Monday, January 19, 2009

You Don't Have To Be Perfect

There are a few personality traits that are usually present amongst those who have eating disorders. A major characteristic is being a perfectionist. That is why I chose this assignment for this week.

The following exercise is taken from "SomeBody to Love" A Guide To Loving The Body You Have, by Leslea Newman:
Imagine yourself in a familiar setting, at work at school or your own home. Picture yourself doing an activity that you often do. As you watch yourself doing this activity , imagine yourself making a mistake,. How do you feel when you make this mistake? How do you feel afterward? What do you say or do?

A good bonus exercise for this assignment is to write for fifteen minutes without stopping, don't over think it just write the first things that come to your mind to describe this experience from beginning to end and how you feel about it.

How does it feel to know you're not perfect? Was it a big deal to make a mistake? Did you laugh it off and start over? Did you beat yourself up and let it ruin the whole day? Did you want to binge, starve, or purge because you felt inadequate, stupid, or just not good enough?

If you started to get down on yourself try to identify who's voice that is. Does it sound like one of your parents, an old teacher,or boss, a sibling, a boyfriend or husband? We are not born hating ourselves. The voice in your head had to come from somewhere. Beating yourself up is a learned behavior. It can be unlearned as well.
(I typed this last paragraph for those who it may pertain to. I don't 100% agree with it since I know I never had anyone around me telling me negative things about myself, but on my own I still developed hating myself, feeling worthless, and feeling not good enough. I do agree that it is a behavior you can unlearn however)

How do you treat someone you love when they make a mistake? Do you call them stupid idiot, or do you just shrug your shoulders and say, "Oh well, everyone makes mistakes"? See if you can give yourself the same space to be human. You don't have to be perfect.

Make three deliberate mistakes this week. They don't have to be giant mistakes.
Notice how you feel and respond. The more forgiving you are of yourself, the more forgiving you will be of other people as well.
Live is full of mistakes. If you aren't making mistakes, you probably aren't learning and growing either. Be kind to yourself-- acknowledge your mistakes, and then let them go.

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