How Letting Go of Expectations & Perfectionism Helps Us | Blog
Can You Lighten Up?
What do perfectionism, expectations, and pressure all have in common?
They are made of thought. They are made of beliefs, ideas, and cultural conditioning, and when we don't see that we are under the influence of our thoughts and ideas, it comes back on us. We are a victim of it.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying deadlines, expectations, and feelings of pressure don't exist, but when I remember, my internal experience of these things is coming from what's happening inside of me – what's happening in my mind – it allows me to find my bearings and move forward with more ease.
Just last week, I was on the phone with a friend, telling her everything I have to do as I prepare to move. I felt the pressure, and the thought of it all was creating tension. She asked, ” Could you ease up on things a bit and adjust your expectations?”
I felt my resistance. I started to justify why the pressure was there and why I had to get it all done, but then the truth hit me.
I was creating pressure with all the ideas of what would be “good” for me to get done before leaving. I had logical reasons why it would be better if all of these things were done beforehand and why some of them HAD to get done. I started to see that I was holding myself to expectations that appeared reasonable but, in truth, bordered on unrealistic.
Could I lighten up? If I let go of my expectations, would things fall apart? Would I regret it?
Expectations of ourselves and perfectionism can be subtle. We don't realize we are holding ourselves to some idealized image of what we should be doing or how we should do it, and it feels reasonable.
What if reasonable and rational expectations are perfectionism in disguise?
When we judge ourselves or hold expectations like, “I should know better.”, “I should be further along.” we are responding to an idea, a standard – we are measuring ourselves against an idealized image.
We believe that if we live up to our inner expectations and standards, we will avoid experiencing pain, such as disappointing ourselves or someone else. We think it will guarantee a certain outcome.
If we believe that well-being, peace of mind, or happiness is at the end of a to-do list, a project, or something working out a particular way, we are living in a misunderstanding.
When we hold ourselves to specific standards and believe that success, well-being, or our worth is attached to those things, we create an inner cycle of stress and pressure.
What's the solution?
We remember that our internal experience is pointing to the quality of our minds. It reflects how we are holding ourselves or a situation, and when we let go and lighten up, we will naturally begin to experience more perspective.
Beneath the pressure, upset, or tension is our innate well-being. Beneath the noise of the pressure is our deeper wisdom, ready to guide us and help us see with more clarity.
Our worth is not dependent on living up to these standards. We are whole and complete as we are, and we have what it takes to handle life.
Letting go of, “It would be better if ___.” or “I would be better if” allows us to recognize and appreciate ourselves and life more fully – right here, right now.
Giving ourselves permission to be who we are, as we are, and letting go of all the reasonable and rational expectations, enables us to experience more fulfillment, joy, and connection.
We are no longer living in the internal experience of pressure and push, striving to be someone else or be somewhere else, and instead, we receive the gifts available in real time.
“Beneath the noise of the pressure is our deeper wisdom, ready to guide us and help us see with more clarity.”
Are you interested in exploring what's possible when you let go and allow your true self to take the lead in business and life? Check out the upcoming YOU BE YOU 2-Day Workshop I'm co-teaching with Michael Neill.
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Barbara Patterson is the owner of a global coaching and consulting company helping solopreneurs, entrepreneurs & leaders access more clarity, creativity, have greater impact and higher levels of fulfillment in work and life. She is the founder of Beyond Limits in Business, a global platform and community designed to point people to the source of human potential. That potential resides within and is experienced via our minds. Barb is also the host of the Real Business Real Lives podcast. You can follow Barb on Linkedin and Insta