Imagine, as you’re working on your goals, that pessimism is telling you your efforts are in vain. It may even be telling you that you’re not good enough or smart enough.
Just give up, it whispers.
Over time, this negative self-talk erodes at the foundation of self-love that you’ve built for yourself.
Why Optimism Can Be the Best Cure for Getting Your Resolutions Back on Track
Cultivating the mindset of optimism may be challenging. Yet, it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Those who are optimistic are more likely to…
Have improved cardiovascular health
Have stronger immune functions
Experience less stress
Optimism has even been linked to increased longevity for those diagnosed with chronic diseases, according to Psychology Today. Optimistic people are also more likely to experience joy, gratitude, life satisfaction, and confidence.
Optimism is also one of the best ways to express self-love.
Because becoming the woman you want to be and manifesting the life you desire requires you to believe it can happen. Optimism is that belief.
Coming up are three tips for nurturing optimism and believing that what you desire is entirely within your reach.
How to Erase Self-Doubt and Use Optimism to Fulfill Your Resolutions
#1 If you’re in a negative thought loop, get out.
You’re working on another resolution? Why? You’re a failure!
Slipping into a negative thought loop can be easy. Getting out can take practice.
However, thoughts are just thoughts. They’re not necessarily grounded in fact or reality. And your thoughts can tend to create drama.
Noticing when you’re in a negative thought loop is the first step to getting out.
When you experience those negative thoughts, pause.
Become an observer. Pay attention to your racing thoughts.
Then ask yourself, is this the truth? Is it the reality of the situation?
Often, your thoughts offer a distorted version of your true emotions and reality.
When you become aware, you become more conscious about what is so. And when you become more conscious, you see what’s fact and what’s a story that you made up in your head.
Adversity can’t always be avoided. And there are times when you might feel like you’re being swept away by it — powerless to change what’s happening.
While there are some things beyond your power — the pandemic, for example — these situations can hold a message for you.
You can find meaning in them.
There is something you can learn from even your most daunting challenges. They become sources of wisdom and empowerment. Instead of feeling like a victim of your circumstances, you have the power to lead a meaningful life rich in purpose.
Think of a struggle you recently experienced.
How did you react?
What meaning could it hold for you?
It may not be obvious at first. You may need to spend some time reflecting.
Even last year’s craziness offers nuggets of wisdom.
Isolation taught us about the value of relationships. The pandemic reminded us of our mortality and the importance of maintaining our health. The sudden changes encouraged us to adapt and be resilient.
You may not see it immediately, yet there’s almost always a lesson.
#3 Start a daily gratitude journal
Your mind seems to naturally find what’s wrong in your life. Seeing the positive is not necessarily as obvious.
A daily gratitude journal trains your mind to look for what’s RIGHT in your life, even when it feels like things are going awry.
Here’s what you can do…
Find a journal and a pen (or download a daily gratitude app) and follow these steps:
Think of three things that make you happy
Next to each thing, write why it makes you happy.
Say it aloud.
Here are some examples of what you might say:
I am grateful for my spouse because he provides me with love, support, and compassion.
I am grateful for my home because it protects my family and me and keeps us warm.
I am grateful for my body because it helps me do the things I love to do each day.
To kickstart this gratitude habit, name something you’re grateful for and why in the comments below! I’ll start… I’m grateful for my sister because she is loving, kind, funny, and supportive.
Feeling Optimism for the Future is Within YOUR Power
You’ve made it through one month and still have the rest of the year to look forward to, with so many opportunities to seize, memories to create, and joy to experience.
If you’re uncertain about the future, you’re not alone. Yet, keep in mind that you proved in 2020 that you have the courage and resilience to face whatever comes your way.
You will still likely encounter self-doubt or pessimism as you work on your resolutions. Now, you can lean on these tips when pessimism weighs you down. Because feeling pessimistic is normal… but staying pessimistic is a choice you make.
