Too many people are trying to be something they’re not, and this grinds them down. Too many of us try to pretend to be somebody that we’re not. Maybe we’re trying to impress people. Maybe we’re trying to fool ourselves into thinking that we are completely different people.
The sad part? Too many of us are not aware that this is happening. It’s just something that happens on autopilot. They keep pushing forward, but ultimately, it still doesn’t measure up.
Regardless of how hard they try, and regardless of how much effort they put in, they simply aren’t happy, nor are they fulfilled. There’s always something missing. They feel incomplete, flawed and weak.
Of course, this happens deep down inside. And oftentimes, they can’t quite put their finger on it. They feel that something is missing, that something is off, but they fail to see the 800-pound elephant in the room.
Similarly, too many people suffer from impostor syndrome. Regardless of the fact they actually know what they’re doing and that they are quite competent in certain areas of their life, they still feel that they are giant frauds. They feel that they are in danger of somehow being found out.
They feel this because they are under the impression that they must be perfect all the time. They feel that they must impress people all the time.
What is the root cause of all of this? The idea of perfection. People might not be able to articulate this belief, but they definitely think and act like it.
You don’t necessarily have to know the concept or the proper name of what you’re going through for you to go through some sort of process or suffer certain symptoms. Regardless, people are trapped living with this idea of perfection.
Pro tip: you don’t have to be perfect because no one is.
The truth is, you can’t be at your best at all times. That’s just not going to happen. You can’t be all things to all people, nor can you have it all.
Unfortunately, too many people think they have to be perfect because they expect themselves to be perfect. They are assuming that people expect them to be perfect, so they expect themselves to be perfect, and this creates a downward spiral.
Also, too many of us think that this striving for perfection or the appearance of perfection are genuine sources of pride.
Other people hang on to the emotional albatross of perfectionism because they think others are relying on them to be perfect. They think that other people cannot move on or live full lives until and unless they are perfect.
This training teaches you how to get out of the long shadow of wanting to be perfect. Instead, it teaches you to achieve peace within by accepting yourself fully – flaws and all.
8 Mindset That Crush Personal Contentment
The French enlightenment philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau famously said that “Man was born free, but everywhere he is in chains.” Of course, Rousseau meant this in political terms, but this is also true in spiritual and emotional terms.
Most of the time, we hold the key to the mental prisons that we live in. We define the world in neat, tidy little boxes that spell out what we can and cannot do, who we can and cannot be, and where we can and cannot go.
Almost all of this is arbitrary, but they are all too real because we make them real by believing in them.
We were born free, but we refuse to turn the lock of the mental prison that we choose to be in. And much of this situation can be tied to 8 mindsets that work to hold us back and drag us down.
Oftentimes, we’re unaware that we have these mindsets. Still, the sooner you get out from under the influence of these, the sooner you will live a life of adventure, meaning, fulfillment and, paradoxically enough, control.
See if you can identify any of the following mindsets. Letting go of them prepares you to live life to your fullest potential.
You Have to Always Be In Control
The first mindset that crushes personal contentment is the very idea that you must always be in control of all areas of your life.
Now, it doesn’t take much human experience to figure out just how wrong this is. You’ve heard of Murphy’s Law: the worst things happen at the worst time. You probably also know that life is what happens when you have other plans.
Life has its own agenda. It spins on its own axis, regardless of our best laid plans. And unfortunately, the more we choose to believe that we have to be always in control, the less likely we will be happy.
You see, when it comes to life, you have to give it a lot of wiggle room. You can set goals, you can plan ahead, but ultimately, at the end of the day, you have to accept what you get out of the process.
Nine times out of ten, if you take care of things the right way and you put in the best effort, things will pan out roughly the way you want it. It’s not going to be perfect, it’s not going to fit the exact picture that you had when you were planning your goal, but it can come close enough.
Unfortunately, if we believe that we always have to be in control, we rob ourselves of the joy of achievement. We can never quite seem to get there because we feel that we did not control all the variables. We refuse to be happy.
Everyone Cares About What’s Going On In Your Life
Another debilitating mindset that holds people back is the idea that the world is a stage and they are at the center of the spotlight.
I don’t know how to tell you this, but there are 8 billion people on this planet, and the number is continuing to grow. Everybody’s got enough problems of their own.
While it may seem that everybody makes a big deal of your shortcomings and personal drama, at the end of the day, they don’t really care. They’ve got too much on their plate already.
Still, we would like to believe that everyone cares about what’s going on in our life. It’s as if we’re in a microscope.
What we’re really doing is we are mentally putting ourselves in the center of the universe, which is the farthest place from where we really are. It gives us a sense of control. It definitely gives us a sense of importance.
But the problem is, the more you believe that everyone cares about what’s going on in your life, the more likely you will try to live your life to please others. This is a serious problem because you have to live your life based on what matters to you.
Of course, this has limits. You can’t live your life to harm other people. You can’t live your life in a way that other people are hurt. But at the end of the day, you have to live your life for yourself.
You have to take care of yourself. Self-care is the foundation of responsibility.
Unfortunately, the more we hang on to this distorted belief that people really care about what’s going on in our lives and look to us as some sort of center of gravity, the more likely we would live our lives to please other people or to live up to impossible standards.
