Aspire Magazine: Inspiration for a Woman's Soul.(TM) Oct/Nov 2018 Aspire Mag Full Issue - Page 25

2. Notice when you are holding yourself to unrealistic expectations and choose to change them. Awareness is critical to making any type of change. Commit to cultivating a spirit of curiosity and non-judgment as you regularly reflect on the expectations you hold for yourself. Start by writing down the expectations you have and then challenge the unattainable ones. Recognize when you are expecting yourself to be perfect and notice the impact it has on your self-worth and belief in yourself. Then reflect on how changing the expectations could open you to more possibilities to be yourself, learn, and grow. For instance, if you believe that you should make everyone happy, pause and recognize how unrealistic that expectation is. Then tell yourself instead, I am loving and supportive to people, no matter how they respond. Remember you do not need to be perfect in this process. The power resides in your awareness and choice. 3. Respond to yourself with compassion when you make a mistake. When we buy into the myth of perfectionism, mistakes invoke shame. Instead of understanding that we made a mistake, we often believe we are the mistake. Getting stuck in our shame decreases our ability to learn and grow from our mistakes. If we choose instead to treat ourselves with kindness and compassion when we make a mistake, we actively release our perfectionist expectations and teach others by our example. With each act of self-compassion, we support a new culture of learning and growth in our families, friend groups, faith communities, and workplaces, and the positive ripple effects on our relationships are endless. As Sharon Salzberg asserts “When we relate to ourselves with loving kindness, perfectionism naturally drops away.” 4. Cultivate a gratitude practice. Since perfectionism highlights what is not going well, an antidote to perfectionism is recognizing what is going well in our lives. A gratitude practice is the easiest way to refocus on what is going well and offers us perspective to acknowledge what we have done well and how we have grown. Indeed, what we focus on is what we attract more of in our lives, and so recognizing what we are grateful for quiets our inner critic and unplugs us from the expectation of perfection. Take a moment now to acknowledge something you are grateful for about yourself. 25 I have started saying in every group that I am a part of that we do not have to be perfect, but we do need to show up. This regular affirmation of letting go of perfectionism is my way of giving myself and others permission to be authentic, take risks, learn from our mistakes, and intentionally develop a culture of appreciation together.