Are You Should-ing All Over Yourself?

I just returned from another adventure, road tripping with my husband, my daughter and our eleven-year-old niece. Gorgeous fall colours, expansive vistas and oodles of awesome music.  We wound our way around Lake Superior following one of our favourite music artists, Corb Lund on his fall tour. It was an amazing trip and so cool for the girls… we got on the band’s guest list for the first show, they got to meet him and get autographs at the second and by the final show Corb was dedicating songs to them and chatting with them from the stage. They felt like little celebrities.

I feel so blessed to have time with my family and I just adore the little girl energy my daughter and niece bring to everything they do. There are lots giggles, lots questions and a whole lot of singing. They are so full of life, so free, so curious, so playful, so completely themselves.

But I worry sometimes. I worry there will come a time when this will change. When they won’t say what they are thinking, when they’ll stop expressing their sheer delight with life, when they’ll stop walking around like little celebrities -- when they’ll start worrying more about what other people think, instead of just being who they are and expressing how they feel -- that they will dim their brilliant light in order to fit in.

I worry that they will fall victim to the culture of perfection that so many of us grew up in.

The culture of perfection teaches us, as women, to doubt ourselves, to doubt our feelings, to doubt the natural wisdom of our bodies. It values appearance over substance, thinking over feeling and it leaves us feeling like we are never enough.  

Worst of all it erodes our connection to our inner knowing. We are left to face the world without this powerful internal compass, and with it we lose the free and simple confidence of childhood -- the pure joy of being our full, fantastic, quirky, brilliant, amazing selves.  

Instead we don the masks of perfection and start buying in to all the things we should do.

We should be smarter, we should be thinner, we should be more curvy, we should have a better job, we should never have strong emotions, we should use our head, we should toughen up, we should stop being so emotional, we should go to work, we should stay home… in short, we should simply be perfect. Except of course this definition of perfection is IMPOSSIBLE.

No wonder so many of us are left feeling numb and disconnected… we are should-ing all over ourselves. {tweet it}

When we (inevitably) fail to meet these impossible standards it hurts like HELL, so we do what any sensible person would do: we lessen the pain… we numb out.  The culture of perfection is bursting with ways to numb out -- over work, over spend, over eat -- sugar, alcohol, cigarettes --trashy TV, celebrity gossip, information overload.

But the numbness only pushes us further away from who we truly are and why we are here.

In my interview, for The Self-Compassionate Woman podcast, Carina Lyall and I talk about how to break free from the culture of perfection, stop should-ing all over ourselves and find the confidence to shine out our Authentic Brilliance.  You can listen in below.