Everyone Looks Up to You for Support or as a Standard
This mindset is just a variation of what I discussed immediately above.
You have to understand that people have enough problems of their own. While people can voice their support and express their admiration of you, at the end of the day, their standard has to be themselves because that’s what they’re going to come back to.
At the end of a person’s life, I can guarantee you that they’re not going to be thinking about how they lived up to somebody else. Instead, they’re going to be examining the kind of life they actually lived.
It all comes back to that point. We all have a home, whether we accept it or not.
Unfortunately, when we believe that everybody looks up to us, either for assistance or to set us up as some sort of standard, then we end up playing all sorts of games with ourselves where we often create standards that are meant to impress others but are not really rooted in who we are.
Again, living your life for others is commendable. To a certain degree, it’s praiseworthy. But at the end of the day, you still have to take care of yourself. You still have to base your life on truth.
And one of the worst lies you can play on yourself is to think that you are some sort of standard, not because the standard truly comes from your experiences and your values, but because you want to impress other people.
You lose sight of the truth trying to become the truth to others. It’s paradoxical and, ultimately, destructive.
Your Parents and Loved Ones Will Not Be Happy if You are Not Perfect
Human beings have a tendency of blowing things out of proportion. This, of course, comes from the fact that we tend to read too much into the signals that people give us.
Every single day, people are saying stuff to us. They’re definitely sending all sorts of verbal and nonverbal signals. We interpret these. That’s what we constantly do.
But we get into trouble when we read meaning into them that is not logical. We stretch the rational meaning that we can possibly read into something.
It’s not uncommon for people to look at reality based solely on what they think is real. In other words, they’re not looking at objective truth. Instead, they’re projecting their own insecurities, inadequacies, or misconceptions.
Unfortunately, one of the most common ways we do this is when we think that the people who love us the most in this world expect us to be perfect.
It may be based on some sort of objective statement, but we blow it out of proportion. We stretch it to the point that it breaks. And it breaks away totally from reality.
You have to understand that your parents expect the best from you because they want you to live the best life. But they also are adult enough to understand that ultimately, you have to find your own way. All of us have to do that.
Unfortunately, this is very easy to distort into a sick sense of obligation. We read this as a demand for perfection.
It’s very easy to see why this takes place in the first place because when you’re a kid, your parents have standards. An A is an A, and an F is a failing grade. Objective standards. And it is an important part of your development as a human being to know how these standards work.
But somewhere along the way, you confuse the existence of standards with this exaggerated sense of obligation that you have to be perfect. Let me tell you, it would be unreasonable and downright cruel of your parents to expect you to be perfect when they are not perfect themselves.
The truth is, there is no such thing as a perfect human being. We are in no position to expect perfection from others when we ourselves are not perfect. But unfortunately, all of this is lost to you if you suffer from this mindset.
Instead, you read into the signals that you’re receiving from your parents and the ones that you truly admire and respect the most in this life as a call to perfection. It first starts out has having a standard, but it gets twisted and exaggerated into something that oppresses you.
Believe it or not, standards are supposed to push you upward and outward. They are what make you successful. They are what make you a better person. But they have limits, and we cannot read into them all sorts of insecurities that they become shackles.
And that’s precisely what happens to people who think that everyone else looks up to them for support or some sort of standard, or that their loved ones will not be happy if they’re not perfect.
You Always have to Be Better Than Others
Another debilitating mindset that people suffer from is the idea that they always have to be better.
This is going to be impossible because all of us are a mix of peaks and valleys. Seriously. Even Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, is flawed, limited and lacking in some areas of their life.
If you don’t believe me, just imagine Jeff Bezos comparing himself to Michael Jordan in terms of basketball skills. I know that’s a ridiculous example, but that’s precisely the point.
You can’t be all things to all people. You cannot be the perfect person because there is no such thing. There is no such animal. We all have angels and devils in our character.
Bill Gates may be a great businessman, he may be a great innovator and an amazing philanthropist, but he’s probably a lousy basketball player.
The problem when you think that you always have to be better than others is that you have to beat everybody across the board. You have to be a better philanthropist, you have to be more compassionate, you have to be better looking, you have to be a better conversationalist, you have to be amazing on the basketball court – across the board.
Do you see how impossible this is? Good.
Let go of the mindset that you have to be better than others to allow yourself to feel fulfilled, complete, contented and happy. It’s just not going to happen.
People Care If You Fail
This is a big one. This really flows from the mindset that everyone cares about what’s going on in your life.
So, when things fall apart and don’t work out the way you anticipated or planned, you take it very personally. You feel less of a person. You feel like you have massively dropped the ball.
Let me let you in on a secret: everybody fails. People get divorced, people get thrown in jail, people do end up doing things that they shouldn’t do. People make wrong decisions that mess up their life. Regardless of how you define it, everybody fails.
Now, it’s one thing to assume that people will have some level of concern for you when you’re down on your luck. That’s okay. That’s healthy. That’s the way it should be.
That’s why we have support networks. That’s why we have loved ones like family and friends.
But to take this to a ridiculous level and assume that people care and obsess about your failures is nothing less than a form of masochism. You’re just beating yourself up.
