Looking for a personal growth experience? Author and mental health counselor Abby Seixas is in Chicago this week and she is offering two events:
Thursday, June 24 at Flourish Studios, 3020 N Lincoln, Chicago
Friday, June 25 at the AAP Conference, Techny Towers, Northbrook
Abby was kind enough to share some of her work with this blog community……
In her “Deep River” women’s groups and in her book, Finding the Deep River Within, mental health counselor Abby Seixas offers six core practices for bringing more sanity and soul to women’s lives. Practice number four, discussed below, is about working with the inner voice of perfectionism to tame our self-expectations.
What Is the “Deep River”? Beneath the busyness of our daily lives flows a deep river of creativity, passion, silence, and a place of contact with our own wisdom and clarity. This “deep river within” is a powerful antidote to the stress, frenzy, and sheer pace of daily life in our 24/7 culture-if we can find our way to this rich inner resource. One important practice that can help is taming our self-expectations.
Work with the Inner Voice of Perfectionism Most of us, whether we’re aware of it or not, are measuring ourselves and our lives according to some picture we have of “how it’s supposed to be.” When our expectations are too high or are held too tightly, the resulting pressure can make us feel driven, fragmented, and cut off from ourselves and others, not to mention unhappy. When we have too many expectations of who we should be or what we should do, we chain ourselves to the treadmill of endless striving and doing. By lightening up on demands we put on ourselves, we not only allow for a more flexible, creative approach to life, but we begin to create an inner environment that is more friendly toward balance, depth, and ease. Some methods for lightening up:
- Try humor: Exaggerate your expectation to the point of absurdity.
- Try compassion: See your self-expectation from the perspective of a very trusted and loving friend, teacher, or family member. What does this compassionate person say to you? Try saying it to yourself. Or try seeing your expectation as if it was someone else’s-someone you care about. What would you say to that person? Try saying it to yourself. Or have a compassionate conversation with the part of you that is holding on so tightly. Lovingly acknowledge it for trying so hard to…be more this, less that, etc.
- Try expanding time: Ask yourself, “Will this matter 10 years from now?”
- Try expanding space: Look, even briefly, at a star-filled night sky, or the vastness of an ocean or prairie or clear blue sky. See if your expectation loosens.
- Try breathing: Feel where and how you are holding this expectation in your body. Imagine breathing into it, around it. Let your breath make space around the tightness, helping it to soften. Or just take three slow, deep breaths.
- Try telling yourself, “I’ll still be a good person”: “…even if I go to bed and read instead of cleaning up the kitchen.” Have a friend remind you that you’re still a good person “even if _____________ (fill in the blank),” when you forget it or doubt it.
- Try asking yourself, “Who says?”: With a little introspection, you might trace your self-expectation to someone else (Mom? Dad?), or simply to one of your own internal voices. Even if you can’t identify the source of your expectation, asking the question provides a pause and the possibility of choice about how and whether to meet that expectation.
To learn more about Abby and Finding the Deep River Within, please visit: http://www.deepriverwithin.com.