And if you’re not already part of my online community, click here to sign up and make sure you’re the first to know when there’s a new semi-monthly blog, free gift, program, and other helpful tips for how to be the master of your own well-being and enhance your existence in all areas of your life… from relationships, work, and finances to family, health, and quality of life.
What do you think of when you hear the words “white privilege”?
They make some people shift uncomfortably in their seats. I think this is because it doesn’t get discussed enough.
In this social climate, following the recent tragedies of racial injustice — George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor — it’s time to unpack white privilege.
It’s important to not only understand what white privilege is but also how you can use it as a resource in the stand for equality and justice.
What Is White Privilege?
White privilege is defined as “institutional and cultural preferential treatment and exemption from racial and national oppression” for white people (Racial Equality Tools).
Unfortunately, in a society as free as ours, racism still exists. People of color experience prejudice that white people don’t. And it’s black people, like Tamir Rice, Atatiana Jefferson, and Eric Garner, who have suffered from racial discrimination.
As a white person with white privilege, I move through the world differently and in many ways unhindered as compared to a person of color.
Examples of White Privilege (You May Not Know About)
White privilege exists in ways you may never have realized before. It exists in seemingly minor and mundane things:
Finding makeup in your skin tone
Finding hair products for your hair texture
Reading books and watching movies with characters that share your life experience.
White privilege can also determine how people perceive you — judgment based entirely on the color of your skin. I can walk around my neighborhood without people thinking I don’t belong. When a police officer pulls me over, I don’t immediately fear for my life. I have the privilege of carrying on with my day without thinking about how people will perceive me because of my skin tone.
But what if you’re Black?
Shola Richard, a workplace civility activist, explains how he always brings his daughter and dog when walking around his neighborhood. When people see him, he’s just like any other “loving dad and pet owner.”
But everything changes when he’s alone. Instead, people see him as an “athletically-built black man in a cloth mask who is walking around in a place where he doesn’t belong.”
We see instances of white privilege every day, yet some white people close their eyes.
“White privilege is not the assumption that everything a white person has accomplished is unearned … Instead, white privilege should be viewed as a built-in advantage, separate from one’s level of income or effort.”
Built-in advantages, like employers choosing a resume with a more white-sounding name or being approved for a home loan because you come from a “white neighborhood.”
White privilege can be difficult to digest. You probably feel ashamed or guilty.
But what if you can turn that shame into determination? What if you can use white privilege as a resource — a resource to help you stand for equality and compassion? What if your white privilege can help you create the positive change you want to see in your community?
This is how I do it.
How I Use my White Privilege to Stand for Racial Equality
I Call Out Injustice When I See It
When I see tragic headlines, like the horrific murder of Trayvon Martin, I call it out.
I do my research. I talk about it with my family. I share it with my friends across social media.
We must shine a light on injustice and stand for positive change and accountability.
We have a voice and our voice has power.
Use your voice to raise awareness and stand for equality.
I Teach Love and Compassion
I can never fully empathize with the hardships that a person of color experiences. But this inability to fully empathize does not mean I should do nothing.
What I can do is use my platform to teach self-love and self-compassion. Because your circle of influence starts with you. When you learn how to love yourself and be compassionate to yourself, you can slowly push that circle outward.
You have more power to help others.
You have more space in your mind and heart to lift other people.
You can take that compassion and love for yourself and share it with others.
And in these times of social unrest, we need compassion more than ever because positive change is rooted in kindness and a willingness to help others.
I Empower YOU So You Can Empower Others
In my articles, I often talk about self-care. And I do my best to address women who are busy professionals and entrepreneurs.
But when we neglect our health, everything collapses. When women are burned out, unfulfilled, and unhappy, society declines.
That’s why I use the various experiences and knowledge I’ve accumulated to empower you through self-care. Because self-care is what encourages you to be:
I want you to feel powerful so that you can make beautiful changes in your own life and have the strength and resources to create positive change in other peoples’ lives.
