My intention remains to be of service to you in discovering what’s truly possible and finding opportunities within obstacles that improve your life, one step at a time.
The realization that I act or decide from either ‘Love or fear’ – whether in private life or business, with family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, or strangers – was important in reducing perfectionism’s fear based impact.
Neale Donald Walsch in ‘Conversations with God – Book 1’ writes beautifully about these 2 basic drivers of behavior.
“All human actions are motivated at their deepest level by two emotions – fear or Love. …Fear holds close, Love holds dear. Fears grasps, Love lets go. Fear rankles, Love soothes. Fear attacks, Love amends.” This struck a deep chord in me; over and over I read this Truth that spoke to my center.
Becoming aware of this and, then, consistently choosing more Love and less fear – instead of being pummeled in my head by perfectionism’s shaming, criticizing, sabotaging and blaming – was a whole other matter. It took time and was (and is), well, imperfect.
Fear can be a beneficial response, like, instinctively running instead of getting mugged; I’m not suggesting ignoring fear that serves.
To increase my awareness of whether Love or unhelpful fear was driving my behavior in specific situations (such that I could then make different choices) sometimes required or requires silence, stillness, prayer, and/or meditation for clarity. Truth can be hidden beneath layers of thoughts and feelings.
Other times, as noted by author Steve Rizzo in ‘How to Confront Your Fear Based Thoughts,’ fear seems to be “the bigmouth inside [my] head” that emits a “flow of fear-based thoughts, defensive emotions and beliefs that have been built from past experiences. Here we go again. Why is this happening? Why can’t I ever get a break? I will never be able to handle this. What’s the use? No one cares anyway.”
Deciding to listen (and really pay attention) to how I habitually talked to myself resulted in startling findings.
When fear unproductively ran the show, it looked like…
• critiques without compassion,
• shrinking from hard conversations when I felt I didn’t have answers,
• judging myself or another rather harshly or avoiding what merits addressing,
• blaming myself (or others. Ugh.),
• or pressing ahead through a tough spot without considering multiple perspectives.
Awareness of above enabled acknowledging my harsh inner critic’s fears and observing how this (convincing nonsense) was affecting me. Then, I could act differently by ‘taking the risk and doing other than what fear says.’
To do the above, I let the inside-my-head-judge sit in the proverbial corner while I talked out loud (or in my head depending on where I was) to fear. I might say to myself – ok, I hear you and I’m taking the risk with X/Y/Z (i.e., choosing a Love-based, imperfect action) anyway.
Verbalizing actions “is so effective because it raises the level of awareness from a non-conscious habit to a more conscious level” per James Clear, world renowned habits expert, in ‘Atomic Habits.’
Once fear habits became more conscious, less fear-based choices and more Love-based choices were possible.
It’s fascinating that this, incrementally and gradually, worked (and still works as I continue practicing); shifts to making more Loving or wisdom based actions resulted in increased peace and harmony at home and success in the workplace.
Some examples of Love-sponsored action practice are…
• truly listening, with zipped lips, to another – especially who is different from me, disagrees with me, has alternate perspectives than me or whom I don’t understand,
• sending a note to someone struggling even when words seem inadequate,
• texting a beloved other on a very full work day with a simple few words of appreciation,
• treating others with respect whether in a brief, friendly hello to a stranger or in a conversation with a long-known dearest,
• or responding with compassion to another’s family member in need (when a different choice might have been to let it be).
At times, I fall back on practicing Loving actions and react with fear; in that moment, perfectionism prevails. Oh well. Over time, I’ve realized such mistakes afterwards more quickly or even midstream; I then make amends and adjust. If my oopsie dawns on me later, with Monday morning quarterbacking, I look for what I missed and make a plan to respond in the future in an improved fashion – in a process over perfection way.
I aim not to (really) beat myself up when I fall short – and begin (again) to practice Love-sponsored thoughts and actions…which, truly, in pretty much every scenario, win.
With more (& more) Love,
Original Email Date June 7, 2020
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