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12 Tips to Overcome Perfectionism for Writers

12 Tips to Overcome Perfectionism for Writers

I’m embarrassed to share this, but I have 65K words in a Scrivener database and 80 unseen blog post drafts collecting dust in WordPress. If I want to overcome perfection and finally hit “publish,” then I’ve got some work to do.

Hiding is painful, yet reasonable excuses are endless. If we don’t challenge these reasons for hoarding our creativity, we might end up buried alive in manuscripts and brilliant but fading pages.

Overcome Perfectionism and Writer’s Block

To free the mind and body of the constriction perfectionism places on them, we must create movement and flow. Let’s dig into these actionable tips and resources and overcome perfectionism together.

1. Change How You See Your Inner Critic

What if you could push that inner critic down so far back into the shadows she’d find those single lost socks you haven’t seen since 2011? Maybe that’s what causes writer’s block. You successfully strangle the inner enemy and the unexpected side effect is the silencing of creativity.

What if your inner critic wasn’t your enemy at all? What if a little love and compassion could make that critical voice softer and more secure? 

When we seek to numb or quash the parts of ourselves we aren’t so keen on, we also suffocate the brilliant and joyous aspects. To overcome perfectionism and produce work we can feel happy with, we must give the inner critic a good dose of compassion and change how we respond to tough emotions. 

perfectionism writing

Find out more about healing your inner critic…

2. Address Imposter Syndrome by Dancing the 2-Step

In the podcast The Long and the Short of It, Pete Sheppard suggests using the Imposter Two-Step to get past the ubiquitous Imposter Syndrome.

Step 1 – Ask yourself what the critical voice is saying. Step 2 – Respond to that inner voice with your truth.

Don’t let those thoughts take up space without addressing them. Sometimes confronting these doubts head-on is just what’s needed to diminish their power over your choices. I highly recommend listening to the linked podcast episode on this topic.

3. Know Your Value is Not Dependent on Achievement and Mastery Requires Practice

Intellectually, we can be aware that worth isn’t dependent on what one accomplishes, but the subconscious mind may be running on outdated beliefs that anything less than perfect is a failure. This part of ourselves needs a reminder that practice promises improvement, not perfection.overcome perfectionism

You may be naturally good at many things. You may not even have to try very hard to be good at most things. Practice is something even brilliant artists need to become masters of their craft. Know that anything new requires effort and mistakes.

Really take a few moments to sit with this thought – without doing or achieving anything, you are worthy of love, respect, kindness, and patience. Give those things to yourself and the grip of perfectionism will loosen.

4. Mistakes Can Be How Progress is Made

There’s no avoiding making mistakes. Instead of trying to subvert the inevitable, work like a scientist.

Scientists don’t set out to prove themselves right, that would lead to uninformed conclusions. They create a hypothesis and try to prove it wrong. This is how discoveries are made.

We experiment and improve by figuring out where we went wrong and observing what worked. Make mistakes and you’re making progress!

5. Overcome Perfectionism by Creating Community

Interrupt the cognitive dissonance of unrealistic standards by enlisting outside reviewers you can trust at every stage of the writing process.

Have a couple of writer friends look at an early draft. Get a fellow blogger, author or freelancer to check out your midpoint work. When it’s in the final stages, have a mentor or senior writer give their input.

This won’t be necessary for every piece of work you do, but it can certainly help move your greater works along the pipeline and give you valuable skills and connections too.

For more details on this step, check out Kerry Ann Rockquemore’s invaluable advice on writing and procrastination here.

6. Know your writing process and set realistic expectations. Avoid procrastination.

[x_pullquote cite=”Kerry Ann Rockquemore ” type=”left”]For most writers this involves a process of initial drafting, editing, sharing, discussing, revising, presenting, more revising, and submitting. If you can get clear about what your actual process looks like … then you can start to have realistic expectations about each stage of the process and your timelines for finishing manuscripts.[/x_pullquote]

Structure and self- awareness will free your mind from unrealistic expectations and help you have a better relationship with time. We often overestimate how much we can get done in the time we have available. This can cause stress, procrastination, and burnout.