I empower you so that you can empower others.
In the comments below, use your voice now to share one thing you’re doing to create positive change in your own life and/or the lives of others.
Become an Ally
Spreading awareness about racial equality starts with becoming aware yourself. Begin with educating yourself about racial equality and anti-racism. After you do this, you can then learn how to use your resources to spread equality and compassion.
And if you’re called to be an activist, you can use your white privilege to your advantage as you ally with those who suffer from racial prejudice and discrimination.
Also, sign up for my email listto receive valuable and actionable tips on self-care and living your best life — because creating positive change in other people’s lives starts with how you treat yourself.
Managing your energy is a lot like managing your finances.
If you want to be in good financial health, learn how to budget your money. If you want to do the things you desire, learn how to manage your energy.
But now that you’re in quarantine, it’s so easy to be wasteful with your energy.
Hitting the snooze on your alarm five times. Scrolling on your phone throughout the day. Staying awake past midnight. Watching TV as a couch potato, instead of exercising.
We’re experiencing a new phenomenon where coronavirus-related stress is affecting our energy and motivation.
Behavioral health therapist Dr. Jane Pernotto Ehrman calls it coronavirus quarantine fatigue. “This kind of fatigue drains our motivation,” she says, “We just want to go lie down on the couch and do nothing. Because of these difficult situations, we’re in a kind of shock and we don’t know what to do.”
Being stuck at home makes you more vulnerable to these energy sappers. And although they may seem minor, they can snowball into a serious problem.
Because if you don’t get a handle on it, you’ll encounter more than a dip in your energy and productivity. You’ll experience:
Poor energy management keeps you from creating and living the life you want. Last week, we learned how self-care can boost your energy. Now, I’ll show you how to budget your energy levels with a few productivity tips.
(And yes, all these tips can be done at home!)
Ready? Let’s begin.
How to Manage Your Energy Using These 4 Productivity Tips
#1 Master Your Environment
Ever tried focusing when your desk is in shambles? How can you work when piles of paperwork and unwashed mugs sit on a light coating of dust?
It’s more than distracting. It’s inefficient.
Each time you look for an unfiled document, you lose energy.
Each time an unwashed mug grabs your attention, you lose energy.
Each time you have to shuffle your clutter around, you lose energy.
Don’t let unnecessary clutter sap your focus, energy, and creativity.
Before you sit down to work, take a few minutes to declutter your space. If you’re now working from home due to coronavirus, a dedicated workspace that is clutter-free is even more critical to preserving your focus. When your space is free from distracting elements, you can better focus on the task at hand.
#2 Understand Your Peaks and Dips
Ever notice how at certain times of the day, you’re ready to conquer the world? And then at other times, you’re ready for a power nap?
That’s because your energy levels fluctuate throughout the day — understanding how they rise and fall is key to optimizing your energy. You can do this by listening to your circadian rhythm.
“Your circadian rhythm,” according to the National Sleep Organization, “is basically a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals.”
Everybody’s circadian rhythm is different. It’s why early birds feel most productive in the morning and night owls work better during the evening.
Understanding your circadian rhythm helps you learn how to manage your energy levels throughout the day. You’ll want to save your cognitively demanding tasks, like writing or planning, for when your energy is highest. Similarly, you’ll want to save your less demanding tasks, like answering emails, for when your energy dips.
What does your circadian rhythm look like? How can you use it to structure your workday for maximum energy and productivity?
#3 Clean Up Attention Residue
If you still believe that multitasking is efficient, think again. Studies show that multitasking is actually wasteful with your energy and productivity.
Dr. Sophie Leroy observed that each time you switch between tasks, your focus experiences a type of lag. “This is what I call Attention Residue,” she says, “when part of our attention is focused on another task instead of being fully devoted to the current task that needs to be performed.”
Let’s look at an example.
