What’s Behind Perfectionism?
It is very common these days to see articles written on how perfectionism is bad and holds you back from becoming your greatest self. Why it’s due to the fear of not being perfect rising up to stop you!
I’m known to be a perfectionist. Everything I do has to look right, sound right and of course be right and that kind of mindset has indeed held me back in many respects.
I mean who wants to be judged as wrong?
So it made perfect sense to me that I’d want to “grieving correctly”
With Loss Comes Grief
When my dad died, I for the first time experienced the heart wrenching, emotional turmoil and chaos that grieving a loss will bring to your life. I needed to know how to grieve. No one had taught me.
I needed to know that I wouldn’t feel this way forever, so what could I do in the meantime? The kindly psychologist I consulted with shared a few things:
- Everyone’s grief is unique
- You never get over your grief
- It will take as long as it takes
My perfectionist brain couldn’t handle that information
Ok, granted I get it everyone’s grief has to be unique to them – tick
You never get over your grief” that I couldn’t believe was right! I’d feel this way forever?
Being told that it will take as long as it takes certainly wasn’t the answer I was looking for either.
Off I went on my own journey of discovery to find my own answers.
The 3 P’s
Not long into my search, I discovered the 3 P’s, (personalization, permanent, pervasive) by Martin Seligman, a renowned psychologist and this helped me begin to unpack my grief. Positive psychology and learning resilience are the tools Dr. Seligman was teaching us.
Sheryl Sandberg (COO Facebook) would go one to use the 3 P’s in her own healing journey after the death of her husband. She later gave a commencement speech to graduating students on how they could use them to navigate their own challenges.
My perfectionism led me on an amazing journey and 6 years later, I feel comfortable talking not only about my own journey into and out of grieving but I am now helping others become comfortable with their own grief.
So as a recovering perfectionist, I can say – it isn’t always a bad thing just don’t allow it to paralyze you but use it for good!
When Death Happens
Outside the day was filling up with its “normal” that of “getting on with life”. Right now, my life was anything but normal as mum and I left the shelter of the hospital to cross the parking lot toward the car. Sadly, once in the vehicle, it would speed us away from the hospital where a dad and husband lay.
Where was help when you needed it the most I thought. I realized no one was coming to save us. I had to be the protector now for mum. Up until this point it had been Dad’s job. Looking back, growing up both my parents had fiercely protected my sister and me to the point I really didn’t know how or what to do at this moment. Dad had always been there to ask.
What to do and Figuring it out
Clearly, we weren’t prepared for what we would have to go through and face as a family or alone with our grief. Somehow we muddled through. We had to for there was no mentor or guide, it was a “figure it” out as you go along routine.
To begin with, there was help via the funeral folks but after that, we were very much alone.
For me, it was a struggle, I was overwhelmed by life, emotions, and feelings. Alone, I would journey for a while until I did find help. I was fortunate, with my nursing background I understood death but for the rest, it was my holistic friends I turned to and relied on to ease my pain.
My Quest into How Others Heal
Over time I wondered, how did others heal and journey through their grief? My quest began and would be answered only when I did my own research. Frankly, many people didn’t. During the search I read about people becoming stuck in their grief, pining and longing for their loved ones. They would lose their vitality and their own lives as a result. It was as if they too had died alongside their loved one. This was tragic.
There were many more people like me who do eventually find their way back to life. Their lives forever changed as they learned to adapt and grow in ways they couldn’t have expected. Some would go on to create legacies or help others during their time of grief.
In the next group, these people grieved but got on with their lives fairly quickly after death. Looking at their characteristics it was noted they were generally happy with their lives and their work fulfilled them. Yes, they had deeply loved the person they lost but somehow, they didn’t lose themselves in their grief.
Death is about Finding You
It was then I recognized as I was doing my own healing work that the death itself became less about his death and more about finding me.
