Perfectionist And Christmas (How To Survive)

Family, Self

Christmas is supposed to be a joyful, happy season.  Yet for many of us, it can be challenging. 

Do you find it like a command performance when you must pretend to be full of joy?   When you feel forced to lie to people about how you think, it makes you even worse.

You are not always going to be happy when Christmas rolls around every year.

If you are a perfectionist, you can feel extreme pressure at this time of year to have everything “perfect” for your family and friends.  You think you need to host the perfect party, give the ideal gift, prepare the perfect Christmas dinner and keep your house in immaculate condition.

To Learn More about Enneagram Type One (The Perfectionist) Click Here

Here are five ways for the perfectionist to survive Christmas:

1.      Remember you are human:

You put such lofty expectations on yourself. You act as though there will be a disaster if you do not get it perfect. 

Only a god can be perfect, and I wonder if that is even true.  The good news is that you are human!  To be human is challenging. You are complex and imperfect.  You have complete freedom to choose between good and evil. 

You will make complex decisions that require discernment because they are not clear choices. You will make decisions that are complicated.  There will be times when the option you choose is the right thing to do in your current situation and may not be wise in the future.

Part of being human is to suffer and fail. But it is through these tough times you will grow the most, whether that be personally or professionally.

When you can accept your humanity, you are creating space for yourself to show up each day and do your best.

Your job is to show up each day and be your best.  It is not about perfection. It is about being vulnerable and putting yourself out there.

2.      Meditation/Mindfulness:

A great way to break your perfectionist tendencies is to quiet your mind and open it to energy more powerful than you.  

There are many ways to meditate and pray.  I highly recommend the app called “Insight Timer,” which you can access many meditations for free, and you can pay for more options.

Centring Prayer comes out of the Christian tradition. Centring Prayer does not require you to empty your mind and, most importantly, liberates you from your busy thoughts.  Here is how you do It:

·         Start with an open prayer to discover your word or phrase to use as your mantra. Ask what you consider to be your higher power, such as God or Universe, to help you find your mantra.

·         Start your meditation with slow deep breathing to help ground your self, sit with both feet touching the floor, and your hands comfortable in your lap. If you are new to this form of prayer, start with five minutes of silence and increase it gradually with time up to twenty minutes.

·         When you catch yourself in thought, gently return to your mantra. Do this as many times as you need.  

Centering Prayer teachers and practitioners recommend you do a minimum of two twenty-minute sessions a day.  You will benefit from doing it as much as you can.

There are several types of meditation you may enjoy, such as loving-kindness, self-compassion, pure joy, healing relaxation, body scans, stress reduction and much more.

I encourage you to try diverse types of meditation to find out what works best for you.

3.      Befriend your Inner Critic:

You have an inner critic. It is a part of your ego. Your ego wants to keep you safe.  It wants you to stick to familiar activities. It does not like anything new.

The inner critic shows up in the loud, harsh negative messages in your head.  You might hear the voice within you saying to yourself:

·         You are stupid

·         You will never be successful

·         You will never find true love

·         You are not smart enough

·         You are not beautiful enough

·         You are not worth investing in yourself

The inner critic will do anything to stop you from doing anything it thinks is dangerous.  Your inner critic registers anything new as too risky.

Your inner critic is never going to go away. But with growing self-awareness, you will learn to notice when your inner critic is speaking. You will discover that there is only a sliver of truth in what the inner critic says. Most of what it tells you, you can let go.

Whenever you notice your inner critic is talking, you can let it know that you appreciate that it is trying to keep you safe. You will need to re-assure yourself over and over that you are now an adult and can take care of yourself.

Over time your inner critic will quiet down. When it shows up, you will know. Then you can let it go.

 To Learn More about the Inner Critic: Click Here

4.      Be Kind to Self:

You are hard on yourself, always trying to get things right.  You usually set your expectations so high you have no hope of ever meeting your expectations.

The more you are kind to yourself, the easier it will be to set reasonable goals for yourself that you can achieve.

Taking care of yourself requires you to take breaks no matter how busy you are.  You benefit from scheduling time in for yourself each week to take care of your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs.

What helps you to relax?  Do you enjoy going for walks, yoga, meditation, going to the gym, singing, dancing and anything else?  You are the only person who knows what will work for you.

It is making sure you get plenty of sleep and eating healthy food.

It is about choosing family and friends to hang out with that are open, kind and honest and who encourage you.

Also, it about building habits that build you up rather than tear you down.

With growing self-love, you will find it easier to let go of your oppressive grand expectations of yourself. You will find new freedom to live your life with greater ease.

5.      Back to Christmas Basics:

Christmas is a time of year full of grand expectations.  Being a perfectionist can be exceedingly tricky, with the high expectations already present.

If you are Christian, you can focus on the spiritual aspects of this Christmas season. During Advent, take time to notice how God is working in your life. Slow down and pay attention to your heart.

Instead of buying gifts for everyone, you might like to donate to an organization that you value as a family.  You will not be spending excessive time choosing gifts.

Whether or not you have a faith background making time to gather with friends and family is important. Do not worry if your house is not perfect.  Invite everyone to bring food, so it is a shared meal unless you love to host, and this makes you feel good.

Make sure you take the time to curl up in a chair. Read a book, watch a movie or talk with a good friend.

Give yourself the benefit of an afternoon nap.  Pay attention to what your body needs. Your body is wise and will help you to know what you need if you pay attention.

If you are still feeling overwhelmed, ask your self whether the world will end if you do not finish a task.  Most of the time, the answer is no.

Your Christmas does not have to be so hard. Remember, you are human, and this means you will never be perfect.

Meditation can help you to quiet your mind. There are so many ways to meditate and pray.  There are so many apps to support you in this spiritual practice.

Befriend your inner critic by reassuring this part of your ego that you are now an adult and can take loving care of yourself.  As you more quickly recognize the voice of the inner critic, you can choose to ignore its lies.

Self-love will take you a long way. Schedule in self-care every day.  The better you feel about yourself, the gentler you will be with yourself. The kinder you are with yourself, the easier it will be to accept that you are doing the best you can at the moment.

Finally, it can help to move away from the commercialism of the season and focus on what is an essential part of our lives, which is usually our friends and family.   

If you are a person of faith, this is an excellent time to retreat into your inner world and notice how God is working in your life. It is a time to listen for how the spirit is encouraging you to live in ways that honour your call to the world and yourself.

May this Christmas be a time for you to honour yourself at least as much as you honour all your friends and family.

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I am Roland Legge, an Identity Coach here to help you let go of your tendency toward perfectionism.  You can join my private newsletter list for Free Monthly Advice (Click Here) and get Your Free Enneagram Test (Click Here).

This article was originally published at REL Consultants . Reprinted with permission from the author.