How to Let Go of Your Need to be Perfect and Treat Yourself with Compassion
Each and every person deserves to feel good about themselves. To look in the mirror and wholeheartedly embrace who they are and love everything about what they see. Unfortunately, in a world of constant comparisons, it’s much easier to succumb to self-doubt than it is to stand firm in self-truth.
In fact, many people are more likely to extend compassion to others, even if they are unkind or hurtful rather than nurture themselves. It’s as if their doubt in themselves is fueled by their fear of appearing less than perfect. Deep down, those who are hostile toward themselves feel as if they are less deserving of love and less worthy of compassion simply because they do not live up to or match an assumed ideal. In fact, it’s extremely hard for someone suffering from a lack of confidence to believe that anything about themselves is valuable.
Imagine a well-respected college professor. Her classes fill to the brim every semester and each seat in the lecture hall is occupied when she gives a talk. Rather than take the outward evidence as a sign of success, she instead has an internal dialogue with herself about her students and colleagues realizing she’s a fraud. That her opinions are worthless and that she doesn’t know what she is talking about. She is ashamed that she is representing herself as an expert when inside she feels unworthy of positive attention. Now, to anyone on the outside, she’s a well-acclaimed teacher. But inside she believes what she is presenting is nowhere near good enough to earn any kind of acclaim.
If this story feels familiar to you, you might also be struggling to show yourself compassion.
If you give it some thought, you might realize you hold yourself to impossible standards. You may be a perfectionist with expectations that are impossible to meet. And you might live in constant fear of being authentic and vulnerable for fear of others believing you are less than perfect too.
In reality, you are your own worst critic. When you allow shame to taint how wonderful you are you can find yourself lacking confidence. Believing what your inner critic tells you can lead to a deep sense of insecurity and can make opening up to others extremely difficult. What’s worse, denying the beauty and uniqueness of who you are can keep you stuck in unhealthy patterns and make it so you put yourself in hurtful or even dangerous situations.
The biggest downside to being critical of yourself is that you’re never quite able to stand firm in your truth. To admit you have something significant to offer the people in your world and that your quirks, traits, and imperfections are everything that makes you special. Instead, you’re always left questioning yourself and whether you’re ever going to have pure, meaningful, and connected relationships.
But the truth is, you’re not the only person to sabotage themselves out of insecurity. Many people limit their ability to connect with others out of the fact they don’t believe they are worthy of unconditional love.
Feeling shame robs you of your ability to believe in yourself. However, if you can dig deep enough to ignore your negative thoughts and beliefs, you can start to feel more connected with your true self. When you identify what fuels your inner critic you’ll find the freedom you need to be vulnerable. It is entirely possible to develop more compassion for yourself, to recognize the value you offer the world, and to expect caring and loving relationships in return.
Keep reading to learn how to start showing yourself compassion even when you feel like you don’t deserve it
What it’s Like to Live without Compassion
Your inability to set aside your perfectionism has a detrimental impact on the way you look at yourself. It keeps you stuck in a pattern of criticism and negative thinking and prevents you from developing a sense of self-respect. At the very least listening to your negative beliefs causes you to continue to feel unworthy and unlovable. Living this way makes it impossible to connect with the best parts of yourself, leads you to feel ashamed of your uniqueness and unworthy of happiness.
But what’s worse is the impact perfectionistic tendencies have on your relationships. The simple fact that your shame prevents you from accessing your true self is the same reason it prevents you from developing intimate partnerships. Your belief that you are not good enough as you are makes it especially hard to connect with your loved ones and contributes to a distance within your relationships. Ultimately, living with such a negative feeling about yourself perpetuates the cycle of dissatisfying and unfulfilling relationships.
When You’re Kind to Yourself
Feeling unworthy and believing you need to be perfect in order to earn love from others only serves to keep you stuck in unhealthy patterns. But you have the potential to stop being so critical of yourself. In fact, treating yourself kindly allows you the freedom to be vulnerable and to experience authentic, deep connections with others as well as yourself. By learning to see your imperfections as signs of your uniqueness, you can turn your criticism into acceptance. You’ll also develop a deeper connection to yourself as your mind and your heart will finally be on the same page.
Believing in yourself goes a long way in helping you open up as you won’t constantly be worrying about your inadequacies. Instead, you’ll be able to tune in to your inner-self and connect on a more personal level. You’ll build greater courage to try things outside of your comfort zone and be able to tolerate new experiences and relationships without fear or worry.
This connection goes for your loved ones as well. As you work to free yourself from your inner critic you’ll find the confidence and joy you need to show up in relationships in a more real, authentic way. You will also be able to accept feedback from others as opportunities for improvement rather than disapproval and proof that there is something wrong with you.
Take a look at these next steps to learn what to do to explore what you would like to believe about yourself
How To Embrace Your Flaws and Love Yourself
One of the main reasons you struggle to truly care for yourself is the idea that you don’t deserve to be honored and loved. Your lack of self-compassion is likely the result of criticizing yourself and falling into the trap that your flaws make you less than perfect. It makes sense that these false beliefs have led you to question your worth, but this doesn’t mean you can’t embrace everything that makes you special and unique and start being kind to yourself.
Step One: Acknowledge and Name the Pain you Feel
As you become aware of your thoughts and emotions, you will be able to acknowledge and name them and ultimately feel more in control.
When clients schedule a session at Sunstone Wellness Center we work toward this acknowledgment so that they are better able to manage their pain rather than have the pain manage them. The clients are then able to access their inner truths and have compassion for the pain they feel.
Step Two: Create Distance
Once you are able to acknowledge your painful experiences, you can begin to create distance between you and the burden the pain has had on your life. Try to determine if the negative things you say to yourself deserve to take up space in your mind. Think about what it would be like if you chose to only allow the kind, giving, compassionate beliefs you have about yourself take up precious space.
In session, clients at Sunstone Wellness Center work to look at pain as neither good or bad. When they acknowledge pain for what it is, they can matter of factly let it go. A lot of times we do this by turning their pain into something abstract like a shape, color, sound, texture or smell.
Step Three: Name Three Beliefs you Would like to Believe about yourself
Begin to identify ways of being that you would like to embody more in your own life. Once you have thought about who you would like to be and how you’d like to experience life, you can call upon those beliefs frequently. Especially during times of pain and overwhelming negative self-talk.
Step Four: Use Kind Words to Describe Yourself,
As you move toward living the life you imagine, begin to use a soft, kind voice when you talk to or about yourself. This is an example of being kind and compassionate to yourself and will go a long way toward helping you feel less pressure to be perfect.
When you struggle with giving yourself permission to be self-compassionate, it can be helpful to imagine what you would say to a good friend who is having similar difficulties. By recognizing how you talk to someone you care about, it is easier to notice how much kinder you are to other people. You’ll see that you don’t criticize the person you love and you don’t hold them to some unreachable standards. Instead, you accept them, and care for them, for who they are. You deserve that same loving kindness and compassion.
Step Five: Accept You are Human and are Going to Make Mistakes
Imagine the emotions in your life are like waves. They do not last forever. So if you make a mistake and feel bad about it, you can recognize you are human and help the wave pass.
When you schedule a session at Sunstone Wellness Center, you will see that some of the waves in your life will be smoother than others. Others still will be rough, choppy, harsh, painful, or scary. The key takeaway from therapy at Sunstone Wellness Center will be that acceptance of who you truly are at the core will help you have more realistic expectations of yourself, which will foster more self-compassion.
While overcoming your negative beliefs is no easy task, if you follow a step by step process, you can start to change the way you view yourself. You absolutely can find value in who you are and Sunstone Wellness Center can help.