During our lives, there are many times we will be faced with many challenges and how to deal with them either brings you to your knees or you find a way to get up. It is in the getting up that so many lessons are learned along the way that contributes to growth. Life is structured this way and as humans, we are meant to be growing. This growth then becomes one of the head and heart learning. We need both if we are to develop wisdom and compassion.
Just knowing so many grieving a loss can lose their way or are unable to move on with their lives. I wanted to let you know that you can heal your grief and go on to live an amazing life. To guide you I have developed an online membership group to mentor and guide you through your grief.
I understand first hand what it is like to lose a loved one. This has taught me the value of empathy and compassion. Over the years, I have developed tools designed to help and guide you. If you recognize yourself in any of the categories described above. Please let’s connect so I can share more about what I do.
"Too often we identify with our labels but labels limit us they are not who we truly are"
Labels Don’t Tell the Whole Story
Who you are is not defined by your name or even what you do in life for you are much more. Too often your self- worth is tightly tied to that of your work role or relationship label.
These are jigsaw parts adding color and meaning to the whole of who you think you are. You wear many roles and hats but they aren’t who you are either.
The Sum of the Whole
It’s through your roles and relationships that form the sum of your experiences that shape you. The cycle of life continues as you grow older and change, 0ften adding new labels as you evolve into the next stage of your life.
Your name is used first to identify who you are and the clan you belong to. You become a son or daughter, sister or brother, girlfriend or boyfriend showing the world more of who you are. Then you marry and a new label of husband or wife is given, followed next by mother or father.
No Longer Five
I’m no longer a girl but my age puts me in the category of senior or elder but underneath I’m still me. The same me I was at 5. Somehow I got buried under the weight of the labels I used to define me or hide behind. Doing so gave me a false sense of self-worth.
It isn’t until death or major loss occurs, the great equalizer and it doesn’t matter which label was used it doesn’t stop the cycle of life from occurring. Underneath we are all too human and with any loss, grief pays a visit and stays for a while, perhaps even a long while. It is during this time that we have an opportunity to shake off our labels as we are brought to our knees, for truly what do they matter?
A Crisis in Identity
We call out “who am I” when the label no longer fits.
A crisis in identity occurs when we allow our self-worth to be defined by labels. It is so important that we take care not to do so as our labels can easily be taken away.
Relationships can define us but we can become lost in them. Often meshing and melding with “others” in our lives to fit in. We do this also to be loved and feel loved. Each time we do so another piece of us is lost.
When someone or something is taken from us we hurt, we’re upset and a temper tantrum at the injustice is thrown. It is now we must learn how to live our lives without the person and our label attaching us. This is your opportunity to rediscover the YOU underneath. The one that got buried living life.
You may feel broken and worn down by this experience but there is a part of you that is always whole, is always you. It is simply waiting to be discovered again, dusted off and brought out into the sunlight to play and to dream again.
This is how grief coaching helps you find YOU after a loss.
If you’re ready to explore – please message me and let’s talk. Your life is waiting for you but needs your participation.
5 Areas Grief Effects
What are you feeling? Do you have bouts of sadness, increased anger, fearful, guilt/shame what ifs, could/should have?
Difficulty concentrating, forgetful, overwhelmed, confused, thinking the same thought over and over?
Do you feel empty inside, in despair, lonely, even helpless, yearning for something but you don’t know what?
Check in with your body now and see if you are experiencing: low energy, general body pains, tightness in your chest or throat, dizziness, sleeplessness, digestive issues, weight gain or loss, low libido, frequent colds?
Are you religious, do you have strong beliefs, participate in rituals and traditions, have strong connections or are you blaming the church or the God of your understanding for allowing whatever has happened to have happened?
No faith, but have strong beliefs in life, have your own philosophy and spirituality that you can draw comfort from?
Do you have good social and family supports? Do you find yourself withdrawing or isolating from them? Are you less social than you were? Do you prefer your own company now? Is your love relationship becoming strained with more conflicts than before? Fewer friends and family members around due to a move or the family home being sold?
