Your greatest challenge for making progress with self-improvement is your own Critter Brain. What it is and how you can combat it.

High Standards…

The other day I made a mistake and accidentally forgot to plug in the proper cable for my microphone and my music to be heard for my online Zoom class. The experience was still fine as they heard me through the computer but it was not ideal.

Well, saying it was not ideal, is quite the understatement because evidently is was a huge deal; just not to anyone else but me. A little background first, I am a perfectionist, I am very detail oriented. I can say, without any sense of ego, I am really good at what I do and I rarely make mistakes simply because of my 35 years of mastering my work. So, when I do make a mistake, it’s a big deal to me because I have such high standards for myself.

… Led to Disappointment in Myself

When I realized, at the end of class, that everyone did not have the experience I intended for them to have in my class because they couldn’t hear the music I had specifically chosen for this deeply relaxing stretch class, and they couldn’t hear everything I was saying, I really got down on myself. I care so much about what I do and put so much time and energy into so many nuances of my work. When it doesn’t land the way I intend, I get very disappointed in myself or thrown off energetically; even if it is a technical issue beyond my control, like the internet connection.

The first interesting thing to note is that everyone in class shared with me that they still had a very deep and relaxing experience. Although it was different from other classes and they couldn’t hear quite as clearly they knew what to do and the effects were the same because they know me and they were open to the experience of relaxing.

I Couldn’t Shake It Off

Okay, so right off the bat, I should have felt better because of this but nope; I was still being really hard on myself. I couldn’t shake it off. I talked to my husband about it, I apologized to all of my students for the glitch and told them that class was on me and there was no need to pay for it and to please come back again so I could offer them a better experience.

So I took a walk to clear my head a bit more, which did help. I called a girlfriend, who is also in my industry and offers the same classes remotely. I reached out to her because she always says it straight to me, and she basically reminded me that it happens to all of us, we all make mistakes, and no one thinks anything less of you because of it.

It’s OK Not To Be Perfect

 As I walked home I realized how basic and simple her words were but the truth of the matter is that I do not allow myself to be human. There is no space in my life to actually just be a plain old human being; average, run of the mill, normal, imperfect, and ordinary. My whole life has been about being perfect, about doing better, learning more; providing life changing experiences for others, attaining more wisdom, enlightenment, consciousness, having better relationships, have a cleaner house, a better decorated house than I did a few years ago, get better plants, make the yard look better, and so on, and so on.

A lot of this stems from growing up as a dancer and everything had to be perfect. And a lot of this is because of my DNA; I am my mother’s daughter and she was a pro at mastering everything she touched. This was how I was raised and so much of it was actually beautiful and an enhancement of our surroundings and abilities, but it was also to our detriment.

Allowing The Mistakes

Last night reminded me that I am allowed to make mistakes. And even better than that, it showed me that I have the freedom to! I have the freedom to forget things, not improve everything around me, not be the best at something, not be perfect, and to make mistakes. Touching this freedom was actually a bit exhilarating and now I want to celebrate this even more. I chose to write about it because I figure I am not alone in this tendency. I hope this can shine some light on your birthright, your freedom, to be human.

5 Ways To Expand Your Freedom To Not Be Perfect

Here are a few things I plan on doing to encourage myself to live in this freedom. Join me if you feel they fit for you as well.

Why, when we change for the better and feel so good, do we get in our own way?  As if our brain is at war with itself.  Well, because in a way, it is. - Critter Brain

1. Smile

 

As soon as you notice you have made a mistake, smile.

Instantly turning towards yourself with kindness, love, and light heartedness, will provide a foundation for self-love and acceptance instead of criticism and judgment.

Why, when we change for the better and feel so good, do we get in our own way?  As if our brain is at war with itself.  Well, because in a way, it is. - Critter Brain

2. Smile Again

 

If you notice yourself quickly slipping into criticism and judgment, smile again. ☺ It is normal.

Accept that you are judging yourself and being a bit hard on yourself. Place your attention elsewhere. Perhaps on your breath or another acitivity all together.

Why, when we change for the better and feel so good, do we get in our own way?  As if our brain is at war with itself.  Well, because in a way, it is. - Critter Brain

3. Practice

 

Practice doing things a little differently than your perfectionist mind tells you to.

If your tendency is to do the dishes immediately after a meal, try letting some time pass where you just sit and enjoy the meal. Maybe do them the next day. (What!?!?) ☺

Why, when we change for the better and feel so good, do we get in our own way?  As if our brain is at war with itself.  Well, because in a way, it is. - Critter Brain

4.  See YOU

 

Pan back a bit in your life and see the wonder that is you. Just by simply existing you are pretty damn fantastic!

Recognize the tendency to do more than you actually need to; better, faster, more efficiently, etc.

Why, when we change for the better and feel so good, do we get in our own way?  As if our brain is at war with itself.  Well, because in a way, it is. - Critter Brain

5.  Repeat After Me

 

Try this phrase on for size, “I am enough”.

See where you can actually do less and still be just as fantastic!

What areas of your life can you soften and ease off a bit?

Remember to Slow Down…

For me, it helps to slow down. Just because I can multi-task doesn’t mean I should. Just because I can check the mail, open the bills pay them with bill pay, and use my handy dandy shredder all in fewer than two minutes doesn’t mean that is the way I have to do it. Instead, how about a little more freedom? Freedom to move slowly, to let things sit a little before being tended to; freedom to live in the spaces in between all the stuff. Again, freedom to be human.

… And Relax in Being “Just” You

It took about 24 hours to shake off the experience of the mistake I made but now I can sit in gratitude because it was a great reminder that I was WAY too focused on everything, and everyone else, and not on me. I wasn’t focused on my own existence and my own spaciousness to live in, to laugh, to love, to just be and not have to be doing, accomplishing, performing, perfecting everything. Interestingly enough, I am better at what I do when I soften up, relax, try less, and show my underbelly.

Time is so precious, now more than ever. Let’s all remember who we are and what we are doing here. We are simply human beings, albeit fantastically magical human beings, having a life experience.

Sending you massive blessings of good health and the reminder that your freedom lies in knowing that you are free to make mistakes.

Love,

Dove

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Dove Rose

Dove’s boutique studio, Dove’s Bodies, has been an LA institution for more than 35 years. With a background combining decades’ worth of studies in fitness, dance, pilates, martial arts, primal movement, yoga, pranayama, organic nutrition, energy healing, mindful living, intuitive clearing and meditation, Dove is sought out for her unique, intuitive wholistic total-body approach. Dove’s life passion is to guide her clients on their own unique path to wellness, wholeness, and the full integration of mind, body and spirit.

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