While watching the Seahawks/Green Bay game last Sunday, a thought hit me. These guys are the best in their division. They train nearly every day to be the best. They eat, sleep and breathe their profession. Wouldn’t dedicating themselves to football result in perfect or nearly perfect games? The obvious answer if you watched that game, or any for that matter, is no. So, why do we expect perfection of ourselves when the professionals in any given field are not perfect?
Perfection is actually an unattainable achievement and yet we get really down on ourselves when we miss the mark on any goal or expectation we have. Does beating yourself up help you do better? Generally the answer is no. There are always exceptions but eventually the exceptions implode.
So what is the goal or expectation you have missed that you are now beating yourself up? Evaluate the goal or expectation. Is it realistically achievable? If you’re not sure ask a few trusted people what they think. It might help to get some outside perspective. If it is achievable, what is keeping you from reaching your goal? Is it a negative belief about yourself along the lines of “I’m not good enough,” “I don’t deserve to do well,” “I never reach my goals so why should I think it will happen now”? Start by challenging the negative belief when you notice it.
Are you trying to reach a goal alone? It usually helps if we have others either joining us or encouraging us along the way. Back to those trusted people in your life. Invite them to be a part of your “team” cheering you along or maybe even joining you. Don’t have trusted people in your life? Find them! We were not designed to live life in isolation. Get involved in a group and find people you connect with and, over time, can trust.
Be gentle with yourself in this process. We can be so hard on ourselves, expecting perfection, and when we miss the mark we berate ourselves.
If you are hitting walls in this area, meeting with a coach, counselor or support group could help.