Each week, my friend and co-host of the Double X Factor, Spencer Williams and I, select a topic that we find ourselves dealing with or working on in in our own personal growth and then we chat about that in our daily three minute podcast.
As it typically goes when either of us suggests the topic we are noticing in our own lives, we each do a bit of research and looking within to see what comes up that we bring to you in these short segments. I’d like to share what I found as I looked within myself on this topic… fear of making the “wrong” decision. This is where my own version of perfectionism has been holding me hostage.
If you have ever made a decision that at the time felt like it was totally true and best for you and it lead to some amazing results and then perhaps suddenly took a turn for the worst – you can certainly find yourself unwilling to make additional decisions that feel like they are true or good for you. Depending on the level of trauma you experience when you decision went south, you can find yourself completely locked up in a perfectionistic double bind… darned if you do and darned if you don’t. Frozen.
So if you have found yourself locked in indecision, here is something that can help start moving you out of fear of making the wrong decision… look a little deeper.
If you have lost trust in yourself because a previous decision went in a terribly painful direction, it might not be that you fear making the wrong decision as much as it is about trying to avoid humiliation, shame, guilt or being hurt. That inner voice that is fearful of a repeat performance of something hurtful can be so much louder than our intuition and it can drown it out for sure.
Perfectionism and thinking we must never make a so called “wrong” decision is a shield. One of the many forms of armor we use to protect ourselves. Dr. Brene’ Brown reminds us that perfectionism is not self-improvement, at its core, it’s about trying to earn approval. Let me say that one again, perfectionism is about trying to earn approval. And she also reminds us that perfectionism is NOT a way to avoid shame. Perfectionism is a function of shame.
If that’s not enough to encourage you to release your perfectionism, know that it is self-destructive and addictive. We think if look or do everything perfectly enough, we can avoid feelings of shame, blame and judgement. But it doesn’t work because often when we experience these feelings, we often believe it’s because we weren’t prefect enough.
So, what I am doing is looking within. My reluctance to make a decision has its roots in fear. What is driving that fear of making a “wrong” decision? What has happened to me in the past when I felt I got it wrong that might be keeping me stuck now in the present?
Rather than seeking approval via perfectionism, I am now trying to seek CONNECTION. VERRY different approach. And this takes vulnerability – the antidote to perfectionism.
Sounds counter-intuitive doesn’t it? Vulnerability doesn’t’ mean doesn’t necessarily mean sharing our deepest, darkest, most painful emotions. It’s about intimacy. Think about that word… in-to-me-see. It’s not just about our struggles, but also about what’s amazing in our lives.
When we over-protect ourselves with perfectionism, we miss out on connection. All for the sake of thinking we need to be in control in some way. Suppressing our true selves with perfectionism builds walls around our heart. We can truly experience the amazing emotions relationships offer if we’re not authentic and vulnerable.
Vulnerability isn’t just the center of hard emotions, it’s the core of ALL emotions. To feel is to be vulnerable. So if you believe vulnerability is weakness, means we believe feeling is weakness. Like it or not, humans are emotional beings. Vulnerability is the birthplace of what we all want… belonging, love and joy.
Life coach and author Christine Hassler has some great tips on developing our skill of being vulnerable. If it’s a skill - that means you can learn it – but it’s gonna take some practice.
Sandy Edie Hansen
I use this space to "Chat" about things I am working through and learning in my life currently. Join me!