These are the myths and beliefs, you believe to be true but have never questioned i.e., it just takes time or you never get over grief are just a couple of examples. Do people avoid you, embarrassed because they don’t know what to say or they feel uncomfortable around you. You share your story but they are more interested in sharing theirs. Friends/Family or well-meaning people see you as a project in need of fixing? They avoid you because you share your story too frequently?
Now turn to the Grief Inventory Chart and check off the ones that are applicable to you. I am sure you were not aware that a loss, could have such an effect on so many areas of your life?
You probably long for the time when you can tell your story without feeling the pain, and have your joy of life to return so you can live it to the fullest. Just know that you can, it is a choice. Are you ready to make a commitment to yourself and your life? If, yes, let’s connect so you can begin your journey.
Here is my email firstname.lastname@example.org and looking forward to hearing from you.
I pulled this inspirational card today and it spoke volumes to me. I’m the perfect example of perfectionism. So much so I get into perfectionism paralysis!
It was no wonder that when it came my time to grieve, I’d worry if was I doing it right!
“There is no right way, I was told. Everyone’s journey is unique and we get over our grief when we do”.
Ok, my nursing background kicked in and I thought. I cannot imagine a doctor telling a patient that. How helpful would that be to the person with cancer or heart disease?
No, indeed they wouldn’t, instead, they outline the prognosis and the journey they have evidence in seeing for patients with the same diagnosis. Then they give helpful information for what they can do to help the person heal or suggest potential cures for them. They are offering them HOPE.
This indeed is what I do, I offer, my clients Hope that they can heal their heartache and move through their grief. I offer helpful information and assist them to plan their own healing journey.
It isn’t about forgetting their loved one, or that they didn’t love them enough if they heal. It’s about showing them what is possible when they work through their grief with guidance and support.
If you are curious about what grief coaching can do for you, please connect with me.
Healing from your grief is about moving your loved one into your heart and out of your head.
Happy new year to you!
What exactly does that mean, if you are grieving it can be like nails to a chalkboard. How can you be happy you think when your world is no longer the same without your loved one?
Perhaps you can look upon this moment, this year in a different light it’s a New Year albeit without the one you love. It is an opportunity for you to create or chose what you’d like to experience. It is ripe with new beginnings and infinite possibilities awaiting you to try.
In the beginning
Indeed when you are mourning it is difficult to feel or even want to be happy. Espcially with your mind and thoughts being with the person you have lost. You’re grieving.
Despite where you are, you can find moments here to feel and be happy. Grieving is such heavy energy no wonder we find it hard to pull away from it. However, the body does need to find balance even for a little while. It is helpful to find something different to do or focus on. Even if you don’t want to give it a try. Believe me it can help. This is called daily action
Doing Something Different
With each daily action, your mind is involved in other things and your focus shifts away from your grief. This doesn’t happen overnight. If however you are willing to lay down your grief for a while it can help to ease your pain.
This doesn’t mean leaving your loved one behind. It is the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that arise in grieving and its these you leave behind if you are willing?
I love the opportunity new beginning bring. As a child after a period of being naughty, I was given space to think about my behaviour. When ready, I’d leave my room and mum and I would talk about it. After a while, she would suggest I receive a “clean page” where I could begin again being a better person.
I would relish in this thought and savor the possibilities of keeping the page clean! Well until next time.
Did my love of new beginnings, a clean slate begin there, who knows? Today, they are my passions and I love guiding my clients to find their new beginnings. This starts with a shift in mindset and then delving into the work to find themselves. The next stage is about planning and discovering their clean page for themselves.
A New On-line Program
AI have created a program online, that will teach you just that month by month. It is a closed group where you will receive support from the group as well as myself.
Did I keep the page clean – well possibly for a little while, mum was always ready to grant a new one. So you see it is never too late for you to begin your new beginnings and transformation.
If you’re unsure how to – why not email me and let’s have a conversation? email@example.com