You have to understand that as spectacular as your bankruptcy, your divorce, your jail sentence, your disease, your depression or sense of personal disaster may be, at the end of the day, everybody’s got their own problems to take care of. Everybody’s got their own personal failures to attend to.
Sure, people might sit up and pay attention and say, “Wow, that is harsh” or “Thank goodness that did not happen to me.” But at the end of the day, they move on. So should you.
Unfortunately, the more you think that people are obsessed about your failure, the worse your failures become. How come? Well, you’re less likely to try again.
You get knocked down and you stay down because you’re so afraid of how people will laugh at you and point at you because you failed. You create all these reasons and excuses not to try again.
Let me tell you, the only way to fail is to quit. And that’s precisely what you’re doing.
Happiness is a Destination
One of the most toxic mindsets that can get in the way of any kind of personal contentment is the idea that happiness is some sort of destination. You find yourself working to set up goals, and once you achieve them, you’re still not happy because you feel that you will only be happy if certain things fall into place.
Well, life being the way it is, will prevent this from happening. As awesome as things may be in your life, there will always be room for improvement. That’s what makes life awesome.
It’s also what makes it frustrating because everything does not fall into place. There’s no neatness to this. You just have to accept what you get at a certain level. In other words, you have to move on.
But when you think that you will only be happy when certain things happen in your life, the more you work towards those goals, the more you realize that you can never be happy. Because once you work towards your goals, your definition of happiness or the destination that you set for yourself changes because the process changes you.
Believe it or not, setting up a goal transforms your life because the work that you put in, the process that you go through, and most importantly, the setbacks that you experience, change you. While all this is going on, don’t be surprised if your definition of happiness or your goals change as well.
What Other People Think About You is More Important Than What You Think About Yourself
Finally, one mental shackle or pair of handcuffs that we need to get rid of is the idea that what people think of us is more important than what we think of ourselves.
Let me tell you, at the end of the day, people have to be responsible for themselves. You have to be responsible for your own happiness, fulfillment and contentment.
And the more you think that the judgment of others trumps your own assessment of yourself, the less likely you will feel content because you’re basically living your life for the approval and validation of others.
At the end of the day, you’re the one who’s going to have to live your life. Not them. You owe it to yourself to at least accept and be content with what you have set for yourself. This means accepting your decisions.
And unfortunately, when we play this game with ourselves that other people’s impressions, validations, or appreciation is more important than what we ourselves think about our lives, we put ourselves in a downward spiral.
It really is a psychological and emotional pit. It gets worse and worse. The more we crave validation from others, the worse we feel about our decisions and our lives.
Choosing to Accept Yourself is Not a Cop-Out
This training teaches you the art of self-acceptance. Self acceptance, after all, is crucial to personal contentment.
If you want to be happy with the life that you have created for yourself, you have to accept yourself. There are no two ways about it. Personal contentment is definitely not going to happen until and unless you accept yourself, warts and all.
Unfortunately, this does not come easy for most people. After all, we put up all sorts of barriers against self-acceptance.
We don’t intentionally put these up. It’s not like you wake up one day and you decide to sabotage your personal happiness and your ability to experience joy. Instead, they kind of creep up on you. You pick them up along the way.
Often times, you don’t know where they came from or what triggered them. Still, there is no getting around the fact that they hold you down and keep you back from fully accepting yourself.
Three of the most common reasons we give ourselves for not engaging in self-acceptance involve the following:
Accepting Yourself is a Cop-out
One common mindset we assume about self-acceptance is that it’s some sort of copout. You’re not supposed to accept yourself. You’re supposed to strive for a better you.
Life is all about striving. It’s all about struggling to rise up and become better, moment by moment, day by day.
The moment you accept yourself, you’re basically copping out. You’re giving yourself a reason not to try to improve yourself. It is some sort of feel good mantra that really doesn’t mean much of anything.
You are Lowering Your Standards
Another barrier we put up against self-acceptance is the idea that this is an act of lowering the goal post. Somehow, some way, you can’t make it the normal way. You just don’t have it in you, so you lower your standards when you accept yourself for who you are.
You don’t want to be something bigger. You don’t want to be something better. So you lower the standards.
This is a very toxic barrier against self-acceptance. Who wants to feel that we’re not living up to high standards? Who wants to feel that one is constantly aiming low?
So, we forget about the idea of self-acceptance. Instead, we hang on to our standards. But they actually end up working against us.
You are Being Weak and Caving In
Another common reason people give themselves as to why they cannot accept themselves as they are is the idea of weakness. It’s easy to think that there’s something romantic and noble about being strong or trying to be strong.
It’s nice to see yourself fighting against this army of problems in life and just pushing back against all odds. That eventually, after all this struggle, strife and sacrifice, you will come out on top.
This is a nice romantic picture, but life usually doesn’t end up that way. Because ultimately, you run out of steam. Ultimately, you lose the battle because you’re trying to be something that you’re not.
In fact, it is a sign of strength when you realize that you are worthy of acceptance. It is a sign of maturity, not some sort of personal defeat or weakness or inadequacy.
Self-acceptance Means Understanding Our Limits
The truth is, the world is limited. I know that’s not what you’re supposed to say. That’s definitely not what you’re supposed to believe.