Give yourself more time than you need for projects and become mindful of how much time each step of your writing process requires.

7. Create a mind-map

Maybe you’re like me, and you’re a visual-thinker. Create a mind map to visualize all that’s involved in your topic. Plot out the main idea and branch off into questions, answers, problems, and related ideas.

If you’re feeling blocked, this could be just the thing to get those wheels turning again. You could even include the visual in your published post or article.

8. Freewrite first

Do you find it easy to write inspired Facebook comments or insightful journal entries, but when you go to write a blog post or academic paper you freeze? Capture that feeling of spontaneous flow anytime using the freewrite method.

Don’t censor your words or think about the purpose of your writing. Let anything and everything flow from you. This intuitive rhythm of writing will undoubtedly produce something you can incorporate or massage into a rough draft.

Overthinking and imposing unnecessary structure on your creative mind can halt the process of developing ideas. Let go and free those words.

Learn more about free-writing here.

9. Create a recipe for focus

Use a timer or word count motivation to put some fun and excitement into drafting written works. Let music trigger your creative process. Set up a recipe for success and do it every time you sit down to write. D. Allision Lee wrote an excellent blog post about staying focused while writing here.

When I hit play on my Vaporwave playlist, that first song immediately gets me into a writing groove. If you write regularly and pair it with a set of habits, like playing a particular playlist, you’re tapping into the power of your adaptive unconscious. Focus can become second nature when it’s a learned practice.

10. Don’t edit until you have distance from your writing

Han Solo in Carbonite by William Warby

Don’t read your writing until the next day, the next week, or at least a few hours later. Distance = objectivity.

I tend to write a sentence and immediately read it over, obsessing over each word, immersing myself in the piece so inextricably I feel as though I’m Han Solo in carbonite.

For the love of muffins, do not take that route if you want to overcome perfectionism.

[x_blockquote cite=”Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird” type=”left”]Of course there will always be more you can do, but you have to remind yourself that perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.[/x_blockquote]

11. Soothe Your Nervous System

If you’re really stuck – your body may be the answer.

I’ll wager while you’re in the grip of an episode of self-critical brain freeze your body is also feeling tense. You might be holding your breath and sitting for hours with your shoulders up to your ears.

Those deeply embedded fears of not being good enough are stored in your body as sensory memories. To change your response mentally, try responding to emotions in a new way physically.

Practice breathwork, meditation, and somatic experiencing. Make these beautiful practices part of your every day, and you may notice a new you forming.

12. Change creative mediums

Take a break from writing and make a collage, draw the tree outside your window, do a little karaoke or have a dance party. Any creative activity can get your writing juices flowing.

Try switching from typing at your computer to handwriting. When done writing, edit in a new location. Anything that forces the brain to switch gears can dig you out of a snowbank of perfectionism or writer’s block.

[x_blockquote cite=”Marsha Sinetar, Ordinary People as Monks and Mystics” type=”left”]By relaxing our grip on the inordinate need for perfection we create a better emotional atmosphere to experience actualization.[/x_blockquote]

Overcoming perfectionism and developing creative flow is a journey that requires patience, practice, time, and often silence.

In this silence, we go inside ourselves and learn the skills of self-trust and self-acceptance. We integrate our strengths and weaknesses into a realistic concept of our whole self. This is the core of how to overcome perfectionism.

overcome perfectionism

Let me know in the comments what your favorite tips from the post were and if you have anything you’d like to add.

 

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Heal Your Inner Critic with the Internal Family Systems Model

Heal Your Inner Critic with the Internal Family Systems Model

You’re sitting down to write and that darn critic inside your head starts with the same old attacks and insults. The inner critic knows exactly what’s needed to trigger your tender inner child’s worst fears of not being good enough, smart enough, or of being too much.

