Start trying, start failing

I had a bit of an epiphany today.

For quite a long time now I have been a perfectionist. I don’t know exactly how I have developed this tendency, as I’m quite sure I wasn’t always like that.

To me perfectionism can be summarized to the sentence “I’m not good enough.”

I feel I am a failure if I believe I don’t perform as well as others. And I often believe that. I have a hard time showing people who I really am, in fear of not being accepted. Hell I may not send messages to old friends on my worst days for fear of bugging them.

I don’t ask for help, cause I have to be strong. I never rejoice if others fail – I’m way too kind for that – but other people’s success does make me feel average. And oh how I abhor that word! I truly want to excel at everything I do and procrastinating is a huge part of that.

Until today, that is. As my usual perfectionist self I had decided some time ago to go for a certification. Quite a difficult one, looks nice on your cv. Not everyone passes, so of course I should. Except I didn’t!

And to my surprise I didn’t beat myself about it. Sitting here quite calmly writing about the incident and I’m fine with my failure. Nothing broke. No one cares. Paycheck will keep coming in. I’m still allowed to go to the office tomorrow.

So I started wondering about what has happened during last year. I’ve expressed my opinions freely at work. I have a lot more courage on that front being the authentic me in my professional role. I know how to make an argument. And I don’t mind not always winning them. I even had something I would call arguments with a friend. That shit scares the hell out of me! Turns out the friend didn’t leave me because of those disagreements.

And so – there was an intresting passage in the article I linked to above, which I think holds true for me;

Brown’s remedy? Try practicing authenticity. Let others see you, exactly as you are, and let go of the protecting shield of perfectionism in order to express vulnerability.

“Authenticity is a practice and you choose it every day,” she says, “sometimes every hour of every day.”

Not to worry though – I’m not perfect yet (pun intended!!). Just today I felt very inadequate with my process compared to a colleague. So there’s still a long road ahead!

Hiding game

The end of the year is approaching, again faster than one always seems to expect. 

Ready, set… No?

At the beginning of the year I felt like I have the energy for a G. Rubin style year-long happiness project. In retrospective I think perhaps it was a bit too bold an assessment of my own abilities.

It’s not like I haven’t changed or figured out anything this year. I actually have learned a hell of a lot. 

And I’d like to think I am braver, and happier, for that. 

The road to a happier existence just hasn’t been at all what I planned it to be in the beginning of the year.

That’s a lesson learned right there dear people! I am not beating myself up for not following my plan through, as it was not serving me as well as I had hoped.

I have actually changed a lot of opinions and assumptions I had, when embarking on this journey. I think it’s all for the good though.

Chasing demons

Scary hooded figure
Back when I had my relationship month, I remember picking something like “chasing your demons” as ONE item, amongst many others, to work on. 

Quite ambitious of me. 

At least I knew myself well enough to understand, that I needed to focus on that issue. 

It’s just that I have since realized those demons are better hidden and much more powerful than I had imagined. I thought I had already done enough healing to take on this project full-on, but I guess it just wasn’t quite so. 

With demons I mean my insecurities that tend to cause pretty much every problem that I seem to face in my life. 

I’ve written before about how feeling your most negative feelings is needed in order to heal. But even I didn’t realize how well I actually had hidden my most crucial pains. But to hide your fears, insecurities, and pain doesn’t mean, they will not have an impact on your behavior. They make me act strange on a lot occasions. They are the reason I have trouble letting go of feelings and people, why I tend to overanalyze everything and try to be somehow more than I really am. They are at the core of my anger, that surfaces much more often than I would like.

Conquering demons

It probably shouldn’t have come as such a surprise, that therapy and happiness techniques sort of go hand in hand. But it kind of did. I’ve kept saying that my happiness project is not meant to heal me from my depression. And that still holds true.

A lot of the things, I have learned through focusing on what makes me happy, of course are good techniques to help with my depression. 

But to really achieve a more lasting happiness, I have to slay this demon I carry inside me. Until then I’m afraid it will always have an effect on everything I choose to do, how I behave, where I want to be in life. 

Just understanding this, and knowing I can now work on this issue, has made me that much happier again.

Things can go well, even when they don’t go according to plan.

On fears, shame and being you

Funny how I never planned feelings to be my thing for the month, but how it has become so. It seems my subconscious is pushing this theme on me, whether I choose to deal with it or not.

I think one of my biggest fears, and so also one of the biggest influences in my life for some years now, is my fear of being abandoned. It makes you do weird things. You do not tell your closest friend important news for fear of making them angry. You make your boyfriend suffer all kinds of shit, to test his love, before marriage. It makes you kick into complete survival mode instead of admitting you are weak – because you’re sure everyone will leave if you show them you can be hurt.