We’re supposed to think that the world is limitless, that there’s a tremendous sense of possibility out there, and we should live our lives with an amazing sense of adventure. Well, that’s the idea. But reality is another matter entirely.
Not everybody’s given the same hand to play. Not everybody has made the right decisions. While it’s true that we all start out with the same amount of potential, as we live our lives, our decisions narrow that potential.
This doesn’t mean that you’re completely out of opportunities, but this also does not mean that your life always has the same amount of potential as before.
You have to understand these limits and work within them. You can push against them, you can choose to transform them, but there are limits to what you can do.
Self-acceptance is all about understanding that limits exist and that they can be changed to a certain degree. It is the precise opposite of continuing to believe that you basically have a blank check in life.
That’s a lottery mindset. You’re basically thinking that despite the habits that you picked up along the way, as well as the consequences of the decisions you’ve made, your chances of producing results are the same as everybody else.
That may happen from time to time, kind of like winning the lottery, but it’s usually a bad idea to plan your life around winning the lottery. You have to focus on what is probable. This is where understanding our limits come in.
Self-acceptance Means Choosing Your Base of Strength and Competency
I know, by this point, after our discussion regarding understanding limits, it’s easy to get depressed. It’s easy to get discouraged. Well, the truth can be quite discouraging and depressing at times, but it can also set you free.
When you understand that limits do exist and that there is a context to these limits, you can then focus on what you have.
You have to understand that having limits is not the same as having nothing to work with. Let’s just get that clear.
There are people on this planet that have severe physical limitations. No limbs, serious health problems, but despite those limits, they are able to achieve a lot. They’re not able to achieve everything that everybody else is able to achieve, but they’re able to achieve a lot.
How come? Well, they look at their limits and they accept them. And in this process, they accept that they actually have a lot of strength and they can build a certain bedrock of competency. And from there, they can continue to build and build and build.
What would otherwise look like a very bleak and limited set of prospects actually turn out to be a source of life, light, and happiness. But it all goes back to accepting and understanding your limits and choosing to base your strength and competency on the reality of those limits.
The Truth: Limits can Be Transcended
The problem with our discussion is that a lot of people start with the end first. That’s what they do. They focus on the fact that limits can be transcended. This was true in the past, this is true now, and will continue to be true in the future.
But you cannot base your self-acceptance on this fact first. This comes last. You have to focus first on overcoming your reasons against self-acceptance.
Once you’re able to do that, then you have to understand your limits, then choose to base your strength and competency on the reality of those limits. Then and only then can you start thinking about transcending those limits.
It’s really hard to transcend your limitations when you haven’t built a base of strength and competency. Do you see how this works? Stop putting the cart before the horse.
How does this work? Well, first you have to accept your limits now.
Next, you have to understand that growth means transcendence. In other words, you understand your limits, you work within them, you master what you can control, then you build up.
The next step is to push back against the walls of your comfort zone once you have become competent.
The key here is increasing competence. This is not something that happens to you because you willed it. You don’t just wake up one day and all of a sudden, this amazing competence level falls into your lap. It doesn’t work that way.
Instead, when you first start with the limitations and become at peace with those limitations, you start to focus on the things you can control. You start mastering them. They turn into your source of strength. You become more and more competent.
And once you’re able to do this, you can then push against the walls of your comfort zone.
The Goal is to Become Mature
Maturity is defined by how far you progressed from your base of strength and competency. In other words, you first understand your limits, and you start there. But your level of maturity is measured by how far you go from that initial understanding to where you end up.
Everybody has to come to grips with the fact that they’re all limited. We can’t have it all, nor can we start with everything. But the moment we understand our limits, we can then start to build a base.
Because, as we push back against our comfort zone and we figure things out and we connect the dots and we detect patterns, that’s when things become possible. We become stronger, more competent, we’re able to solve more problems, and people come to us to solve their problems.
If You Don’t Accept Yourself, Who Will?
I’m a big fan of romantic comedies. One of the most common themes in these types of movies is the idea of “you complete me.”
That’s nice to hear, but it’s also very damaging if you believe that. The truth is, you cannot wait for others to complete you. That’s your job.
People talk a good game. They say they can’t live without you, you complete them, you make great music together, but at the end of the day, they have enough problems of their own.
Depending on others to complete you leaves you incomplete and dependent. You’re like a lock and you’re waiting for a key.
Well, it would be great if the key would appear tomorrow. What if it doesn’t? Are you going to spend the rest of your life waiting for that key?
You shouldn’t. You have to take matters into your own hands.
And the worst thing about waiting for others to complete you is the fact that you begin to resent them. You start blaming them for what’s wrong or what’s missing in your life because, after all, they complete you.
You heap all sorts of obligations on them because they complete you. This is a cruel joke that you play on yourself.
The truth is, others cannot give you meaning or true validation. That’s your job.
Why do they fail? Why are they not up to the job? Very simple: they can’t because they cannot fully know you.
You know who can fully understand you? Yourself. Start there.
Waiting for Others’ Acceptance is Irresponsible
I f you’re waiting around for the right person to complete you, unlock your full potential, inspire you to greatness, the whole nine yards, you’re just being irresponsible. You really are.
Why? You’re making excuses for your failures. That’s what you’re doing.
