“The Gifts of Imperfection” outlines 10 guideposts for living a wholehearted life. If you missed our post from last month, we outlined 3 of them, focusing on being unafraid and deliberate in our actions, HERE.
This month, we’re focusing on three that are all about getting in the right state mentally, being inspired, and not letting anxiety take over:
- Letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth
Recognizing this has been life-changing for us. We’ve spent most of our lives (like so many other people) feeling accomplished when we’re busy and productive — measuring our worth by how much we get done, rather than how happy we are. But just as important to a whole-hearted life is the ability to be present in the moment and happy with simply being, regardless of whether things are “getting done.” Scheduling time for rest and play can be just as crucial in our lives as scheduling meetings and to-do list items.
This philosophy extends to mental health in a major way. Our mental health is enhanced by “being,” even more than “doing.” Within our community, this can be as simple as hanging out together: listening to music, taking a walk, or sharing thoughts about the day. When we let go of exhaustion and productivity as self-worth, we can see the value in just sitting on the floor of someone’s room to connect with them. We can just enjoy being with each other.
- Letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle
This is one we relate to the most here at Help in the Home. So often, we rely on the adrenaline rush of anxiety, fueled by procrastination. We put things off, then start and finish projects in record time, and feel a rush of accomplishment and catharsis when it’s finally complete. That feeling can be addicting, and so hard to transition out of.
But wow — it’s amazing to be able to move through the day with peace and serenity instead of pressure. When we stop letting anxiety guide every aspect of our lives, we can do exactly that. Less anxiety allows us to be more present in the moment with our community members. Presence is the key to whole-hearted living, and it’s something we strive for in the mental health space as much as possible. We’re headed into a time of the year when this is even more important. As we begin the holiday season, we can find much more joy in these couple of months by focusing on presence with the people around us, and taking a break from the endless cycle of anxiety.
- Letting go of perfectionism
There are times when external forces steal our joy. But plenty of other times, we steal away our own joy before we even reach it, by judging ourselves for not being perfect. When we think of perfection, the words “judgment” and “paralysis” come to mind. There’s nothing wrong with striving for excellence, or doing your best. But when perfection is the standard you hold yourself to, it becomes paralyzing. It’s an impossible standard to reach, so we remain stuck in this constant cycle of judging ourselves for not being “good enough.”
Letting go of perfection — especially in the quest for mental health, which can never truly be perfect — allows you to move forward. This is something we teach our community members all the time. It’s okay to be vulnerable and make mistakes. Leaning into those imperfections, and finding lessons and joy in them, is the path to joy.
With Thanksgiving coming up soon, we’re heading into a season of gratitude. At the top of our list of things we’re thankful for are our community members and the family we’ve built at Help in the Home. When we’re able to let go of perfectionism, anxiety, and the constant quest for productivity, we can spend more time simply enjoying our time with those people. There’s so much value, especially this time of the year, in being, rather than doing.
We would love to hear your thoughts as you read through these guideposts to wholehearted living over the next few months. We’ll be outlining the guideposts in a 3-part blog series and talking more about them in our newsletters through the end of 2019 (Part 1 of the blog HERE). But if you’d like to join the discussion even more, we would recommend that you read the book too! Whether you have a loved one who is a community member here, you’re thinking about starting services from Help in the Home, or you just want to experience more joy in your life, through your imperfections, we’d love to hear your thoughts about the book once you finish!