While this interaction takes place entirely in your head, it can leave you feeling drained, alone, worthless, and paralyzed in creative endeavors.   

inner critic

The cycle of the inner critic has me wanting a cookie and a little wine.

There’s another part of you that tries to calm the inner child and quiet the pain with coping mechanisms learned long ago. This is when addictions and unhealthy choices may come into play further fueling the critic’s attacks and continuing this injurious cycle. These patterns will repeat until you change how you relate to your injured parts.

Lasting change to internal dialogue happens by becoming a loving, wise leader and healer of these inner parts of yourself. Reparent yourself and update those old survival techniques by accessing inner wisdom and compassion.

What is the IFS Model?

The Internal Family Systems Model (IFS), developed by Dr. Richard Schwartz, is a gentle and productive way to unite and heal aspects of the mind by developing self-leadership and changing learned behaviors and perspectives. Using this model can help you develop self-compassion for all aspects of yourself, even the parts that feel critical and controlling.

The basics of this model of healing assert that it is natural for the mind to be divided into parts, all of these parts have good intentions and have taken on roles they weren’t ready for at an early age, and we all have a Self that naturally knows how to heal and lead all of our parts skillfully.

“A person who is leading with the Self is easy to identify. Others describe such a person as open, confident, accepting — as having presence. They feel immediately at ease in a Self-led person’s company, as they sense that it is safe to relax and release their own Selves.” Dr. Richard Schwartz, PhD

To integrate these parts and create a harmonious internal environment, we must be able to recognize the guidance of our higher Self and allow it to be the leader.

As a good leader, this Self values the skills and contributions of all parts and sees their worth even in tough times. This compassionate acknowledgment provides the safe space each inner aspect of ourselves needs to feel connected and creative. All of our parts will feel represented and acknowledged and be able to contribute their skills and talents without going to extremes or being aggressive.

Let’s take a look at how to work with your inner critic and perfectionistic tendencies using the IFS Model. We’ll try to tap into that Self that knows mistakes are beautiful too.

How do I get that inner critic to stop calling me names?

Confronting your critic harshly will not work. These parts of you are like parts of a family. They are all your inner children who have been forced to take on roles beyond their abilities. Compassion is necessary to get these parts functioning at their best.

To re-parent yourself and develop a healthy inner world you must hear the stories of your inner children and gently release them from the past where they had to protect your more vulnerable parts from real threats. To heal is to integrate all of these parts, understand their purpose and their mission, and create space for them to feel safe and cared for.

To do this, you must focus on one aspect of your inner world at a time, and ask any extreme voices to step back and allow you to talk only with the inner critic, for example.

You want to get to know the critic, their mission and their worries. Asking parts that have judgments against the critic to step back, can make accessing the true Self easier. This creates an entirely new emotional space where you invite the curious, compassionate, and calm Self instead of feelings of confusion, ambivalence, and frustration from other inner parts.

For examples of this “stepping back” process, you can learn more about the IFS Model at The Center for Self Leadership.

Are you excited to try this process, but don’t know where to start?

Healing Journal Prompts

Click here to download the prompts.

I’ve created a series of journal prompts to help you use the Internal Family Systems Model to heal your inner critic. Click the image below to download immediately.

How do I become a compassionate leader to my inner aspects?

Inside of all of us, we have access to our higher Self. It’s the container for all of our parts, the trolley that takes us to our destination. This Self is a compassionate leader and knows how to heal intuitively.

Many spiritual practices have a name for this Self. It is the soul, Atman, Buddha-nature, Advaita Vedanta. It is pure awareness.

When we relax our thinking, judging mind and create a healing space inside, we access this connected, loving Self. Allow this Self to be your guide inside and out and you will operate from a place of intuitive knowing and relating. 

What are the 8 Cs of Self-Leadership? 

internal family systems model

Have you ever been in the presence of someone who felt rooted like a tree and exuded such a secure sense of themselves it calmed your nerves immediately? It’s likely this person embodied the 8 Cs of Self-Leadership seen in the graphic here.

