I used to be kind of a perfectionist in many areas of my life and I remember how triggered I would get if I would notice the tiniest mistake or imperfection. I was so extreme that just one “flaw” would simply mean failure to me. It was either perfect or nothing… That’s how binary my mind was! Of course, since I’m not a new kind of Goddess, I would always find a mistake or two and it would lead me to question my capacities and potential again and again until all I was able to do was to criticize myself.
Today I understand that it was in fact just a way to hide: the easy way out…
When I started my journey healing my inner-self, this issue was one of the most difficult for me to handle. How can I stop focusing on my mistakes and flaws?
Why do we always focus on our features that annoy us? We obsess so much on this that we forget to take a look at the rest. We forget all our qualities and gifts and this attitude creates self-doubt. And that’s it, we now lack self-confidence!
Here we are, in this vicious circle: we doubt ourselves, lack self-confidence, start criticizing ourselves and never get out of this confinement zone we created. Another kind of comfort zone that is actually hurting us!
So what do we do in this situation? How can we shift this pattern and stop criticizing ourselves?
When I am in this particular state of self-criticism (and I can tell you I can ace it!), here is what I do:
I try to calm my mind and find peace inside of myself, and believe me at this moment it’s in the most remote place in my brain or my toes!!! I try to lay down, close my eyes, breathe deeply until I feel more relaxed. And I start thinking about this little girl in me that is not feeling good enough. How old is she? Why is she worried to be judged? By whom? Maybe her friends, her mother, her father, her teacher or maybe a high school sweetheart?
Once I get back to her, and answer those questions, I think about her fears and try to feel compassion for her (not anger although I really feel like I punching myself). She is so young and lost and she is surely doing her best. She is on her own and she is learning from her mistakes. She hears so many comments about how wrong she is, and it got to her. This is what she was taught. Now she’s going through this same pattern of criticism. She defends her inner-self with auto-criticism so that if, or when, someone complains about her, she is already wearing her armor to protect her.
I try to feel compassionate for her. I feel my inner child needs my love and I just have to forgive her flaws and mistakes. Those imperfections are the core of what makes her so special and unique after all…. And often the challenge of just accepting them makes me stronger.
We need to learn to forgive ourselves for every error we may do and every imperfection within ourselves.
An empowered woman embraces every piece of herself. She is proud of her qualities, her gifts and talents but also accepts her flaws and mistakes because they are also a part of the whole package that defines her.
So I learned, every time I flinch, I think of a way to transform the flaw I am not proud of into one of my biggest assets, that’s what movie stars do!!!
By Michèle Jabre