In the world of self-development, as we each adventure towards balance and our best selves it is easy to fall prey to perfectionism, especially when the going gets tough. In our culture what is the first thing we say when someone asks ‘how are you’? Fine, or even better… good. But we are not always good. I have to be authentic here, the more I was growing, somehow the less I felt it was acceptable for me to ever NOT be okay. That is a mindset that I recently discovered was lurking just below the surface for me. It was a completely unconscious belief that had somehow crept in and made a little nest in my unconscious mind.
The non-sense that belief created was that when I experienced something difficult and was having a hard time ‘rising to the challenge’, I found myself judging and even condemning myself. What the *%&#!!!!?!? I do not believe that it isn’t okay to give myself grace, I am not aligned with that type of self-judgement and harsh inner ciriticism… so why was I treating myself this way in the moments I was not feeling OKAY?
That’s when it hit me, yup… time to let go of some more limiting beliefs that are causing me pain and un-necessary suffering. So I got out the mental machete (the loving one made of unicorns and rainbows) and invited myself to gently cut those beliefs away through some powerful questioning… is it really true? Is it okay to not be okay sometimes? If so, how does that look, what can I give myself permission to do, be and experience exactly what and where I am?
Self-care and self-development is not a punishment or a realm where unrealistic expectations should be entertained, or acted upon. We have all heard ‘it’s a process’ or that balance may look different in different seasons of our life. I know I certainly subscribe to that and teach it as well! But what happens when we ‘seem to’ fall off the self-care and self-development wagon, or when life gets ugly, messy and painful for a season and it feels too hard to even show up, crack open our self-development tool kit, use our tools and take care of ourselves as our best selves would? Can it be okay to go through a tough season and simply allow ourselves to do our best… even if our best doesn’t look or feel like any ‘best’ we ever sought to achieve.
During some really dark times in my life, even recent ones, I have struggled with allowing myself to truly be human. Sometimes the grieving process is uncontrollably messy crying. Sometimes finding your way to the next version of yourself after a huge transition is bumpy, it is supposed to be, life is a grand experiment.
Hang a metaphorical ‘under construction’ sign on yourself and give yourself permission to BE IN PROCESS. This stuff takes time. That isn’t an excuse to give up on growth or showing up for yourself to do the deep work. It is acceptance that today’s steps for growth may be very, very limited and that’s okay for today.
Let’s all try to remember (myself included) that you are not broken. You do not need to fix yourself or change yourself in order to be worthy of love & acceptance. Your true self is perfect. It’s a matter of returning to wholeness, balance & alignment through self-development vs. Self-punishment. Be kind to yourself.