Learning to accept all of our parts and to relate to ourselves with unconditional love and compassion eases the anxiety that often keeps us from being present. Releasing anxiety as a way of being creates a vast space for these eight qualities to express themselves.

Being calm allows us to be curious and connected. Feeling confident brings clarity and courage. Compassion paves the path for creativity to flourish. Using the IFS model regularly can help ease your critical inner voice and create an environment conducive to embodying these qualities.

It’s easy to continue on with the internal dialogue we’re used to, but that means the same results continue too. Relating to ourselves compassionately must be an intentional process. This is why the Internal Family Systems Model is genius. It provides a framework to have an internal therapy session or just an honest and supportive familial conversation with the hurting and burdened parts of ourselves.

Every aspect of your inner world deserves love and compassion. The inner critic has dedicated their life to protecting your most wounded parts. Respect and appreciation for this once necessary function creates an environment where peace can grow. With a little love and tenderness, maybe that critic will become your champion.

Many thanks to Thomas Hübl and the Collective Trauma Summit 2019 for featuring the conversation with Dr. Richard Schwartz, Ph.D. and Terry Patten on using the IFS Model for personal healing. This post was inspired by that transformative exercise. 

Do You Self-Sabotage by Taking on Too Much at Once?

Do You Self-Sabotage by Taking on Too Much at Once?

Do you self-sabotage by underestimating how much time you need to get things done?

One of the biggest causes of overwhelm is underestimating how much time a task will actually take to complete, and taking on too much as a result.

Before I paused my coaching practice to focus on creating online courses, I had a client who consistently didn’t allow enough time to complete her big dream projects, thus setting herself up for disappointment and overwhelm.

She wanted to launch a podcast and gave herself one week to locate and price a recording studio and complete five interviews, which had not yet been scheduled. She didn’t consider many of the other tasks that go along with starting a new podcast such as, setting it up with iTunes, creating a home for it on a website, writing the questions and plotting out the storyline and theme, etc.

This wasn’t the only project she was underestimating. She had previously planned to create an opt-in, have her web person program a pop-up, create a landing page, and send out an email to a cold list of subscribers all while she was working on a deadline writing project from a client. On top of all that, she was coming down with the flu. She gave herself three days to do this, without considering the emotional work and day to day stuff she had to do.

Does this sound familiar? We all do this at times. Time management is a multi-faceted skill set with deep emotional ties for some of us.

Could the Issue Be Fear-Based?

There are emotional and logistical factors involved in estimating the scope and weight of any project you take on.

Emotionally, we create situations that seem familiar or reinforce our long-held limiting beliefs about ourselves. If you have a belief that you’re “not good enough,” taking on too much may serve to confirm that belief.

If you’re used to being under stress and pressure, you may overload your schedule because it feels familiar, even if it’s not serving your new goals and beliefs.

There can be many emotional payoffs for staying in overwhelm. My client was setting herself up for failure, she could confirm her long-standing beliefs that she was unworthy of success.

You may be saying to yourself, “Why would anyone want themselves to fail?”

Think about how much more comfortable known disappointment is versus the fear involved with succeeding and entering an unknown world of challenges and vulnerability. Clinging to limiting beliefs, and staying in a state of overwhelm, may seem more comfortable to our subconscious minds.

Logistically, my client didn’t have a system for estimating just how much work she was committing herself to, and how to realistically set aside time for the tasks. She needed to slow down, do a little planning before committing to a project or deadline, and establish a visual way to see where her time was going.

Do You Want to Stop Taking on Too Much at Once? WATCH THIS VIDEO.

With a few practices that elevate your self-awareness, you can start to know exactly how much time you have for new projects and identify your personal working style.

I’ve been using the same system for over a decade to help me estimate how much time I really have available and the amount of time and energy new tasks will require from me.

How to Do This For Yourself

It starts with setting realistic, yet ambitious goals, then break them down into next actions.