You’re giving yourself all sorts of nice sounding excuses for not rolling up your sleeves and taking care of what you need to handle right here, right now. You’re making excuses for the fact that you’re not trying hard enough, you’re not experimenting enough, or you’re not taking enough risks.
Whatever the case may be, waiting around for others’ acceptance gives you an out.
Even if Others “Accept” You, You Only Find People to Blame
The only thing that you’re gaining, really, when you wait for others’ acceptance is for people to blame. Since they accepted you and you failed, you can blame them for letting you down. They did not fully understand you. They did not live up to their end of the bargain.
They did not inspire you enough, they did not push you enough, they did not challenge you enough. The list is endless. Worst of all, you can blame them for not fully trying to “understand” you.
I’m sorry, but people are not mind readers. How can you expect people to fully accept you when you don’t even fully know yourself? Because if you fully knew yourself, you would know that this is a dead end.
You cannot wait for others to complete you or accept you for who you are. You have to do that.
The answer is simple: step up. That’s all you need to do.
That’s right, you are responsible for your life. Only you can know yourself fully. Use this information to accept yourself, warts and all.
There will always be rough spots. There will always be problem areas, but you have to accept yourself and position yourself for better things. Nobody can do this except you.
This is the essence of responsibility. You have to be complete when the right one comes along.
It doesn’t work the other way around. They won’t show up and complete you, and that’s how you know that they are “right for you.” Life doesn’t work that way.
Self-acceptance is Crucial to Self Respect and Self Love
You cannot respect yourself if you don’t accept yourself. Respect is earned. How can you earn respect from yourself when you don’t even accept yourself?
You’re playing all sorts of games. You’re trying to be somebody else. You’re holding yourself up to ridiculous standards. You’re filling your head with all sorts of ideas that don’t make any sense as far as your life goes.
Self-respect is crucial because if you do not have this, it’s too easy for others to treat you like a doormat. It’s too easy for people to take you for granted, abuse you, play games with you, and lie to you.
Respect is all about drawing boundaries and expecting and living up to obligations. But little of that is possible if you cannot get yourself to accept yourself.
You Cannot Love Yourself If You Don’t Accept Yourself
If you think gaining self-respect is bad enough, it gets even worse with self-love. Self-love is crucial for any kind of success in life. Without self love, it’s just not going to work out. Forget it. It’s not going to happen.
Unfortunately, you cannot love yourself if you don’t accept yourself. How can you? Love means trust. It means acceptance.
You don’t trust yourself because you’re not who you want to be. You don’t accept yourself because you don’t have what you think you should have.
And without self-love, you cannot master yourself. You cannot spend enough time and attention to detail on yourself to make you a better person. It’s not just going to happen.
You’re always going to be running around because you hate yourself. You’re not happy with it. You’re trying to be somebody else. You’re trying to live other people’s lives. You’re trying to live up to their expectations.
You’re doing all these things, running around in circles, chasing your tail, because you do not love yourself. And it all comes back to self-acceptance.
Self-Respect Leads to Personal Boundaries and Autonomy
When you respect yourself , you have boundaries. You know who you are, and you know who you’re not. You know what you’re capable of, and you know what is beyond you. This is the beginning of power.
Because when you know what you’re working with, you put yourself in a better position to control your assets. This enables you to invest your time better, which makes it harder for others to take advantage of you. It also makes it harder for others to abuse you.
Self-Love Leads to Mastery
When you love yourself truly, you’re not loving yourself to the extent that you become a horrible person. Instead, self-love leads to self-improvement because you discover your passions. You find out your true pride or true source of pride. And from these, you find out your areas of competence.
You love yourself enough to know that you are good at certain things and you invest enough time, effort and attention to them to build them up and to build up their value. This enables you to develop a healthier identity.
Because when you master certain things and you’re competent with certain things, you’re not running around trying to be all things to all people. You’re not trying to master everything. You just focus on what you know to be true.
This is where you develop real pride. And it’s rooted in competence. Nobody can take that away from you. Nobody can ridicule you in these points.
But here’s the problem, this mastery has to be built on the cornerstone of self-love.
The Foundation of Acceptance: Letting Go of Harmful Perfection
Perfection is a standard. That’s all it is. It is not a destination. Don’t eve r think that you will somehow, someway become perfect. Don’t let the idea enter your head that if you put in enough work and time, eventually, you will be perfect.
You’re just going to be chasing your tail. You’re going to be running yourself ragged. You’re going to burn out sooner rather than later. Despite all these, at the end of that journey, what do you have to show for? That’s right. A whole lot of nothing.
The truth is, you aren’t perfect, and you never will be. Regardless of how hard you try, how smart or good-looking you are, and how many advantages you start out with, it’s just not going to happen.
Nobody is perfect. It is not a destination. You can never reach it. Instead, it’s a standard. It’s supposed to be an impossible standard to push us to go for something better.
Perfection is not a commodity either. It’s not something that you can buy. It definitely is not something somebody can give you.
It’s one thing to be motivated. It’s another to become delusional and allow the idea of perfection to consume you. As the old saying goes, “To hit the Moon, you have to aim for the Sun.” Again, perfection is just a standard, not a destination nor a commodity.
