On Halloween morning this year, I considered whether or not I should wear a costume to my Zumba class.
At first, it seemed like an inconsequential decision.
Wear one, don't wear one, who really cares, right??!!
But as the day transpired, I realized there were a couple of things that did feel important about my eventual decision to don a little devil outfit and head to class.
Check out this Bustle piece about common thoughts that can have a negative impact on your well being. It includes examples from therapists, including yours truly.
If you recognize any of these, or struggle with toxic thoughts that aren't on this list, you are not alone! We all think thoughts from time to time that can cause us harm.
In a previous post, I talked about how fear of others’ judgement can get in the way of enjoying the present moment.
That piece also touched on how judging others can be a protective strategy, an attempt to keep ourselves from looking at things that feel scary or shameful. Judgement can also be a way of trying to make ourselves less vulnerable so that, theoretically, we can't be let down or rejected.
When we judge others, we create a barrier which makes it difficult to experience the connection we so desperately crave.
Very often we turn that judgement around to ourselves.
At times, self-judgment can be another kind of protective strategy: if I criticize myself before others do, I can’t be hurt.*
*Note: This does not actually work.
After working with people for many years, certain universal truths began to reveal themselves.
We all long for connection.
We all long to be seen, understood, loved and accepted.
And: We are terrified these things won't ever happen.
We feel ashamed. We feel lonely. We feel afraid.
We compare ourselves and our lives to others and we rarely measure up.
When welcoming new people to class, my Zumba teacher often tells them not to worry about what other people are thinking.
"No one is watching you. I promise."
Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough - that we should try again. ~Julia Cameron
I have worked with countless people who find themselves in the grips of Perfectionism.
I love helping them learn to accept themselves as they are and embrace “good enough.” I love witnessing them discover how this allows them to live more fully, freely, and authentically. It’s exciting, nourishing, and inspiring work.
But it can be hard to make this shift. It takes practice. And like every other bad habit we try to kick, there is the inevitable relapse. I know this because I have lived it.
fara tucker, lcsw
therapist~consultant~teacher in Portland, Oregon