When we’re in the grip of inspiration,
an idea has taken hold of us from the invisible reality of Spirit.
Something that seems to come from afar,
where we allow ourselves to be moved by a force
that’s more powerful than our ego and all of it’s illusions,
is inspiration.~Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
Goal setting can be a great tool for achieving and improving different areas of your life. It can also be a source of frustration, disappointment and anxiety.
We’ve all heard of the traditional S.MA.R.T. guidelines for setting goals (making your goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely). It seems to be widely touted by personal development gurus and business professionals, however it may not be for every goal seeker.
A few years ago, I worked with a business coach to help me grow my business. I learned a lot, but I also experienced many negative feelings like the ones mentioned above.
When I didn’t meet my goals, I would get very down on myself. I felt like something was wrong with me. My self-esteem went completely down the tubes.
We are not meant to be perfect;
we are meant to be whole.~Jane Fonda
It’s the crisis of the modern era: stressed-out, disconnected, working so hard and not knowing what, exactly, we’re working for. Entire lives are planned around promotions and pay raises, or around simply surviving the day-to-day, and then we look around and ask ourselves: Is all this work actually getting me where I want to go?
I’ve found myself in this position–the position of the person who has figured out how to work hard and achieve things, but has realized with a sudden and startling clarity that she doesn’t actually know that they are things she wanted.
What do you do when you’ve pursued the things you’ve been conditioned to want, and find that once you’ve got them–they weren’t what you really wanted?
Perhaps what you’ve sought was some outward measure of perfection, and now the journey is towards wholeness.
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Things turn out the best for people
who make the best of the way things turn out.~John Wooden
Right around the time I reached middle school, when the presence and opinion of my friends trumped that of anyone else in my life at the time, birthdays started to represent something more than just a day I might get all the things my parents refused to buy me the rest of the year.
Birthdays suddenly became the one day that I expected to have an outpouring of love and adoration, the one day that my presence in the world could actually be validated.
Yes, friends and family could shower me with love on any of the other 364 days of the year, but if they didn’t do it on that one day, that simply meant they didn’t care.
Striving for excellence motivates you;
striving for perfection is demoralizing.~Harriet Braiker
My neighbor came to my door while I was baking my first loaf of gluten-free bread. She said she admired our diets and told me how she was doing more to eat less sugar.
“I’d heard from a lot of people that it makes a lot of sense for them,” I said, “but I just didn’t think I could cut another thing out. I mean, after getting rid of dairy, wheat, caffeine and sugar, what would be left?”
She laughed a little and said, “Well it’s all about just cutting yourself some slack. You don’t have to be perfect or anything.”
Here’s my confession: I have this compulsion to be perfect. Everything I do has to be just so, or I don’t want to do it at all. And I don’t think I’m alone in this.
The simplest things are often the truest.~Richard Bach
Several years ago I went through an unwanted divorce. I felt I was losing so much that was important to me – my marriage, the daily presence of my children, my friends in that former couples-oriented world.
I moved from the large 1700’s farm house I had been restoring for the past 15 years into a very small apartment. More than half the possessions I had accumulated during my life wouldn’t fit, and had to go.
And part of my identity went with them. The part that had been a “husband” was suddenly gone.
We grow primarily through our challenges,
especially those life-changing moments
when we begin to recognize aspects of our nature
that make us different from the family
and culture in which we have been raised.~Caroline Myss
When Oprah Winfrey interviewed Jane Fonda for The Oprah Magazine, these two amazing women touched briefly on the subject of caring about what others think of them.
Oprah:I’ve read that, like me, you’ve always struggled with the disease to please.
Jane:I used to walk into a party and think, Oh, my God, will I be interesting enough? Will people like me? Will I be pretty enough? Do I fit in? Now I go into a room and think, do I really want to be here? Are these people I want to spend a few hours with? It’s a big shift.
Oprah:How did you make the shift?
Jane:Hard work. Growing up.
Jane didn’t elaborate on her answer, and I’m not qualified to speak for her. But I think we can all relate to how she used to feel.
… and have no goals. This is a radical declaration for me.
Historically, I spend a few days in December reflecting on the past year and envisioning the New Year. I would carefully organize my goals into categories of personal growth, finances, career, family, wellness, travel, and refine to ensure each one is specific, measurable and timely. I assess the goal like a test tube subject to be sure that it has all the appropriate elements of a ‘great goal.’
After circulating my Official New Year’s Goal Document to my BFF and husband as accountability allies, I move onto a vision board with inspiring words, favorite quotes, dreamy magazine cutouts.
A man can not be comfortable without his own approval.~Mark Twain
Piling into her lavender Honda with her white terrier scrambling over us in the back seat, my grandmother would turn down the stories on tape my sister and I listened to religiously and tell us that it was time to boast.
What followed was usually always the same; we would squirm uncomfortably in our seats, hoping that we could somehow quickly change the subject.
But my grandma has always been an incredibly persistent woman, so we would reluctantly appease her request.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert,
These days, as far as I can tell, some of the world is choosing drugs and distraction over soul-searching.
That’s not, you, though, right? You’re willing to do the work. You’re willing to look at the ugly stuff, and acknowledge the areas where you could use some work—whether it’s emotional, mental, physical, ethical, moral, or any other kind.
But like many things in life, there’s a shadow side to this.
At some point—if you’re not very careful—you may cross the line from personal growth into perfectionism: constantly assessing yourself and your flaws, berating yourself for not doing everything better, and then using the lessons of self-help not for freedom, but as another system for beating yourself up the very same way you would have before you started doing any work at all.