If you’re doing something for the first time, you likely can’t predict every step or action needed to complete the project. You may just have to jump in there and try it out. You will soon see more of the picture as you start doing.

For example, my partner is new to pitching freelance writing prospects. He set aside one hour for researching companies to send cold emails to. When he actually did the task, he realized it was going to take more work.

He broke down “researching companies” into smaller next actions. He had to dig deeper than finding a general email address and find the right person to send the email to, someone who could be a contact for him.

I suggested he envision what else may need to be done in this process. He would need to draft the pitch email, consider what areas of the email would change for each pitch, edit the final drafts, format them in the email program he’d use. While he was waiting for responses, he would need to draft and edit a follow-up email. I also suggested before he starts this process, he set up a spreadsheet to collect the information he would need to track his pitches and responses.

What he originally estimated to be a one-hour job was actually a two-week sprint. He would set aside 1-2 hours, every other day, for the next two weeks, not including the waiting period for responses, on his Google Calendar.

When he thought the project would only take one hour, and he failed to achieve what was planned, it was disappointing, even a little deflating. Now he feels confident he can accomplish the project, and do a great job, in the time he’s earmarked.

Is the Effort Worth It?

When you’re doing something new, fear and doubt will often linger around your head. You’re making new neural connections, establishing new habits and ways of seeing. It takes extra time and focus to get new habits going. Be persistent. Don’t give up because it takes extra effort to start something new. Your effort will pay off in no time, and you’ll have the new skill of being the master of how you spend your time.

What goal or project are you going to break down into next actions and plot on your calendar? Let me know in the comments. Have you tried this system or another system? I’d love to hear about it!

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Release Perfectionism and Reach Goals Through Self-Acceptance

Release Perfectionism and Reach Goals Through Self-Acceptance

Perfectionism is a stealthy beast. It puts a strain on bodily systems and cripples self-worth. It’s a fractured lens through which to see the world. 

The perfectionism lens can make us think we, and others, need to live up to specific expectations of what being human “should” look like.

There is no “should.” There is no one way for a human to be.

Self-Acceptance is the Key to Achieving Goals

We’re each on a journey, walking alongside one another with paths intersecting. We pick up tools as we walk which help us to see in new ways. 

Inside each of us exists polarities and paradox. We would like the world to see us as one way, but there’s always an opposite within us that we must also embrace.

We all have ignorance, anger, and pain. There is no possibility of knowing everything or being perfect. Striving to be something other than what you are will keep you from appreciating and sharing your unique gifts.

Nature isn't perfect, and She doesn't strive. We too are nature. Share on X

I love this passage from Ordinary People as Monks and Mystics by Marsha Sinetar. It traces a bit of the root of perfectionism, a belief system we’ve all experienced as humans being, and presents an alternative to striving.

perfectionism

Release Perfectionism and Embrace Compassion

Be gentle with yourself. If you hold an achievement-based sense of self-love, you may feel your worth is in the efforts you put forth. Nothing can change your worth. We are all equal here, with or without achievements or specific qualities.

Exchange the perfectionism lens for the compassion lens. Instead of striving to be perfect, allow yourself to experience self-acceptance and compassion.

Empathy, fierce compassion, and persistence can create lasting changes and dynamic ripples in all the lives you touch. Your imperfection can create space for connection and understanding.

Whenever I feel judgment and perfectionism creeping into my perspective, I remind myself my goal is connection and compassion. We don’t need to be perfect, we just need to take care.

Mantra Practice

release perfectionism

So many personal development courses online prey upon our feeling something is wrong with us, promising quick changes and leaning on insecurities to sell products. They sell the idea we need to change ourselves to be acceptable or whole.

I believe when we let ourselves be, we make room for love. Love may not be all we need to make positive changes in ourselves and the world, but without it, we have no starting point.

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Don’t Let Sour Grapes Keep You From Enjoying Life

Don’t Let Sour Grapes Keep You From Enjoying Life

Have you ever heard the term “sour grapes” from the fable The Fox and the Grapes by Aesop?

