Perfectionism is a burden I carry. It comes from this overwhelming feeling that I am not enough. In Radical Acceptance: Awakening the Love That Heals Fear and Shame, Tara Brach writes "Imperfection is not our personal problem--it is a natural part of existing." The need to constantly be better may seem like a positive goal, but Brach goes on to say, "Staying occupied is a socially sanctioned way of remaining distant from our pain."
I'm not saying that we should stop trying to improve, but in order to progress we need to take stock of our situation. We need to accept it. This can be a difficult task. To avoid our own suffering we might blame others or believe the world is against us. We may deny that anything is wrong and try to move on and make changes without really understanding what's wrong in the first place. Thus, we fall back into the same destructive patterns.
For example, forgiveness of ourselves or others cannot happen until we accept the situation. I haven't had steady work for a number of years. I am ashamed to admit that. I feel like a loser. I get caught up in this story of shame, anger, and feeling sorry for myself every time I think about it. Applying for jobs is often not done to make changes in my life, but to punish myself for being a loser. I do it to make myself feel worse. I simply haven't accepted where I am.
Therefore, I'm terrified of more failures. I want everything to be perfect. In Self-Compassion Dr. Kristin Neff shared the following:
When you can trust that failure will be greeted with understanding rather than judgment, it no longer becomes the boogeyman lurking in the closet. Instead, failure can be recognized as the master teacher it is.
Remember if this guided meditation-style thing doesn't work, you can try writing out the mantra in a journal. Dr. Nathaniel Branden found that sentence completion exercises worked well at changing behavior for his patients.
If you'd like to download the Morning Mantra instead of coming to this page each morning, right click the following and save it to your device: Morning Mantra Dos.
I’ve decided to start my mantra experiment with recognizing emotions. As a man in our Western world, society demands we be tough and without emotion. “Don’t cry, be a man!”
I imagine it is not just men who avoid emotions these days. Our culture of busy keeps us from spending time with ourselves. Whether it is carting kids to after school sports, going to the gym, continuing your education to stay competitive in your career, or simply the distraction of the smart phone and television, we avoid emotions. Who wants to feel pain, sadness, frustration, or anger?
Yet, I’ve learned the hard way that it is important to recognize and accept these feelings. Burying them and avoiding the pain has had a profound affect on my life. Anxiety, depression, and a lack of self-worth have laid waste to who I am.
Therefore, I want to get better at accepting these emotions. I’m only human. So, Morning Mantra Uno is about recognizing and accepting emotions. I think this is going to be key as I progress through more mantras, so I have made it number one.
Is a month of reciting this daily too long?
Maybe. We’ll see.
Is this guided meditation-like thing not working for you?
You can try writing out the mantra in a journal. Dr. Nathaniel Branden found that sentence completion exercises worked well at changing behavior for his patients.
If you'd like to download the Morning Mantra instead of coming to this page each morning, right click the following and save it to your device: Morning Mantra Uno.