It was almost 11:00pm on Saturday night and I was sitting on a couch in my husband’s cousin’s bedroom with my wide awake 20 month old daughter. There was a portable bed just a meter away, ready to go. Unfortunately, my daughter knew that there was a party going on and refused to go to bed.
ME: Lesson learned: Drive separately so you can leave early with your child or leave her at home with the grandparents.
MY HUSBAND: She is actually doing great.
ME: Yes, but she is going to be miserable tomorrow and it’s your grandmother’s party.
MY HUSBAND: We don’t know that.
I responded with silence as we walked back downstairs for the second time.
The truth is it wasn’t my daughter who wanted to go home, it was me. I was tired and getting grumpy, and I was using my daughter as an excuse.
I was also feeling annoyed and resentful.
Last week I had a very rich discussion about perfectionism with one of my clients. This is what part of it sounded like:
ME: What does seeking perfection bring you?
CLIENT: Stress. Frustration. Anxiety. Disappointment. Tiredness.
ME: What does accepting imperfection bring you?
When we finished up, there was one big question left unanswered:
Can you have high standards while also letting go of being perfect?
There is a big difference between perfectionism and striving for excellence.
You are a nice person. You help your friends out when they are in need. You even help out strangers and refugees. You are a kind hearted and caring person--ready to be there for people in need. You are ready to listen as they vent. Ready to lend them money when they are short. Ready to run errands for them because they are too busy, or out of town.
But what happens when being nice turns into being taken advantage of?
Over the years I have noticed a pattern with regard to the women in my family.
We don’t ask for help.
Even when we are struggling, gasping for breath and about to drown, we still won’t ask.
We are strong, we are independent, we are capable, and we don’t ask for help.
Unfortunately, by being strong, independent and capable, we have made a lot of tough times even tougher.
We have made asking for help mean something.
We have equated asking for help with weakness.
We have created a belief that only weak people ask for help. And we are not weak.
The women in my family are not the only ones.
In my work as a coach, I help my clients uncover the hidden beliefs and meaning that they create out of their circumstances.
If this happened, then it must mean this about me.
If that happened, then it must mean this about me.
We would make meaning out of nothing if we could. Actually we do that too.
But, we can shift that meaning and that belief to anything we want it to be. We have the choice.
In my family, the women have created a belief or story that asking for help means we are weak, but it doesn’t have to mean that at all.
Asking for help can mean that we trust our friends enormously.
Asking for help can mean that we respect those around us to take on some of our burden.
Asking for help can mean we love those around us so much that we are comfortable showing our vulnerabilities to them.
Asking for help can mean that we are strong enough to ask for help.
Asking for help doesn’t mean we are weak.
Asking for help means we could use some help. Period.
Sometimes being bold means asking for help.
It's Your Life. Live It Boldly.