Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

Dearest Readers,

If you happen to be a perfectionist (recovering) like I am, you'll agree that one of the most difficult challenges we face is looking at what we did well in any given situation rather than what we didn't.

A perfectionist can perform an act, for example, that 9 people praise and 1 person criticizes. Guess what we decide to focus on or even obsess about? The criticism.

It has taken me a long time, and it's still an ongoing process, to switch my focus to what I am doing well rather than pick at my mistakes. Some time ago, I began the practice of positive self-talk in order to counter the negative voices and it has turned out to be a tool that works well, bringing me great results.

A friend of mine recently taught a class during which she made a couple of "mistakes" and she later emailed me to talk it over (I had been in the class). She was clearly feeling badly about it and even went so far as to call it a "gong show".

After the class, however, I and another gal had talked about what a great time we'd had and what a good teacher my friend is. We didn't mention the "mistakes". We weren't even thinking about them!

Of course, the so-called mistakes weren't our own, but herein lies another tool to help us to let go of self-punishment: no one else is thinking about your mistakes. Why should you?

My suggestion to my friend was that she tell herself outloud how well she did, that she go so far as to reach up her hand and give herself an actual pat on the back, all the while saying, "You did really well. Good for you!"

This little trick has big repercussions. It grows our self-esteem and builds our confidence.

Inspiring Message of the Day: Today I will focus on what a good job I am doing. I will look at my accomplishments, however small, give myself a pat on the back and tell myself how well I'm doing.

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