Are your high standards for your body helping or harming you?
Failing to meet high standards can lead us right down the rabbit hole of shame.
Somewhere along our life journey, we absorbed messages our body should look, perform or feel a certain way. We judge ourselves, based on these invisibly acquired high standards and when we “fall short” we are left feeling inadequate and ultimately ashamed.
In my Happy Body Habit Starter Kit, I call this Pitfall #1, having Perfectionism Syndrome where we create a standard of being perfect all the time.
Pitfall #1 Perfectionism Syndrome—having to be perfect all the time. Perfectionism can derail us from building an understanding and compassionate relationship with our body.
When we are stuck in a Perfectionism Pitfall our thought process sounds something like this:
I had a good day (or a bad day) solely based on_______ (usually: what I ate, didn’t eat, exercised or not).
Perfectionism Syndrome is a “win or else,” high standard where we judge ourselves against unrealistic expectations. Just imagine berating your spouse, friend or even housemate because they didn’t fold the laundry, refill toilet paper, empty the dishwasher or make the bed perfectly, all the time.
“You are worthless and never do anything right.” Sound a little like how you might talk to your body sometimes (or too often)?
Healthy, happy relationships don’t live and thrive in perfection. We don’t have perfect relationships with our friends and family. In our most loving relationships, there is a give-and-take that allows us to be human, with human failures and missteps.
You have a relationship with your body already. The question is does having to be perfect make that relationship feel more like a battle.
Time to hoist yourself out of this shame sinkhole?
Try this. Dig deeper into your history. A little journaling can go a long way to understanding your drive for perfection.
• In the context of your body, what is your idea of perfect and what’s the matter with not being perfect? What’s not okay with being less than?
• What do you expect from you and your body? And what’s the prize for winning?
• If you are really in the mood to dig, where else does this perfectionism show up in your life (work, housecleaning)?
• And one step deeper….where did all this drive to be perfect come from (hint, hint, take a look at your upbringing, childhood, and family influences)?
• And lastly, when you fall short and don’t achieve what you want with your body, what do you tell yourself? Do you sound like anyone you know (coach, parent, sibling) when you talk to yourself?
In Chapter 2 of my book Getting Happy with Your Body, I guide you through creating a “Body Autobiography” where you excavate how your family history influences how you feel about your body.
I love how journaling brings us more awareness and can open the door to understanding ourselves and our body, better.
When we understand better we can then treat ourselves even better.
PS) Want to see the rest of my Starter Kit to Getting Happy with your Body. Click here and I’ll get it right to you.
Photo by Tiko Giorgadze