You’re working on a project, but you’re notified of a new email. You check it out but reread it a few times because your mind is still stuck on the project you were just working on. After you respond to the email, you return to your project. You take a few moments, however, to figure out where you left off and your next step before getting started.
This is just one example. If you’re transitioning from working in the office to working at home, you’re exposed to even more distractions — laundry, dishes, and children just to name a few. Switching back and forth between tasks is often tempting but it wastes bits of your energy. To help you clean up attention residue, use task batching and time blocking.
Task batching is when you group similar tasks, like answering emails or editing a paper. Time blocking is when you dedicate a slot in your calendar to complete a specific task.
These strategies will help you be more mindful of how you’re spending your energy and where you’re directing your focus.
#4 Start Outsourcing or Delegating
Here’s the reality: there’s no way you can do everything yourself.
Your time and energy are limited. But that shouldn’t discourage you from getting your priorities completed. Instead of doing everything yourself, start relying on others.
Outsourcing or delegating your responsibilities is an efficient way to manage your energy while getting things done.
If you’re a business owner, there are several business operations you can outsource:
Outsourcing these processes frees up your time and energy for things that you enjoy, like serving your clients or business development.
You can even delegate or outsource at home. Your spouse and children can help out with the household chores. Or instead, you can hire a housekeeper to tidy your home while you’re at work or a cleaning service to come in periodically.
Your energy levels are finite. But when you start outsourcing, you tap into the energy pools of other people. This neat productivity tip gets your priorities done without overextending yourself!
Productivity is Only One Part of the Equation
As I mentioned above, this article is part two of a two-part series on energy optimization. (Link to Part one at bottom of article.) The productivity tips I shared help you better utilize your energy. But productivity tips do little when your energy baseline is low from exhaustion and stress.
Productivity is only one of two keys to optimizing your energy. The other key is self-care.
As you work on better managing your energy, remember to take care of your body. Regular self-care can expand your energy baseline, improve your mood, and protect you from coronavirus quarantine fatigue.
To help you build self-care into your daily routine, take advantage of my “From Burnout To Balance: A Simple 10-Minute Daily Self-Care Practice.”
This practice has been shown to:
Increase mindfulness, well-being, self-confidence, and personal power
Increase your ability to concentrate
Cultivate a greater resilience to stress, a positive mindset, and a sense of hopefulness and calm
Decrease stress and stress-related symptoms like frustration, mood swings, feelings of overwhelm or lack of control, anxiety, depression, low energy, headaches, body aches and pains, muscle tension, chest pain and rapid heartbeat, insomnia, and frequent colds and infections
I have been working from home for as long as I can remember – at least 30 years! When COVID-19 forced most of the world to stay home or work from home, it didn’t change this for me.
What the appearance of COVID-19 did change for me is that I began to feel so tired all the time. I went to sleep earlier and got up later, thinking I was pushing myself too much. However, the more I slept, the more I felt that I needed to sleep. I didn’t feel ill or anxious in any way, therefore I was uncertain as to what was happening. And I was experiencing pain that periodically shifted from one location in my body to another.
I needed an answer to this unexplained fatigue and fast!
Seeking Help to Heal From My Unexplained Fatigue
So, I had a healing session with a colleague. Through that experience I got in touch with how I was taking on other people’s stuff and it was manifesting as physical sensations and pain. My colleague helped with some healing, but it was still there. As an empath, at times I can feel what others are experiencing emotionally. What was odd about this was that I didn’t feel any angst on an emotional level, yet there it was in physical form. This was the first time I was aware of this happening.
For the past couple of years I’ve been using some practices that empower me to help myself. These come from Access Consciousness, an organization known worldwide for creating transformational life changing tools and processes to empower people to know what they know.
As a result of this recent empathic experience, my coach reminded me of an Access tool called “Who Does This Belong To” that allows me to distinguish between and release unwanted thoughts, feelings, and emotions that are not mine. This tool is simple and easy, so I began practicing it in my daily life. And it has made all the difference for me. No more pain! No more unexplained fatigue!