I have told before that I’m a big believer in the healing powers of friendship. But the fear of abandonment has sometimes hindered my ability to get to know people. I’ve left it mostly up to the others to somehow convince me, they actually like me. At the same time, what I really wanted to be doing, is screaming “you are amazing! It would be such a pleasure to spend time with you!” 

Then I bumped into someone. 

Who, for reasons I can’t explain very satisfyingly even myself, has made me drop my guard completely. 

It’s been scary, it’s been liberating, it’s been strangely empowering. This person has had such a strong positive influence on me, that I’ve been pushing myself in their presence perhaps a bit too strong even…

Which leads me to shame, and being me. 

I’m a party girl. So I went to celebrate a birthday. I drank, possibly few too many, glasses of bubbly. And in the heat of that moment, it felt like an excellent idea to start writing messages to this above mentioned person. Quite innocent ones, in my opinion, but I guess it led to some issues at his end. 

I’m hardly ever so drunk, I would do something completely out of ordinary. And I do stand behind every word I said. But because it had caused issues, I felt ashamed. I probably also felt ashamed because it hadn’t occured to me at all, that it could cause trouble. Mostly though, I think I was ashamed for letting my guard down. For opening a possibilty to get hurt.

Essentially, I realized, I was blaming myself for acting like me. 

Because of those feelings of shame, I re-evaluated, if perhaps I was also regretting sending those messages. Or for being so open about how big an impact he has had on me. 


But I can’t say that I am. I regret the needless worry I might have caused to a completely innocent person. But I regret nothing I said. It was all true. And none of it was meant as a means to hurt anyone.

Acting like myself throughout this whole experience has taught me another valuable lesson, which I’ve really waited to learn. 

That is; 

you really can not take responsibility for other people’s feelings or actions. You think you are saying “hello”, but their own history, fears, egos and what not, can affect the situation so that all they hear is: “fuck you”.  

Because behind every action, I have been truly me, I can let go of my shame. 

Living up to my guidelines

Today I was more nervous than I have been in a long while. I tried exercise, singing and even dancing, but the feeling wanted to stay with me. 

See, today I did something that I’m not sure I’ve ever done before. So I was definitely pushing my boundaries, and you know how our mind doesn’t like those boundaries pushed. 

I mentioned it briefly in a previous post, how I had followed my intuition in wanting to get to know a person better. I also mentioned, that plan didn’t go quite as I had hoped. Turns out though, it didn’t backfire either. 

I think today was an excellent proof that my happiness project and guidelines work for me. They are taylor made for me and my issues and I think I must have followed more than one of my guidelines today, or leading up to today’s event.

Anyone figuring out their own guidelines, can be as successful with theirs, as I have been with mine.

What I had planned turned eventually (suggested by this other person) into a sunny afternoon spent with excellent food, great people and family fun. 

Oh believe me, my ego is trying sooooo hard to make today’s experience less enjoyable for me – but that’s just cause my ego has serious trust issues. (Right now it’s telling me, that I will freak the people out we met today, if they happen to catch this post.) But I won’t let that stop me…

Because honestly, today, even the weather was on my side.

Life is too short to wake up

in the morning with regrets.

So, love the people who

treat you right and

forget about the ones who don’t.

And believe that everything 

happens for a reason…

If you get a chance – take it;

if it changes your life – let it.

Nobody said that it would be easy.

BUT

it would be worth it.

Paulo Coelho

Side effected by happiness project

There are things brewing inside me that I totally put down to my trying to understand what makes me happy. 

Now, let’s see what I have noticed, or done lately, that I would never have imagined doing in the past!

– Feeling at ease hugging people. Also having an urge to touch all kinds of things in addition to people. I love the texture of leaves, trees rocks… You name it!

– Exploring my surroundings and finding beautiful new places (nope, not been a given at all! New things and places can freak me out!)

This place is like a 20 minute walk from home. Took me a year to have the courage to go find the place.
 

– Sang infront of a group of people. All sober. In daylight. Didn’t pass out. I think I found myself a new hobby!

– Followed my intuition telling me, I should try to get to know one person better. This one sort of backfired in some ways, but I’m still proud of myself for speaking out this time, instead of bottling that thought in.  I mean, if new places and things are scary, how about people then!! 

– I’m enjoying jogging. What the f? I have always hated jogging. Now I need to stop myself so I won’t overdo it. Perhaps I have finally realized, I don’t have to taste blood when running, for it to count as exercise. 

Generally that annoying voice inside my head telling me I can’t be this and that, can’t do this and that or can’t say this and that, is quiet more often than it used to be. It’s exciting, but admittedly a little scary at times too!

I may follow my intuition more freely these days, but my ego still likes to play the drama queen when something doesn’t go exactly according to plan. 

I’ll keep on my chosen path towards happiness and perhaps the ego will soon hush up for good.