With Christmas fast approaching, our attention is often focused getting everything done: attending Christmas functions, finalising our Christmas shopping and planning the perfect Christmas meal. It’s a really special time of year – especially for families with young kids – and given the busy nature of the season, it can be easy to forget that Christmas can also be an incredibly lonely time for some people.
As I drove past the beautiful Christmas lights in my street last night and paused to take in the beauty of the moment, I was reminded that not so long ago, I found myself staring at Christmas lights and feeling quite disconnected from the direction I thought my life would take in my 30’s. After coming home from an amazing holiday last year where I had ticked of some bucket list goals (like seeing Celine Dion and Elton John perform in Las Vegas), I hit a low point – despite having clear goals and a growing business – and I felt extremely flat for no particular reason. This sent me searching for answers about the source of ‘feeling flat’ and I found the answers I was looking for at a wellness retreat in the gorgeous Hunter Valley in Australia.
I met some amazing people at this retreat and one of the coaches I spoke to recommended I check out the work of Dr Brené Brown and in particular, her books and her TED Talk about The Power of Vulnerability.
This TED Talk introduced me to concepts I had heard about but didn’t fully understand – like shame, perfectionism and loving yourself. I was eager to know more and I started reading Dr Brené Brown’s book: The Gifts of Imperfection.
This book clarified something critical for me about what it means to be a perfectionist. I had always prided myself on having high standards, but being a perfectionist is not the same – we become perfectionists because we’ve developed the habit of burying shame and this in turn limits your ability to love yourself. You can have absolute clarity about your goals, but still not experience life to the fullest because of deep feelings of unworthiness.
If you’re feeling like you’re not as happy as you deserve to be or you can relate to the idea of being a perfectionist, I strongly encourage you to read The Gifts of Imperfection – it can provide you with a quick path to healing to boost you through this holiday season.
I had lunch with my friend, Janet, last weekend (who is also the talented creator of the ontofood blog), and Janet reminded me that feeling worthy and loving yourself (and your imperfections) can be distilled into two simple words:
Say these words to yourself every day, especially when you feel low or disappointed about your circumstances. Say these words every time you look at yourself in the mirror and write these words on sticky notes and place them around your home. The key to knowing and believing you are enough is reinforcing this belief through repetition. The more you tell yourself you are enough, the sooner you will believe that you are enough and you will experience a paradigm shift that may manifest itself in the following ways:
- You will stop comparing yourself to others. It’s important to remember that when we compare ourselves to others, we’re comparing what we feel on the inside to what others are displaying on the outside – it’s an unfair and unhealthy comparison made by our inner critic and only serves to reinforce our feelings of unworthiness. When you know you’re enough, you’ll stop making these comparisons.
- You will understand and accept that if people don’t appreciate you for who you are, or they exclude you – that’s their problem. If you have withdrawn over time and specific relationships have fallen away as a result, reach out and make the effort to reconnect if you believe these relationships are worth repairing. If this doesn’t work out, move forward and connect with new people. Remember it’s never too late to step out into the world, make new friends and find your tribe.
- You will stop striving for unattainable levels of perfectionism. Being a perfectionist is a habit that is guaranteed to set you up for recurring cycles of self-sabotage – all under the illusion of believing you simply have higher standards. Once you can recognise perfectionism for what it really is, you’ll learn how to set more realistic standards and accept yourself no matter the outcome.
Experiencing this transformation starts with two simple words: “I’M ENOUGH”.
If you’ve been feeling flat, empower yourself with the knowledge of what it means to be enough and love yourself fully by reading The Gifts of Imperfection. I recommend the Kindle version for instant access and if you love it as much as I did, you’ll also want to buy physical copies for your perfectionist friends!
The greatest gift you can give to yourself this Christmas is to know that you truly are enough – because you are.
Wishing you love and peace for the Christmas season,