I was so glad that I had finally asked for support. It is so important in these challenging times to ask for and to receive support from others, because it could be just what we need.
I realized that I had this incredible experience right now because living in the midst of a pandemic, emotions are amplified with heightened fear, heightened contraction, and heightened anxiety. And I wonder how many other women have been having similar experiences without being aware that they are taking on other people’s stuff.
Because an empath is someone who is so highly aware of the emotions of those around them, that they actually feel those emotions themselves. Empaths are intensely aware of others, their pain, and what they need emotionally.
This is the number one trait of an empath. No matter what someone else near them is feeling, even if they aren’t showing it, empaths are likely to pick up on it immediately, actually feeling the emotion as if it were their own, like they were a sponge.
But it’s not just emotions. According to Dr. Judith Orloff, author of The Empath’s Survival Guide, empaths can feel physical pain, too — and can often sense someone’s intentions or where they’re coming from.
Have you been so busy that you haven’t had time to even acknowledge the physical, mental and/or emotional experiences and sensations you are having? If so, right now is a great time to pay attention to what’s going on in your body. And then get really present to that.
According to Dain Heer, co-creator of Access Consciousness, “98% of your thoughts, feelings and emotions actually don’t belong to you.”
If you’ve been dealing with greater than usual fatigue or feel that you may be picking up on the emotional, physical or mental angst of those around you, check in with yourself and ask, “What is mine?” and “What am I taking on from others?”
Then try the Access Consciousness tool called “Who Does This Belong To” that worked so well for me.
Just ask, “Who does this belong to?”
If you feel lighter, then it’s not yours.
If it’s not yours, say “I return this to sender with consciousness attached.”
Do this whenever you feel emotional, physical or mental sensations and you’ll feel much lighter immediately.
For more context around this, click here to see it explained by Dr. Dain Heer, co-creator of Access Consciousness.
You may find, after asking, “Who does this belong to?”, that the thought, feeling, or emotion does belong to you. If so, now more than ever it’s important to really get curious, to slow down, to check in with your body, and to ask questions.
Here are some questions that you can ask yourself:
“What am I feeling?”
“Where in my body am I feeling it?”
“Is this real?” (This is helpful for times when you place a meaning on something, which may not be true. This question keeps you from holding on to uncomfortable emotions over something that isn’t so.)
“What is this telling me?” (When you ask your body this question, it may respond with a word, a phrase, an image, a sensation…)
“What does my body need from me?” (This question may get a similar response from your body as the previous question)
It can also be helpful to journal these questions, taking note of the responses you get and the actions you will take next. When you slow down and tune in this way, you are able to connect with your amazing body wisdom and get in touch with what your body needs from you.
I check in with myself daily. At times I forget, like when life gets busy. However, I have a way of reminding myself with a daily alarm. As an empath, it’s important to recognize my sponge-like nature. And it’s important to squeeze out the sponge every day! So instead of allowing it to detract from my life and my clients, I can use it in ways that contribute.
Practices like “Who Does This Belong To” and body check-ins are just a couple of the tools I work with. My vast coaching toolkit is a great support to my clients.
Although these tools are a great start to working with unexplained fatigue, anxiety, overwhelm and other symptoms, sometimes, more support is required.
If you’re ready to get out of overwhelm so that you can thrive during this time, I’d love to help you. This week I have two spaces available for a complimentary “Overcoming Overwhelm” Discovery session.
In this 60-minute consultation you’ll:
Reveal a clear and compelling vision of what else is possible for your life when you no longer have so much on your plate and are enjoying your life again
Get simple and practical tips for how to break free from your symptoms of overwhelm
Tap into greater energy and inspiration
Explore how having a partner on your journey will provide a shortcut to all that you desire.