All you have is who you are now and your standards
The only thing that you have is yourself now. Be clear on who you are. Be clear about your standards and the ideas inside your head.
If perfection is part of your standards, that’s okay. However, you should limit it to that role alone. It’s supposed to lift you up and inspire you. It’s supposed to make you push yourself to become better than what you normally settle for.
It is not supposed to beat you down, nor burn you up. Worst of all, it’s not supposed to make you a slave to other people’s expectations. The worst thing that you can do is to let people’s expectations of perfection for you become your identity.
I wish I could tell you that this is something that most people are conscious of. I wish this was something that you can easily identify and move away from. Unfortunately, it’s like a cancer. It grows on you.
Unless you are mindful of what you think about yourself and your place in the world, it creeps up on you. Sooner or later, perfection becomes part of your identity and it starts eating you up from the inside out.
Let go of all of that. You’re losing nothing when you do that. Instead, you’re gaining self-acceptance. Perfection can be toxic. If you hold it in your hands, you might think that you’re taking control over it. However, the more you press on it, the more it burns.
Honestly Acknowledge Your Flaws
Now, you have already accepted yourself. You’ve let go of the idea of perfection as a destination you have to live your life for. The next step is to pay attention to your flaws.
Everybody has flaws. There’s no shame in acknowledging them. The funny thing is, the more you deny them, the stronger they get. The more you believe that they don’t exist, the bigger of an impact they have on your life.
You have to turn around now and look them straight in the eye. What are the things that hold you back? What are the things that you are embarrassed about? What are the things that make you feel small, awkward, incomplete, or defective?
At this point, it’s all subjective. List them out. Write the first thing that comes to your mind. Next, ask yourself this question. Are they flaws because other people told you they were flaws? This takes quite a bit of work.
As much as we love our parents, they’re also the number one source of this kind of thing. Of course, they don’t mean to burden their children. They definitely don’t mean to give them emotionally damaging or toxic ideas. However, this goes with the territory.
After all, we hurt the most the ones we love the most. Maybe they say things out of anger or frustration. Maybe you misunderstood them. Whatever the case may be, oftentimes, family is the number one source of ideas regarding our flaws.
I want you to go through your memory and ask yourself, “Are these flaws of mine there because people told me they were flaws?”
Do they really hold you back?
The next question that you need to ask yourself is whether these flaws really hold you back. Do they really trip you up on your way to success? Do they really make you look bad, perform bad, and think badly of yourself?
Often times, we blow things out of proportion. As I mentioned earlier in this training, we look at certain things in our life differently. We read into meanings that may not really be supported by evidence.
They might not be objectively true. Now is a good time to look at the things that you think are personal flaws and ask yourself, “Are these really negative?”
For example, if your cousins teased you that you had big eyes, do they really hold you back? Are big eyes all that rare?
Similarly, if somebody said to you in the past that your forgetfulness makes you look dumb. Ask yourself based on the tests that you’ve done, grades you successfully passed, as well as the degree you may or may not have, is this idea true?
Focus on the results. Don’t focus on how negative it feels. Don’t focus on how long you’ve felt negatively about the perceived flaw.
Focus instead on what actually happened. At this point, you would realize that a lot of your flaws are flaws because other people told you that they were. A lot of your flaws are not really flaws because they don’t hold you back.
Focus instead on what actually happened. The next question you need to ask yourself involves their true impact. Do you understand their impact on you? If there is an impact, are you exaggerating it?
For example, if you stutter, you may think that this makes you look ridiculous, but you may be very cute. You may have a great sense of humor. You may have a weird take on things that attract people.
Similarly, when you keep your mouth shut, a lot of people automatically think you’re very smart. Funny how that works, right?
Ask yourself, “What is the real impact of these flaws and am I blowing things out of proportion. Am I assuming the worst out of them?” Again, filter out the things that are not really flaws from your list.
It may turn out that even if something can objectively be a flaw, it doesn’t really have that much of an impact. Your list should get very thin right now. There should only be a few items left on your list.
However, we’re still not done. Ask yourself, “How do these remaining flaws prevent me from reaching my fullest potential?” The answer should be obvious. If you want to truly reach your fullest potential, you have no excuse. You really don’t.
For example, if your flaw is that you tend to be forgetful, well, there are always workarounds. You can carry around sticky notes. You can have daily reminders on your mobile phone. You can even wrap pieces of string around your finger to remind you of what you need to remember.
There’s always a workaround. Just because you can’t get through the front door doesn’t mean that the side door is off limits. Just because you can’t get in today doesn’t necessarily mean tomorrow is a non-starter. Well, you get the picture.
Finally, ask yourself, “Even if I do have these flaws, what is the price that I’m paying for letting them hold me back from achieving my dreams?” Focus on what you stand to lose because that’s the only thing you will leave this life with.
Did you try? Did you give it all you’ve got? Did you make it far, despite what other people say, despite the opposition, and obstacles that you put on your own way? That is the essence of a life truly lived.
So, ask yourself, “Given what I stand to lose, is it worth it to crush these flaws?” Either you overcome them, or you redefine them.
I remember meeting this wonderful woman. She had amazing eyes, but she also had a horse-laugh. For the longest time, she was very shy, she told me. She was so afraid that the guys she liked would turn the other direction and leave.
