Have Faith, Faith
By: Faith Pearce
(5 min read)
I know when I am having such a goddamn toddler moment, and something feels so big with so much resistance, that is where I need to focus.
When I get unsure of myself, I can be a procrastinator. That achy, uncomfortable feeling of, “Am I doing this right?” It’s the whole perfectionism syndrome. How can I have any worth if I don’t know what I’m doing? If it’s not done perfectly, then I’m open to criticism. If I get it wrong, then I’m a failure.
I’ve read all the positive quotes. Nothing is ever a failure. It’s just a learning opportunity.
It’s not how far you fall but how high you bounce that counts.
Everything you want is on the other side of fear.
Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.
Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.
Intellectually, the most powerful messages make sense, so why is it so hard to embed them and take action?
Growing up, I was highly competitive. My mantra was, “Good, better, best. Never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best.” I strived for that level of perfection, trying so hard to be what I thought I needed to be, and never accepted what I was doing as being enough—there must be more.
I remember at a birthday party when I was six.
One of the party games was to read a section of a poem. There must’ve been around eight of us, and we had to recite a small section of a poem. However, we decided. I recall thinking, “How can I do this differently and to the best of my ability? How can I make sure they see me?”
We were given five minutes to prepare. I learned all my lines by heart and then recited them without looking at the paper. Everyone was really impressed, and I won the game. I still have my prize—a large book about mice living in trees.
Even though winning and being seen felt good, I still felt like I wasn’t enough and could have done more.
How does this fit with the whole procrastination game?
I kept everything inside. My inadequacy, insecurities, and perfectionism were not something I shared openly. It was a self-protection mechanism. A whole host of other behaviors followed, like distraction, isolation, and negative self-talk. Distractions and isolation are two of my self-sabotaging methods, and the pattern is that these actions reinforce the looping of my negative self-talk. Round and round it goes.
Most of the time, I am aware of what I am doing. So frustrating. Instead of being honest and saying, “I’m feeling quite vulnerable at the moment because I’m opening myself up to new feelings, and it is a risk of being hurt.” It’s easier to fall back into old programs that we think serve us.
I am taking steps against these old programs. I am no longer trying to hide behind excuses by taking ownership of my words and thoughts instead of letting other people dictate the scenario. Of course, every part of me wants to fight that. But being vulnerable is scary, and staying in my comfort zone is much easier.
One of my biggest Ahas is around the comfort zone itself. In my own head, I had an image of who and what I should be.
A picture-perfect image of an organized house with friends and outings. That image was so rigid, structured, and orderly. Now don’t get me wrong, I still want these things, but in my mind, there was no room for growth and learning which only happens when we make mistakes. Mistakes to me were failures, and I should be able to do things the first time. Mistakes were significant stopping points because I couldn’t give myself the space to fail, so I stayed exactly where I was. Comfortable in the same patterns and programs. I constantly reinforced my own negative self-belief because it was what I had always done.
I have cycled through this pattern so many times now. I’ve gotten organized, fit, and embedded healthy nutrition; each time, my mind disrupts the rewiring.
The mind is like a mental muscle, and its stronghold pulls me back. Every time I procrastinate and distract myself, and generally do anything so I don’t have to feel uncomfortable. I’ve been using my energy the wrong way.
When things feel restrictive, I fight it. There has to be a balance. I’ve had relationships in the past but have been very controlling. Now I can see my previous behavior; it was easier to absolve myself from responsibility and not voice my opinions.
Underneath, I’ve always been a bit of a free spirit. I love the wind blowing through my hair, dancing under the trees, laying on the beach watching the clouds drift by, and listening to the crashing waves. Of course, I’m going off on a tangent, but my point is that I have had to permit myself to reconnect to that part.
At the start of this post, I was frustrated and distracted myself by analyzing where this was coming from. But I am addressing things that have taken up a lot of mental energy for the first time. Things that brought so much anxiety and fear that I felt sick to my stomach and would physically shake. My old go-to was to distract myself physically or emotionally.
Now I am speaking and feeling, and all the layers of procrastination and diversion are fading. I’m not the same person I was even a year ago, and I have an entirely new level of awareness and continue to be brave and do things differently. I don’t just say it. I believe it… Baby steps matter, and stepping slowly causes change.
Instead of looking for ways to set myself up for failure, I am setting healthy boundaries, being kinder, and listening to myself. Perfection is an illusion. We create our own standards. Lowering my standards isn’t the answer; I am just being realistic and allowing myself to learn and grow. Mistakes do not mean I am messing things up.
I have put the big stick down and will no longer beat myself up with self-talk—I am lazy, slow, fat, stupid, or I should know better. My past choices do not define me.
The old programming reinforced my unhealthy behavior over the years, which continued to validate the conversations I had with myself. At times, my growth feels like a loss, but I have realized that every experience has shaped me into who I am today, and not one single part defines me. I am learning to embrace all aspects, positive and negative, and I am celebrating my little girl this week—little Faith.
She is speaking up for herself personally and professionally. My blogging and sharing my personal stories of abuse in two published books this past year show how courageous I am. I will no longer silence or block any aspect of me. We are perfectly imperfect, just the way we are.
All Things Wellness, LLC
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