“The Gifts of Imperfection” outlines 10 guideposts for living a wholehearted life. If you missed our post from the last couple months, you can read more about focusing on being unafraid and deliberate in our actions, HERE and more about letting go of anxiety and perfectionism HERE.
This month, we’re focusing on the last four guideposts, which all come back to being sure of ourselves and not spending energy worrying about other people:
- Letting go of what people think
Worrying about how others are judging us is truly the thief of peace of mind. When we spend so much time thinking about how others feel about us, we forget to look inside and check in with how we feel about ourselves.
In the mental health space, whether dealing with an illness ourselves or caring for a loved one who is, worrying about what other people think is so common. The thought of someone believing we’re not “normal,” or someone thinking something is “wrong” with a person we care about can make us feel awful.
That’s when it’s important to look inward: Are we living according to our own core values? Are we happy with ourselves? If so, we could all stand to benefit from ignoring that nagging worry about what others think.
- Letting go of comparison
How do you measure success? Is it according to your own internal barometer and the goals you’ve set for yourself? Or do you take a look at what others are doing, and judge your own success off everyone else’s actions?
We’re guilty of this too — looking for validation in others when it comes to how we see our success. But comparing ourselves to others is a trap for being “less than” or “better” than someone else. Neither scenario inspires true joy.
It’s much more fulfilling to live your life in relation to others than in comparison to them. We encourage our community members to remember this. Instead of thinking about how they compare to someone else, we encourage them to look at how they add to the lives of others, which is the most important measure.
- Letting go of self-doubt and “supposed to”
Comparison rears its ugly head in the form of “supposed to” declarations, too. When we get these ideas in our head of what we’re “supposed to” do in our lives, we’re really just comparing our own path to others’ standards. But what someone else is doing isn’t necessarily what we should do.
This guidepost is especially important to live by in the mental health space. So often, we see families or community members get discouraged if everything isn’t unfolding as they envisioned. But life has much more joy when we forget the “supposed to” and instead put energy into generating gratitude for what is.
- Letting go of “being cool” and always being in control
Mistakes happen. We’re not always going to be calm, cool, and collected, breezing through life without messing up. That’s why it’s so important to let go of this constant need to control and to find humor in the mess-ups. Some of our biggest laughs are the ones with friends over a mistake!
At Help in the Home, we make it a practice to praise progress and point out personal mistakes with grace and laughter, not judgment or harshness. We remind each other (and our community members remind us) that we’re doing our best. We may not have control of the outcome. But we can control our response to it, and we can control the amount of gratitude we have for our present moment.
With the holiday season in full swing, comparison can be a common theme throughout these weeks. We compare our families to other people’s families, we compare our gifts to others’ gifts, the parties we’re invited to to those others are invited to. The list goes on and on. But this can also be a reflective time, and a chance to come back to ourselves. Our goal for 2020 is to look internally for our joy, judge our success only off our own core values, and find gratitude in the present moment, no matter how messy.
If you’ve enjoyed following our writing on the “Gifts of Imperfection,” we recommend that you read the book! We hope you’ll share your own thoughts about these guideposts.
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 how these guideposts are showing up in your own lives!
Read more on Help in the Home and The Gifts of Imperfection: