A large part of my personal growth has come from simply realizing, and accepting, where I have been wrong in my thinking. Perfectionism is my normal, and has been for a very long time – the high standards and unrealistic ideals are all too familiar to me and have unfortunately become my natural way of perceiving my world. Once I became aware of my harmful ways of thinking I began to analyze the ideals I was holding in my life. These ideals were causing me stress because they were unattainable. I was consistently being let down. I have to let go of the ideals and accept a more realistic view of the world. Here are some of the ideals that I am still working on letting go so that I can be a happier and more calm and content person:
– I will be good and successful at whatever I do (teaching, cooking, hobbies)
– My son will always be well-behaved and will listen to me
– My home will always be neat
– I will always be productive with my time
– I will always know and understand what I am doing; I will always feel competent
– My husband will be encouraging and supportive of all my ideas
– My friends will always include me in their plans
– I will be disciplined and good at changing and sticking to habits (exercise, healthy eating, mindfulness)
All of the above things will fall short at some time or another, some more often than others! Letting go of the ideals is a great way to reduce the stress and frustration in my life. I don’t know where the ideals came from or how I managed to convince myself they are realistic. All I do know is that life is never perfect, and some of my happiest moments have been when I’ve neglected the floor washing and taken my son to the playground instead.
What is an ideal that you’ve realized you need to let go in order to reduce the stress in your life? What helps you accept a new ideal for reality?