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 walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keep out the joy.~Jim Rohn
Not too long ago, I found myself sitting around with a group of friends playing the One-Word game—a game where each person uses one word to honestly describe another person in the group. Everyone goes around until they have been “worded” by everyone else.
It’s fun and exciting until you get labeled as something you don’t necessarily identify as positive. The word that kept coming up for me: Guarded.
I got it. It made sense. I have a difficult time opening myself up to people.
Today I received an email from a man named Nick (not his real name) who wants help finding a job. He has two different resumes, one for his “business life” and one for his “adventure life”.
As I browsed through his resumes, his many accomplishments stood out. So I began to wonder why Nick needed my help to find a job? He certainly has his pick of fields from which to choose.
Then it dawned on me. If Nick was a carpenter and only a carpenter, he would search for carpenter jobs. Easy. But, since he is an adventurer as well as a business man with many accomplishments in various fields, the issue really was finding the direction, not finding the job.
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.
Loving oneself is different from being arrogant, conceited or egocentric.
Loving oneself means caring about oneself,
taking responsibility for oneself,
respecting oneself, and knowing oneself.~Erich Fromm
I was going through a bad patch a while back. My self-esteem hit rock bottom, and nothing I did seemed to work. My relationships were a mess and my work was faltering. I felt unhappy and unsure of myself.
I have often wondered if The Mid-Life Crisis was smacking me. In retrospect, I think it was. And it was a good thing too, because I needed to change my ways a little.
Fortunately, my friends were there for me. While having coffee one day, a friend of mine lectured me, as good friends do when they’re tired of seeing you miserable.
She said “You’ve gotta love yourself before anyone else will love you”. Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that all before, I thought.
To overextend yourself is to invite defeat.~G. William Domhoff
A few years ago, after my husband and I got hitched, we flew to Italy and had a wonderful vacation, and when I got back I volunteered to host Thanksgiving dinner for our family and many of our friends. Early that day, my jet lag really kicked in, I was exhausted and couldn’t believe I’d offered to do this. Never again, I thought.
This is probably one of the best times to talk about overextending yourself. The holidays are here, and between shopping, baking, parties, and volunteering there seems to be hardly enough time for a regular work day, let alone exercise, laundry and cooking dinner.
I want to stress that I’m going to deal with general, low-level problems of over-committing ourselves. That is one symptom of what can be a larger problem for some of us. It certainly was for me; about six years ago I was extremely codependent. If you’re interested in more information on that, you can check out Codependents Anonymous’ Checklist.
Regardless of how much you struggle with codependence or taking on too much, these tips can help make things a little easier.
Flow is the natural, effortless unfolding of our life
in a way that moves us towards wholeness and harmony.~Charlene Belitz & Meg Lundstrom
The majority of the books that sit on my shelves are ones that I have read, or deliberately decided not to read after losing interest after a page or two. So I was a little taken aback when I found one sitting smack dab in the middle of various dog-eared novels that I hadn’t read yet—The Power of Flow.
In all likelihood it was a transplant from my parent’s extensive self-help collection, one that must have snuck into one of my boxes. Yet, I hadn’t noticed it until I was—conveniently—experiencing stagnation in many areas of my life.
I’d say this is what “divine timing” is all about.
I spent the next few hours swimming in the pages, recalling all the times in my life when things seemed to fall in to place and doors opened without any physical effort on my part–the times when I was completely and totally “in the flow.”
This is such a simple, elegant and inspiring article. Make sure to give this a read. You'll be glad you did. :)
Don't ask what the world needs.
Ask what makes you come alive and go do it.
Because what the world needs is
people who have come alive.~Howard Thurman
No quote has ever had more of an impact on me than this one.
When I first read it, I was working in the accounting department of a government contractor in Virginia. I was commuting back and forth to the 3-bedroom house on ½ acre that I’d just bought and I was doing it in a sporty little Mazda 626.
I was making a respectable salary. I had parlayed my college degree into a “successful” career, and I was understandably proud of myself.
But I was not alive.
I was just one of hundreds of thousands of bean counters who sat in traffic a couple of hours a day to get to a cubicle in a maze of other cubicles to sit for another 8 to 10 hours a day trying to make numbers add up.