Do you “should” on yourself? Do you find yourself comparing your life to others? Ever been smacked down by a perfectionist and told how to do something?
Ever find yourself thinking that Penny Perfect is the best mom? Her kids are always in soccer, ballet or play the piano and your kids are glued to video games and Netflix and their rooms are messy. She’s in shape and you don’t like your shape. You’re afraid to wave to her because you’re embarrassed about your 8 year old minivan that one of your kids hurled in.
You have this flood of emotion and the word “should” keeps popping up.
I should get my kids into soccer.
I should start eating better.
I should start going to the gym.
I should be like Penny.
All of these “shoulds” have negative emotions attached. Feelings of inadequacy, doubt, guilt and fear seem to take over.
Does this sound familiar to you? If so, you’re not alone.
The Truth About Penny Perfect
While Penny may seem like the perfect mom it’s highly probable she is being driven to perfection because she doesn’t feel good about herself either!
Many people doubt them self and they don’t want anyone to know. Behind this lack of belief is some sort of shame; the fear of being unlovable. I’ve heard these statements from some of the moms I’ve worked with, “I better get my kids into soccer because I don’t what the other mothers to think I’m a bad mom.” I’ve even heard this, “I hate getting up at 4:30am to go and work out. My trainer charges a lot to be there at that hour. But I don’t want others to think I’m fat so I push myself hard. At times it gets old and I wished I could just sleep in and go have a donut with the others.” The most amazing thing I heard once from one of my perfectionist moms, “I’m really a nice person and would like to hang out with some of the moms in the neighborhood but I don’t want some of the powerhouse moms I know to be disappointed with my choice of friends.”
Perfectionism is a symptom of this scared view that they somehow are not enough.
Don’t Should on Yourself
Please understand that Penny Perfect isn’t so perfect. Their attitude is created through the fear they won’t be accepted for who they really are so they create this perfectionist person to be accepted. When you compare yourself to Penny Perfect and start to “should” on yourself, you are also expressing the same fear she has; “I’m not good enough as I really am and people won’t like me. So I need to be what other people want me to be so I can fit in.”
The solution to overcome the “shoulds” and the “perfectionist” is to act in courage and move toward vulnerability. This is what being authentic is all about. Through being authentic you will be accepted and be able to create much deeper connections with others.
Authentic: The daily practice of letting go of who you think others want you to be and embrace who you really are.
We all have a need to be loved and belong to something bigger than ourself. We need to be accepted. This is present in all of us and all the time. This is where shame can be a driving force to cause you to become unauthentic. Shame causes the “should” attitude. “I must be a bad mom because my kids don’t play soccer and would rather play video games. I ‘should’ get them into soccer so others don’t think I’m a bad mom.” While it may be a good thing for your kids to play soccer, if you force them to play so you feel better about yourself, could really backfire. Your kids may become resentful. They may rebel and create some unhealthy behavior. And you’re not going to get what you really deserve; to be loved for who you really are.
In my experience as a former perfectionist and now practicing authenticity by embracing who I really am, being vulnerable has helped me be accepted by everyone for just being me. There will always be someone who doesn’t like me for who I really am. I realize that if that happens they made a choice that was more about them than it was about me. I may feel a little badly about that but it won’t change the fact that I feel worthy of love and belonging. I feel worthy of connection. I don’t fear as much as I used to that I was unlovable.
When I began to let others see who I really was my connections with others improved substantially. My energy level increased because I didn’t spend it pretending to be somebody I wasn’t all the time. It’s way easier.
Improved Personal Development
Dr. Seuss said, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
As you begin the courageous “daily practice” of being authentic, of accepting who you really are, of moving to a point of being vulnerable, you’ll see just how beautiful you really are. You’ll discover that you are worthy of love and acceptance just as you are. It’s in this peaceful state that your life will begin to move forward. It’s powerful to be vulnerable. Yes it’s scary because you are putting it all out there for all to see. It’s scary because someone my reject you. You will fall on your face. You’ll have your share of failures. That’s part of life. But you’ll not deviate from loving yourself.
Others will mock you. Others will criticize you for being you. Why? They have to judge you to feel good about them selves. They judge you because they are stuck in shame mode. They are now “should-ing” on you! Shame is always the genesis of judgment.
Be you. You are enough just as you are. You are worthy of love and belonging. You don’t need to should on yourself. Be a courageous warrior of embracing who you really are!!!