I was inspired by the comment on Karly Randolph Pittman on the combox of my post “Video: I’m Simplifying My Life This Lent (FOR REAL). Karly runs a website called First Ourselves which can be found out www.firstourselves.com. She has done much work in this area, and I was so glad to learn of her resources for recovering perfectionists like myself. Her comment:
I can completely relate to your post. When I first read Abby’s book, I had tears streaming down my face, as I recognized myself in the stories in her book. As a former perfectionist, her work has encouraged me to love and care for myself, to drop those perfectionist expectations, and to make time for joy in the midst of my neverending to-do list. It has been, first and foremost, a journey of love.
I believe lent is not so much about giving something up — what can be seen as ascetism — as much as it is about removing those little soft addictions from our lives; those things we think are meeting our needs but actually keep us from the rich, deep, whole, spiritual life we crave.
When are needs are met, we can grow. It’s true in nature; it’s true in our own lives. Too many of our daily habits aren’t filling our needs, those needs for intimacy, connection, belonging, love and fulfillment. Then we seek out ways to fill them with negative self-care, with sugar, food, shopping, and busyness. But this only leaves us feeling empty and scattered, because it doesn’t nourish us at a deep, rooted level — while also whiling away hours of precious time.
When I love and care for myself, meeting my needs for rest, connection (both with myself, spirit and with others) and stillness, then it’s easy to make healthy choices throughout my day, whether it’s getting up for a 6 a.m. yoga class or eating nourishing foods. It’s a natural, organic process — the healthiest way for me to make lifestyle changes. It’s using love as motivation, rather than fear. It’s taking care of myself as a natural act of love, not an act of duty or obligation.