Everywhere you look, you can learn new ways to practice self-care — books, blogs, videos, podcasts. You’ll find catchy headlines like…
10 Ways to Take Care of Yourself
5 Self-Care Tips That Will Revolutionize Your Life
20 Daily Habits to Upgrade Your Self-Care Routine
Self-care is trending, and for good reason. It helps you stay grounded, empowered, and most importantly — free from signs of burnout.
However, the media is skewing our perception of self-care. What comes to mind when you hear the word “self-care?” You might think of spas, scented bubble baths, or a shopping spree.
The media offers only a limited version of self-care. There’s so much more to learn about what self-care really means.
The Truth: What Self-Care Really Means
You might believe that self-care is an indulgence — eating that extra red velvet cupcake, blowing your money on that new makeup palette, or staying out late to socialize.
More often, this is treating yourself rather than practicing self-care. Self-care is about respecting your mind and body. It’s more than rest and relaxation. It’s also challenging yourself to grow into the person you want to become. It’s about setting personal goals and achieving them.
While self-care can be enjoyable — a relaxing massage or sugary treat — it can also be difficult and uncomfortable.
Self-Care Is Not Always Pretty or Fun
Self-care can be unglamorous. Sometimes, it can be downright scary.
It might test your limits. It may cause discomfort. But that’s sometimes necessary if you want to respect your body and achieve your goals.
Yes, self-care might look like a deep-tissue massage after a stressful work week. But it can also look like:
Getting honest with yourself about your finances by creating a budget
Having a challenging conversation with your significant other because you’re unhappy
Letting go of a toxic friend because their negativity is affecting your well-being
Heading to the gym, despite wanting to lounge at home
Seeing a therapist to unearth your suppressed emotions and insecurities
Some of these situations nudge you to travel outside your comfort zone. You may want to retreat and hide from the world.
But, you see…
That’s the truth about self-care. It’s the uncomfortable things you choose to do that help you to grow.
How to Implement Real Self-Care In Your Life
You might still be grappling with this new definition of self-care. It may be different from anything you’ve read before. To help you come to terms with this revelation and apply it in your life, I propose the following tips:
#1 Make Real Self-Care Non-Negotiable
Do you want to know the secret to making self-care stick — even the activities you don’t like doing?
Make it a daily habit.
Self-care isn’t something you do when you feel like it. It isn’t like scheduling that two-week vacation each year.
It’s a daily commitment.
It means doing both the things you want to do and the things that you don’t want to do every day.
Self-care is indulging in a scented salt bath and walking 10,000 steps. It’s dressing up to feel beautiful and going to bed on time for a restful night’s sleep.
Most importantly, self-care is understanding the relationship between small habits and life-changing results over time. However, this positive shift happens only when self-care is non-negotiable in your daily life.
#2 Get Clear On Your Values
Instead of thinking of self-care as a list of things to check off, try seeing it as a lifestyle that aligns with your values.
Take a moment to pause and reflect on your values.
If your current values are focused on health, how would that affect how you practice self-care? Yoga and resistance training would make sense, but indulging in a decadent slice of chocolate cake would not.
What if one of your values is around being an empowered career woman? Self-care can look like attending a conference to improve your skills. Staying out late and compromising your sleep, however, would likely conflict with this value.
Real self-care is different for each woman. Your values might be different from mine. What’s important is that you identify what your values are and how you can cater your habits to manifesting them.
#3 Use Self-Care as a Compass, Not an Escape
Have you ever skipped a workout and treated yourself to a night in with Netflix and pizza instead? Or put off working on a project because you felt that you deserved to grab drinks with your friends?
If you do this routinely, you might be using self-care as an escape — an excuse to avoid your responsibilities.
This is not self-care. This is avoidance and procrastination… and can actually cause more stress than relief.
Rather, self-care activities align with the life you’re hoping to achieve. If you want to be more healthy and energetic, then exercise will serve you well. If you want to get that promotion at work, then staying productive without procrastinating aligns with that goal.
Self-care is like a compass — the self-care habits you build will lead you to your destination.