The fox in the story attempts to reach a bunch of grapes on an out of reach vine. He fails in his attempt, and instead of accepting his failure, he says the grapes aren’t tasty enough anyway.

The book I’m currently reading, Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking by Daniel C. Dennett, prompted me to reflect on this phrase.

Dennett says, “… sometimes people pretend not to care about something they can’t have by disparaging it.”

He suggests one might simply mention the term sour grapes to encourage someone to reflect on their own about their thinking. The term is an “intuition pump,” as he describes it, that can catalyze one’s own intuitive powers and evolve their perspective.

A series of related examples I’ve come across recently ran through my mind. The most memorable being Trump saying he didn’t want Time’s “Man of the Year” distinction anyway, while Time magazine said it was not offered.

An author and mystic I deeply admire, Toko-pa, shared this quote from the book Wild Women Who Run with the Wolves By Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Esteson on her Facebook page,”It is a psychic fact that when one has given birth to a beautiful thing something mean will also arise, even if only momentarily, something that is jealous, lacks understanding, or shows disdain. The new child will be called down, called ugly, and condemned by one or more persistent antagonists.”

This quote, to me, rings with sour grapes also. The mean child being jealous of the beautiful child, not recognizing the value of its unique existence, letting shame burn a hole in its heart.

We’ve all experienced this feeling of sour grapes. Success and the pursuit of happiness are so lauded in our society, yet teamwork, humility, and compassion are often left untouted by the loudest voices. It’s no wonder we would feel ashamed by a failed attempt, or unworthy due to lack of achievement.

These sour feelings of disappointment don’t need to define our responses to situations. We are able to choose how we perceive things. If we fail, the opportunity to see the lesson, adjust our course, and try again is in our hands. If we see others succeed and shine, it’s our success too. We all play a part in one another’s wins and losses.

The truth is, we don’t know how anything will work out. The grapes may be out of reach. We may have wanted them badly and tried with our best effort to reach them. We may see others applauded and accomplished while we feel unseen.

Letting go of expectations for how our experience should look can make that sour taste turn into the lingering sweetness of gratitude.

Support others with compassion and generosity. Don’t let achievements be your definition of worthiness. You are worthy now. These strengths of character are the sweet grapes you’ve been longing for all along.

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Develop Productive Emotional Habits through Self-Awareness and Intentional Action

Develop Productive Emotional Habits through Self-Awareness and Intentional Action

Have you ever felt so upset by an argument with your loved one or friend it made your work-day suffer? You felt distracted, exhausted, and totally preoccupied with what you said or wished you said. When you went to bed that night, thoughts of the day bounced around in your head keeping you awake, starting a cycle that would continue to haunt you the next day.

Our emotions can overwhelm us in many scenarios throughout the day. In the moment, it can feel so urgent and important that you resolve these feelings somehow or you just can’t focus on anything else.

We’ve all been there.

If we aren’t too busy being taken down by our intense emotions, we may learn to see them for what they are – passing exclamations of our experience, secrets telling us how we see the world and what we want or don’t want.

We all have powerful emotional responses to particular triggers, but we don’t want them to keep us from creating and loving life. To learn to let go in the moment and accept what is with a sense of peace, we need to expand our self-awareness and the space between intention and action.

Why Is It So Hard to Change Emotional Patterns?

Emotional reactions are automated by our brain. It’s like riding a bike. Once we learn how to ride, it becomes automatic. We don’t need to focus as much attention on that particular process. We see situations that seem familiar, a chemical release is triggered in our amygdala, and the automatic response is set into motion.

We’ve got to throw a stick in the spokes to get our brains to respond in a new way. This requires us to intentionally examine those automatic reactions, becoming aware of how we’re feeling and creating a space where we can objectively choose how to respond. This is what neuroplasticity is – changing the structure of the brain, or neural patterns, through objective observation and intentional actions.

