Self-Help Exhaustion and Moving Beyond A Need for Perfection

There are plenty of things I know that work to get me feeling inspired again when I’m feeling less than creative – from painting just for the fun of it, to free-writing and doodling in a notebook.

I know what gets me feeling energetic when the blahs set in and I never underestimate how a jog or an impromptu dance party in my kitchen to a kick-ass playlist can do wonders to boost my mood.

I’ve also learned that I thrive on getting to know myself better – uncovering the things that I need to feel good and help me grow into a better version of myself.

But despite this long list of things I can reliably turn to – things I know that will get me moving – and despite the fact that I’m all about growth and finding your space in the world, I’m gonna be real straight with you. Sometimes, I’m just too goddamn tired to apply my own advice.

I know that getting active and moving can help me when I need to shift out of a funk but sometimes I just want to plunk myself on the couch with poutine and a glass of wine (don’t knock it ’til you try it) and flip aimlessly through a million options on Netflix, regular cable and Shomi before realizing that I’ve spent a listless hour trying to pick something to watch, only to end up with the realization that ‘there’s nothing on’.

And sometimes. Sometimes I refuse to stop to overthink a situation in which I’m clearly overreacting to something pretty mundane – something that fits into the ‘first-world problems’ category – in order to analyze what’s really bothering me, to dig deeper and take another look at myself to understand what I can change in my perspective. Because sometimes I just want to overreact to something, not exhaust my brain and regroup when things don’t feel so crazy and hairy anymore.

There was a time when I felt bad that I slacked off by not adhering to my self-help to-do list. There was a time when I felt guilty for not going the extra mile every single freaking time I thought I needed to take a closer look at my motivations to find another way to shape myself into a better version of me – into something closer to a poster-perfect depiction, worthy of an Oprah special. And in those moments, that’s when I realized that the work I thought I was doing to help myself and further my growth was actually hindering me and making me feel like shit because I wasn’t taking my own advice. I was judging myself for not following a prescribed set of rules. But y’know what? Rules were made to be broken.

I’m not saying we should throw out the things that light us up. And I’m definitely not suggesting that we stop moving through a space where we can see ourselves continuously changing and learning.

But what I am suggesting is that we can be willing to recognize those moments where every last inch of our being just needs to succumb to what we’re feeling at the time, sit in it, dwell with it and get lost in it.

We can be willing to recognize when we can push ourselves a bit to move forward because sometimes when we nudge ourselves through a lull, we surprise and delight ourselves with our resilience.

But sometimes we need to sit longer with the discomfort and taste it. Because sometimes when we push ourselves out of something too quickly, we actually lose the lesson in it all.


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