Share below the one thing that you know you need to do. Then let me know, is this the day you’ll take action on it?
Remember what I mentioned earlier about self-care being uncomfortable?
Here’s a question I have for you: Do you love yourself?
If you answered no, you’re not alone. Many women struggle with insecurities and low self-esteem. You might even feel that you’re undeserving of love from yourself.
But here’s the thing.
Self-care is both physical and emotional. You can apply a face mask to achieve glowing skin, but that does little to radiate genuine love towards yourself.
When you look in the mirror, I want you to love the woman looking back at you. To help manifest this in your reality, sign up for my free From Burnout to Balance 7-Day Self-Love Challenge.
During these 7 days, we’ll look at what’s really going on beneath the signs of burnout and I’ll give you simple strategies for how to turn things around so you can get on the path towards balance and enjoying your life (again).
If you’re ready to break out of the burnout cycle and desire to be…
Relaxed and confident, knowing you’re tending to the most important priorities
“Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order.” – Anne Wilson Schaef
Are you the queen of perfectionism?
People could hardly stand to be around me. I was unbearable. Everything had to be done the way I did it, or it wasn’t done correctly.
But if you’re pitying the person on the receiving end of my perfectionism, know that I was harder on myself than anyone else. Everything had to be perfect, so I could never be satisfied with anything I did. Because, let’s face it, there’s no such thing as perfection.
As perfectionism took its toll on my health and well-being, I realized I needed to be okay with “good enough.” So I began to catch myself whenever I was being a perfectionist (which was almost all the time). I would stop what I was doing and say, “It’s okay if it’s good enough.”
At first I would find myself clenching my teeth while I declared, “Okay, it’s good enough! I’m done.” I would make myself move on, even when it was very challenging. But over time I relaxed and stopped clenching my teeth.
Still, there was a catch.
Just When I Thought I’d Moved Beyond Perfectionism, Guess What Happened?
After many years of “good enough”, I had gotten pretty good at catching any perfectionistic tendencies before they caused trouble. And then, I started dating my now-husband, Dean. He began to visit me in South Florida from his home in New York State. Maybe you can guess what happened!
From what I recall, it started with the dishwasher. Well, it’s my dishwasher so, of course, I would know the only right way to arrange the dishes in it. And my husband is a wonderful man, so he would load the dishwasher for me.
One day I opened the dishwasher to put something in. To my horror, it was in complete disarray. Things that should have been in the bottom rack were on the top, and vice versa. The big plates were blocking the water access, and… well, I could go on and on.
I hustled into the living room and said to Dean, “Can you come into the kitchen so I can show you how to load the dishwasher.” He just looked at me kind of amused. “Honey, I know how to load a dishwasher,” he said. To which I responded, “I believe that you know how to load your dishwasher, but this is my dishwasher, and I need to show you a few things.”
When he said calmly, “You know, it doesn’t have to be perfect,” that was when it hit me that my perfectionism had reared its ugly head. I paused for a moment. Then I laughed. “Okay!” I said, “Then can I show you how it can be good enough?”
We had a good laugh over that.
Luckily, in this situation, we were both able to have a sense of humor, so it actually brought us closer together instead of driving us apart.
Yet you probably know that the long-term results of rampant perfectionism aren’t nearly so benign.
Why Chronic Perfectionism Can Put You In Full-Blown Burnout
The impact of perfectionism is that you are never satisfied. Your energy is drained; you feel overwhelmed, like you’ll never catch up; you’re forgetful and have a hard time focusing; you have difficulty sleeping; and you lose your sense of enjoyment in life.
As well, some of the largest costs associated with perfectionism may be in terms of poor health. A longitudinal study following a sample of Canadians over 6.5 years showed that perfectionism predicted earlier mortality! This finding held even after controlling for other health risk factors such as pessimism and low conscientiousness.
Yes, perfectionism can cause you to die sooner than you would if you let go of it.
But for most of us, unrelenting perfectionism can be a recipe for chronic stress – a major contributor to burnout.
