I almost titled this blog: “The Self Help Industry May Hate Me For This”. Soon you’ll see why. I constantly have questions running through my mind on those days where I doubt everything. Do you have those days? Questions come while driving to work or in the bread isle: Am I a good dad? Am I doing enough for my kids? Did I really earn my paycheck this week? And a personal favorite of mine, “Should I exercise more? (Or am I totally copping out by walking my dog in the morning and calling it good ).”
Today’s blog question (that is sure to get the self help industry after me) is, what if you are just fine? What if that last “nightmare of a relationship” doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you? What if your abusive childhood doesn’t mean you’re screwed up and your therapy sessions working through PTSD don’t mean you are broken?
What if you are were you need to be, learning what you need to, how you need to, in your own way? What if your best friend’s way is different, but fine too?
All of this, coming from a perfectionist, and a seasoned one at that. I would get down on myself for not volunteering for every sign up sheet that went around at church. I’d feel guilty for spending two hours a day playing tennis instead of mothering for those two hours. I’d feel like I was to blame if my oldest dog wasn’t happy because I brought a new puppy into the family. I could’ve won awards for how hard I was on myself.
A few years ago I came up with this phrase, (its one that I whisper to myself often), “Perfect As Is”. I didn’t even know what that meant despite it coming to me clear as day. I pondered it for years. How could I be perfect if I was 15 lbs over weight? How could I be perfect if I raised my voice at my toddler? And a big one for me, how could I be perfect if I allowed abusive relationships into my life?
We live in a world of shame. We shame others and we shame ourselves. Guilt is remorse, but shame, now thats some potentially dark, depressing and downright damaging stuff.
To cure myself from the shame virus, I remind myself of some simple but powerful truths. Number one being the most ironic: Maybe shame is part of my journey too and it doesn’t have to be fixed today. Other mindset tricks I use are reminding myself that other’s opinions of me don’t change my worth and each minute of our lives can be a fresh start if we choose it to be so.
As I’ve worked on letting go of blame and shame, it’s helped me tremendously in my professional life as a marketer and visual designer. I have not yet met a successful (and happy) marketer, entrepreneur or driven person that hadn’t done at least some inner work in the area of letting go of shame and accepting themselves as they are. At some point to be risky in business, you have to believe in yourself. You learn to quiet those negative whisperings enough to sign that contract, start that new business or ask for that raise.
As we let go of shame, our confidence builds. As our confidence builds we step into our power. As we step into our power, we attract that which we most desire.
And remember, there’s no time limit on how quickly you need to learn. Where you’re at right now is perfect as is.