The Magic Happens Between Intention and Action

The gap between intention and action is where you meet yourself deeply. The wider we can make this gap, the more time you have to consider how to respond to a trigger that sets off your emotional patterns.

Our automated responses are fueled by our stories. Fear, pain, and unmet needs burn in this space. When we don’t look at these painful feelings and treat them with love and compassion, we continue to react to triggers in defensive and protective modes. This space between intention and action also contains vast beauty, meaning, and the opportunity to be vulnerable and open to yourself and others deeply.

We will often do anything to avoid looking at our true pain. It may be because it’s too much to hold, and we have other things on our plate. We might be fighting for survival. You will heal when you are ready. Practice these exercises with a gentle, loving heart. Take it easy, and trust in yourself.

The process of changing any habit is awkward until it becomes second nature. The first step is setting your intention and committing, and recommitting, to the process. By practicing new ways of seeing and being,  your growing awareness will open up a new world of understanding. Hang in there! It’s worth it! You’ll be able to use these skills throughout your life. We never stop growing.

The Goal is to Respond Rather than React

There are constant opportunities to change how we react to stimulus throughout the day. When someone judges us, we may react with defensiveness or turn inward and judge ourselves. A person might be obnoxious on the phone when we call customer service. It is possible to choose to take a deep breath, let go, and even laugh. We don’t have to hold on to what pains us by reacting negatively.

When we welcome whatever happens into our experience as if it was meant to be there, we make space for life and possibility – even when it’s not expected or preferred. Pushing experiences away only makes the pain more powerful. Accepting things we can’t control, and letting go of control, with a relaxed, compassionate heart will completely change your perspective.

This doesn’t mean all strong responses are inappropriate. Fighting for justice requires us to have fierce compassion. As Jack Kornfield tells us in his blog post Responding with Love and Courage, when we are working towards saving our own lives, or the lives of others, we stand up with strength and vigor. Anger is an appropriate response to certain situations, but it’s not a self-righteous anger. To work in this way requires just as much work on our self-awareness, practice in letting go, and developing keen clarity of purpose and action.

How Exactly Does One Become More Self-Aware and Intentional?

Self-awareness is the key to making that space between our triggers and how we choose to respond wider and more peaceful. There are many things we can observe about ourselves and how we interact with the world around us. When we illuminate our self-knowledge, we also expand our awareness of our connection to all other things and people.

I’ve created a journaling worksheet based on multiple exercises from the book Emotional Alchemy by Tara Bennett-Goleman, and from insights collected from live talks by Tara Brach. It can be downloaded here.

The worksheet will take you through steps to practice to create more space around your emotions and understand why you do what you do. Doing these exercises will help you choose actions and responses that bring you closer to your values and goals.

 

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Do You Want Your Emotions to Control You or Inform You?

Emotions play a part in everything we do. If we’re not intentional, emotions can run our lives for us. They can take us on a wild ride in a fictional reality, keeping us from being truly present in the moment. Taking a look into our darkness, exposing our faults and vulnerabilities, can be terrifying, not to mention exhausting. It’s a lifetime process, and it begins right now.

Meet yourself deeply, and you’ll be able to see others with the same depth and compassion. Give yourself the love and respect you need and want. Slow down, respond to emotional triggers with intention, and have power over what you spend time and energy thinking about and doing.

[x_blockquote cite=”Tara Brach” type=”center”]”We can notice our patterns and choose to pause, bring tenderness to the parts of us that feel ashamed, and remind ourselves that love is always loving us. There is a tenderness can hold us. We can pause and make fresh choices. It’s not the self that is getting out of a bad habit – it’s the waking up of our awareness. The hungry ghost begins to lose its power when its met with compassion. Pause, deepen your attention, sense what fresh possibilities might be available.” [/x_blockquote]

To hear about how to stay present without striving to change and tuning into your own intuition to make decisions, sign up for my newsletter and be the first to hear when it’s posted.

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