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No More Overwhelm

inner critic letting go nagging thoughts overwhelm perfectionist perfectionist mindset Nov 28, 2021

“I’m so overwhelmed” has become ubiquitous and even a statement of pride.  If we state we are overwhelmed it means that our life is full.  It means that we have lots going on and as a result are experiencing this feeling.  This type of overwhelm is brought up in casual conversation among friends, colleagues, moms, buddies, you name it they're talking about it.  What is behind this type of overwhelm is often disorganization, an overbooked schedule, or saying yes to too many things (See blog post from Nov 13).

There is another type of overwhelm, however, a type that is unique to those with a perfectionist mindset.  This type of overwhelm does not bring status.  It’s not overwhelming to brag about.  It is a deep overwhelm that results in feelings of despair and hopelessness at its worse.  The type of overwhelm that perfectionists experience has to do with a nagging inner thought “BUT YOU AREN’T PERFECT. YOU AREN'T ENOUGH”.   It’s a constant.  It’s more reliable than death and taxes and that pretty dang reliable.  Sometimes it quiets into a whisper and other times is as loud as a scream.  The nagging thought uses the very direct word YOU but other times it’s more general and refers to your entire life and uses IT’S. BUT IT’S NOT PERFECT  Both hurt.  Both result in feeling buried beneath this weight of perfection.  

In casual conversation the overwhelm your friends and family dialog about feels easier and in fact, you might even have a longing to just feel defeated due to disorganization or an overpacked schedule.  To you, those sound solvable.  Just organize yourself, hit up the Container Store, and BAM the overwhelm is done.  The defeated feeling that comes from having a constant bully reminding you of your failings isn’t solvable with an awesome matching desk organizing set.

Because this type of overwhelm is often personal, it’s hidden.  It’s not shared at the watercooler (back when we felt safe standing less than 3ft from each other) or around coffee with friends. There is a shame associated that makes it even harder to reckon. As a result, you’ve probably been trying to solve it on your own.  You’ve been consuming self-help books and podcasts at a rapid rate.  There's nothing wrong with these, I too love self-help books and podcasts but the difficult part is that there is so much weight put on them.  And so much weight put on yourself to solve it on your own.  The nagging inner voice says it’s got to be this way.  And when you finish another book and try to put it into practice that voice is loudest when you make attempts to silence it through changes in your behaviors so you can stop being a perfectionist.

Wouldn’t it be great to do a 180 on that bully voice and answer back to the nagging of “you're not perfect” with “And you’re point is?”.   What if it didn’t matter to you that you’re not perfect?  What if you went even one step further and found value in your imperfections?  You don’t have to stop being a perfectionist.  That is one of the unique ways your mind deals with stress.  A perfectionist mindset is a stress management tool for your brain. Your brain needs more strategies in its repertoire.    If you have many ways to manage stress and find a richness in imperfections the overwhelm goes away.  

As part of my coaching services, I introduce the NO MORE OVERWHELM formula.  As we close in on the end of the year, many of you with perfectionist mindsets are thinking that if you just set a better goal or work harder on your goal, that 2022 will be your year.   If you truly want no more overwhelm in your life it isn’t about a better goal or working harder.  It is about bringing the nagging bully of thought to the surface and calling out for what it is...a BULLY.  It has introduced the idea that if you aren’t perfect others won’t accept or like you.  That is false.  Think of your network of friends and colleagues, it is probably filled with people that have flaws.  100% of them have flaws because they are human (unless you are friends with aliens in which I can’t vouch for my stats!).   The BULLY voice is overwhelming because it is impossible to be perfect.  When stress arises in life there are many different ways to combat it.  All of which can be learned and implemented right away.  That is at the core of my NO MORE OVERWHELM formula is that this change can start today, you don’t have to wait to be in a better place, learn it perfectly, make extra time...all of those ideas just give more room for the nagging bully to pop up.


So the next time you hear a whisper or a yell attempting to shame you due to imperfections, take a deep breath and remember you are human.  Your brain wants perfect because it believes it is the only way to deal with stress.  Your brain can learn new ways to deal with stress.  And the really good news is you don’t have to do it alone as the bully voice leads you to believe.  Talk about it with a trusted friend, partner, or coach. My Letting Go of Perfect Group Program starts December 1st.

What would you say if I told you that spending 5 minutes per day supporting your mental wellness could improve your gut health? And 5 minutes per day helping your gut health could improve your mental health?


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