However, when she learned how to crack jokes and use it as the center-piece of her jokes, she instantly became the most attractive woman in any room she walked in.
What kind of flaw are you apologizing and making excuses for? Use the techniques above. You might have something that is far from a flaw. It may well turn out to be a gem that makes you shine.
Quit Apologizing For Your Flows
Now that you’ve honestly acknowledged your flaws by filtering them. If you’re human, you still have a few flaws on the table. That’s perfectly okay.
You might be thinking to yourself, “I really can’t live with these. These are holding me back. These are dragging me down.” Well, not quite.
The first thing you need to do is to quit apologizing for your flaws. You do this by stopping the blame. That’s right. You have to quit blaming yourself.
Don’t think that you are the only person in world that has a problem with exaggeration, with big feet, big eyes, premature balding, or whatever flaws you’re struggling with. You’re not unique in that sense. Quit beating yourself up.
Next, quit blaming luck or fortune. People do this all the time. When you do that, you are giving up a tremendous amount of control over your selfdefinition. You’re basically saying, “Well, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. That’s just the way it is. It’s like that sometimes.”
No. Stop blaming luck or fortune. There is something you can do about it right here, right now. You do have a lot to say about the matter. It is not a foregone conclusion.
Most importantly, you need to quit blaming others. It’s easy to blame your parents. As I mentioned earlier, we tend to hurt the most the ones we love the most.
The truth is, when you blame others or situations out of your control, you are letting go of power in your life. That’s the only thing you are achieving. You are giving other people the power if you blame them. How? Well, if they caused your problem, then they have the solutions.
For example, someone might have called you fat when you were little. Until there’s emotional reconciliation with that person, it will be hard for you to feel better about yourself. This person started that chain reaction and you’ll keep blaming that person.
Well, here’s the problem. That person has moved on with his/her life. You haven’t. It’s bad enough trying to change yourself. Can you imagine changing that other person?
Getting them to have a change of heart is almost impossible.
This is why you have to liberate yourself by stopping the blame. Stopping blaming others is the first step to responsibility. At this point, the solution is no longer the other person. You no longer have to worry about the past.
It is impossible to fix this problem if the past is the issue. The only solution of course, is some sort of time machine. We still don’t have that technology. Instead, you have to take responsibility for how you respond to these stimuli.
When you stop blaming others, you take the power back. You’re no longer looking at these people as the source of the transition or the solution. Instead, you take responsibility for how you feel about what they did to you or how the situation played out.
You have to step up to this. You have to accept this responsibility. I know it hurts. After all, it’s not your fault, right? But it is your responsibility to change how you respond today.
If you choose to respond the same way you did yesterday, nothing’s going to change. The power will always be in somebody else’s hand or in the past. Those are people and things that you cannot control.
You have to step up now. Stop waiting for someone to come around. Stop waiting for something to happen for you to change. You have to take the initiative and responsibility. Again, this is not easy nor is it convenient. However, it is absolutely necessary for you to quit apologizing for your flaws.
Turning Flaws into Assets
One of the first things that you could do in dealing with your flaws is to turn them into assets. There’s really no such thing as an irredeemable trait.
For example, if you have a tough time telling the truth, then you’re a great storyteller. Run with it. Of course, you’re going to tell people that you’re engaged in fiction.
Maybe you can be a good writer, presenter, narrator, or even a brainstorm specialist. Since you’re good at inventing things, why not put many different concepts together and figure out what you come up with? It may well lead to better products, better marketing strategies, and better product positioning.
If you have bug eyes, please understand that some people are very drawn to people with big eyes.
There are certain fashion accessories that make big eyes look very attractive. If you have a big head, the same analysis goes.
The truth is, there is no such thing as an irredeemable trait. There’s nothing that makes you irredeemably ugly and worthy of only rejection. To turn your flaws into assets, you only need to look at the root.
Look to the root
What is the root of your flaw? Is it your personality? Is it how you define things? Is it how you react to things or is it a physical thing? Once you’ve identified it, ask yourself, “Can it be converted?”
For example, if you tend to lie a lot or exaggerate things, maybe you can be a great storyteller. Maybe you can be an idea person that comes up with weird or unexpected connections between ideas or concepts.
If you have big eyes, can they be converted into assets? I don’t know about you, but one of the most attractive women I’ve ever known actually had big eyes.
Next, you could ask yourself when you look at the root of the flaw, can it be redirected? Can it be combined with other things to produce something positive?
If you are a very disruptive person, you’re always looking for division. You might find yourself in a situation where that kind of skill is not only viewed positively but is actually in-demand.
For example, you can be a great litigator. Since you’re always looking for division, you’re always looking for the other side of the argument. You’re always looking to poke holes in people’s stories.
Now, in most normal relationships, that can get quite annoying very quickly. That can cause a lot of fights and hurt feelings. However, in a courtroom, that can be a good thing. You see where I’m coming from? See if you can redirect the flaw.
Change your mental habits
A lot of our emotional and psychological flaws really boil down to how we interpret the world. These interpretation issues come out of habit.
A habit is something that you keep doing once you detect some sort of trigger or cue because it leads you to a reward. For example, if you’re a smoker, chances are one of your triggers is eating. When you feel full after a meal, you smoke because you get that nice, mellow rush.
