaks to more people that those whose scale numbers trigger negative reactions. This message pierces the hearts of all of us who are weighed down by frustration, guilt, fear, embarrassment, shame, despair, failure, unworthiness, annoyance, and disappointment over our imperfections. A self-defeating “perfection mentality” and destructive emotional responses to our imperfections can become buried in our core self.
In a universal sense, on our full scale of self, what we see as or are told and believe to be our flaws are only a fraction of who we are and who we can become. We put more limits on ourselves than we face from the outside.
The message extends beyond size and applies to what we see as (or others tell us are) our personal flaws. Consider our brutal negativity about our own physical attractiveness, achievement, intelligence, education, financial status, clumsiness, lack of talent, choices that backfired, and any area in which we feel “less than our full potential” or “not enough”.
“Perfection only exists until the person comes along who can see our mistake or do it better. “ (P.H. Pickett,1990). There is no “unqualified” perfection. There is an unending cycle of the “perceived perfection of the moment”. Perfection is a distraction and does not exist. Pursuing perfection distracts us from exploring and developing our true selves.
When you feel the heaviness and distraction of your flaws weighing you down, improve your life quickly. Here are 3 ways.
- Write down two small things you do well or like about yourself (being an expert on daisy-picking seriously counts---it is unique). Then add two more to the list which are what others say you do well or like about you. Defeat self-judgment and denial of your own goodness. Appreciate yourself. Build from the positive.
- And for the goal-oriented, choose one positive small thing you can do in under ten minutes to create instant improvement in your life and DO it! Simple ideas include smile at someone, do a quick favor, touch base with a friend or relative, schedule an appointment, or many other small positive actions.
- Soak in this message. Carry a copy and read for a reality check.
Opportunities for instant self-improvement await us in small moments of life.
A Comedian isn’t Funny if the Audience Does Not Laugh
(ridicule, making fun of, bad jokes, insults, teasing, sick humor, just kidding,
Has your spouse, partner, or someone else ever slid in an offensive-to-you zinger about you? So you object and put them on notice that you are hurt. Or are you the one who slides in the funny-to-you zinger? And when the other objects you smugly or defensively claim, “Oh, I was just kidding. you have no sense of humor. “ Has this occurred more than once?
When you recognize or are told that your “joke” was hurtful, do not persist in defending it as “funny”. This disrespects the other’s feelings and takes your emotional intelligence down a few notches. Instead, apologize and take note. Comments are not funny to the other.
There is no necessary right-wrong contradiction when playful intent lands as insult. Intent does not always equal outcome, and both experiences can be true. Clear communication is key; however, there are common patterns of communications that endure for years and become twisted creating a wall of silent bad feelings. Do you recognize patterns in any of your relationships?
1. Misreading: Misreads embarrassed smiles as pleasure or misses body language.
2. Miscuing: Improperly interjects what is personally felt as humor at serious moments.
3. Only teasing: Does not know when to quit and hides behind teasing to express hidden negative feelings.
4. Disrespecting: Ignores another’s sensitivity and need to settle the argument.
5. Expressing a grain of truth: Wants to slide in a zinger and be able to back down ("I’m just kidding"), if it backfires.
- Hinting: Tries indirectly to get the other to stop being offensive.
- Giving up: Fails to continue clarification of personal objections until the other listens and gets it.
- Hiding reactions: Covers up how badly it gets to them.
- Withdrawing: Becomes silent and walks away.
- Expecting mind reading: Thinks the other should know how they feel without telling the other.
Nicknames and jokes (especially during arguments) can fail to be funny to the other person. Humorous intent does not make a joke or prank funny--- a comedian is not funny if the audience does not laugh. When humor bombs, it is a copout to declare that the other person is "too sensitive" or “lacks a sense of humor”.
Frequently, patterns of behavior involving humor, insults, and affection between partners can lead to chronic poor communications. Act right away if your partner puts you on notice that your comments are at their expense. Be smart about the emotions in your relationship. Both of you have emotional rights.
If you continue after being put on notice, you are now consciously offensive. You can no longer legitimately hide behind the humor or affection angle -- -- it is neither funny nor feel-good to the other. Successful communication has two matching sides. No matter what you intend if it lands with a different twist, admit you messed up and if you are the zinger receiver, speak up. Otherwise what you two have here is a failure to communicate. Fix it!
Confront OR Not Confront?
In my years of work with couples, I frequently ran into obstacles to relationship improvement which were self-imposed by at least one member of the couple. Although the “ role-types” varied, one typical attitude illustrated the obstacle.
One would complain that the other was too needy in wanting the relationship changes described, after all, he would insist, “I haven’t changed, YOU have”. The problem was not his behavior it was HER new unmet needs—SHE had changed. He touted his claim as if CHANGE was the kiss of marital death.
Certainly, stability is essential to lasting relationships…but no more so than change is. Mixing it up and personal growth are the roots of change that enliven and enrich a marriage. They are the pillars of “marital rut” reduction.
If you are in a relationship with someone who displays this attitude and offers a similar lament (or maybe it’s YOU?), add more emotional intelligence in your relationship with this tip.