Let’s take a look at what’s going on beneath the veneer of perfectionism.
What’s Under The Mask Of Perfectionism
Underlying perfectionism is the fear that you’re not lovable if you make a mistake.
You feel that you won’t be or can’t be loved if you’re not perfect.
Most of us developed this belief early in our childhood; long before we were ever conscious of it. By the time you’re an adult, perfectionism is deeply etched into your being and taking a toll on your health and happiness.
You may not be satisfied with anything you do, convinced that no matter how hard you try it just won’t be good enough. You may also fear that someone will agree with you. The irony is that you will find whatever you’re looking for. So if you look for imperfections and believe they’re there, you’re going to find them.
Maybe you fear making a mistake. And when you do (because we’re human and we all make mistakes), you’re convinced you’re unlovable. You tell yourself you’re dumb; a fool; an idiot – leading you to feel even more unworthy of love, which causes you to stop caring for yourself. And so you drive your self-worth into the ground in a spiral of self-loathing.
Can you see how insidious this belief is?
Now let’s take a look at the remedy.
The Antidote To Perfectionism
Since Wikipedia defines perfectionism as “strain[ing] compulsively and unceasingly toward unobtainable goals, and measur[ing] … self-worth by productivity and accomplishment,” you can see how you unwittingly tank your feeling of self-worth when you don’t measure up.
And lack of self-worth means you’re not loving yourself. You can’t love what you don’t value.
Thus, the remedy to perfectionism and its accompanying feeling of being unlovable is surprisingly simple, yet powerful:
Love and care for yourself no matter what.
Here are examples of what I mean:
Schedule time for self-care such as soaking in a hot bath, reading your favorite book, or getting a massage
Exercise daily; even a 10-minute walk will support your well-being
Eat nutritious food
Establish a practice of saying affirmations daily
Here’s a powerful affirmation that’s appropriate to perfectionism:
“I give up being perfect for being authentic. All parts of me are lovable, and it’s safe to share them. Authenticity is the key to genuine connection with myself and others.”
Through the years, I’ve coached many clients who were perfectionists. By focusing on self-love and self-care, they’ve been able to release the need to be perfect and the seriousness of purpose that accompanies it. This has allowed them to embrace fun, joy, and authenticity more often and with greater ease.
I’ve put together a list of 23 of My Favorite Self-Care Activities That Take Less Than 15 Minutes for you to refer to as you focus on self-love and self-care. Sign up here to receive this gift right away!
It’s Time To Let Go Of Your Perfectionism
You know perfectionism can wreck your health, put you into full-blown burnout, and rob you of the joy that’s your birthright.
It’s time to let it go. For your sake, as well as for the sake of people who love you and care about you.
As well, trust me when I say that people actually find you more lovable when you screw things up! When you’re authentically imperfect, you invoke your humanity. Others like to see that you too are human, because, let’s face it, it’s hard to be around a perfect person all the time.
I understand that letting go of your perfectionism may seem daunting. But I also know when you make a conscious commitment to yourself, your life will dramatically improve.
If you desire to be supported by me in your letting go, I encourage you to join my free From Burnout to Balance 7-Day Self-Love Challenge.
During these 7 days, we’ll look at what’s really going on beneath the signs of burnout. I’ll give you simple strategies for how to turn things around so you can get on the path towards balance and enjoying your life again…
If you’re ready to break out of the burnout cycle and desire to be…
Relaxed and confident, knowing you’re tending to the most important priorities
As an International Speaker, Certified Life Coach, Spiritual Counselor, and Ordained Minister with 3 decades of experience researching personal growth and how we heal from within, I have healed myself from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and burnout. My proven strategies help women overcome overwhelm and break free from the burnout cycle. I then partner with them as they reclaim their passion and create the life they desire. Having experienced first-hand the challenges of finding physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance, I believe that life is meant to be enjoyed, not endured!!!