Know Your Limits
Please understand that you are not Superman or Superwoman. Change has limits. I know this seems a little bit discouraging, but let’s get real here.
I understand that you want to accept yourself. You want to live a more fulfilled life. However, change has limits. Your ability to change has its limits.
Accordingly, don’t expect overnight change. Don’t expect to change across the board. I know that you’re frustrated in other areas of your life. There are probably at least two other spots that you’d like changed, but you’re not Superman or Superwoman.
You can’t fix all of these all at once. Instead, you need to focus on the here and now, and work towards the future. A little bit of consistency is way better than a tremendous amount of energy followed by a whole lot of nothing.
Focus on what you can control. Focus on what you have available to you. Turn your circle of concern into a circle of responsibility and mastery.
For example, you can waste a tremendous amount of your time complaining about the government or the economy. You’re more than welcome to do that. However, you probably won’t be able to change much of anything if you are a private citizen.
That’s just the way it works. Now, instead of worrying about stuff you really can’t control, why not focus on what’s in front of you?
Do you have a job? Are you happy with your job? Would you like to get a better job? Then apply for a better job. Start today by fixing your resume. Go to job fairs. Get some resume counseling or interview skills training. Again, focus on what’s in front of you and on what you can control.
Similarly, if you already have a job and you would like to get paid more, focus on your productivity. Can you improve it? Can you produce more? Can you increase the quality of your work? Can you be more consistent? Can you learn more about the job as to add more value to your output?
These are the things you can control, but unfortunately, the human mind often thinks in grandiose terms. We would rather not think about the changes we need to do to get that raise. Instead, we focus on why we’re not making what we should be making or why we hate our current job.
The more you achieve in the small, mundane stuff that you have to deal with every day, the better you get. You become a master in what you do and guess what, your value increases.
Your boss is not stupid. If he or she notices that you are getting paid $10-25 per hour, but the value of your work is $20-50 per hour, it’s in their interest to pay you something closer to the value of your work.
Do you see how this works? Good. Resolve to achieve mastery with the things in front of you. Don’t think that you have to look for something big, something that’s completely different from what you have.
Focus instead on what’s there. In other words, stop defining yourself with what you should be doing.
Instead, limit yourself to the things you must do day after day, week after week, and month after month.
Focus on this. Get better at them. Become more efficient. Get help. Increase the quality of your output. Create systems. Automate. Scale them up.
Eventually, you can turn things that you think you should do into things that you must do every day. In other words, the things that seemed to be so out there eventually make it into your life because you have developed competence, which is the fountain head of real self-confidence. Again, competence leads to real self-confidence.
Learn to Move On
I’ve got some bad news. Life is unfair. Worst still, it has its own schedule. That’s right. It has its own agenda. It’s not going to wait around for you, it’s just going to keep on keeping on.
This is why you can’t always get what you want when you want it. Accepting your flaws and allowing self-love to flower in your life and empower you requires learning to move on.
Learn to accept what you can create and what you can influence and what you can’t. Be at peace with this. The worst thing that you can do to yourself is to think of yourself as some sort of victim that the world owes all sorts of favors to.
I’ve got some more bad news for you. The world doesn’t owe you anything. Everybody’s got enough problems of their own. Life truly is unfair, chaotic, and in many cases, filled with all sorts of suffering.
Now, you really have two choices at this point. You’re more than welcome to beat yourself up as to why the world isn’t what you think it should be. This path burns up a lot of time, effort and, energy and often times, you’re more frustrated than you began and have very little to show for your efforts.
The other path of course, simply means acceptance. Accepted life isn’t fair. People can be mean. Bad things happen to good people and on and on it goes.
Once you have accepted all of these, resolve to move on. This doesn’t mean that life has defeated you. This doesn’t mean that you have become some sort of cynic.
Instead, this is a moment of learning. It’s a moment of truth. You learn to accept what you can create and what you can influence. That’s the best you can do.
In other words, instead of feeling powerless because of all this chaos outside of you that you cannot really control. Your eyes are now open to the things in your life that you can control, because there will always be at least a few areas in your life where you have a lot of say. Focus on those.
That’s how you move on. You move on by focusing on what you can create, control, or influence. You may not be able to control the economy, but you can control how hard you work. You may not be able to control whether your boss would be eager to promote, but you can control the value you bring to the table, as far as work is concerned.
Focus on what you can control or influence and then let go of everything else. This has a paradoxical effect because when you do that, you feel more empowered.
This really should not be a surprise because you free up a lot of the emotional energy that you used to burn up, worrying about stuff that you can’t control. You then redirect all that energy to the things you can take care of in the here and now. This is how you discover the freedom and joy in moving on.
If you want to accept yourself, you have to do it now. Stop playing games with yourself. There will never be a “perfect” time where everything will fall into place. That is an illusion. In fact, that is an excuse you give yourself time and time again, so you don’t have to start. I know that it’s unpleasant. I know that you’ll probably run into all sort of truths you’ve been avoiding all this time, but that’s precisely what makes all of this so urgent.
You only have one life to live. Make it count. Make it count to that one person that truly matters in your life. That person of course, is you. Start today. You owe it to yourself.