Do you ever have an ‘is it me’ day? The kind of day where you feel unappreciated or used and feel that other people, either at home or work, are acting in a self-interested, judgemental or unfair way. It’s easy for these feelings to spiral and it’s possible that you may find yourself withdrawing or arguing. It might feel challenging to find a way to live around those who only think of themselves.
Imagine how your life would be if you felt comfortable with things being good enough? Would you feel like a failure? Or would you feel as though you had achieved an enviable goal? Your response indicates how you dance with life and how you evaluate yourself.
For a perfectionist or someone who suffers from anxiety, the idea of being good enough might feel awful and a second-rate position to aspire to. It might imply that you have not really tried hard enough to achieve excellence and that you are one of those people who is a bit on the lazy side and lacks ambition. For someone who is comfortable with being good enough, the idea of being perfect is an unattainable goal and they may realise that there are many things they wish to focus on in their life apart from work or study or looking perfect. Or it may be that things are far from good enough because you are procrastinating and feel overwhelmed and don’t know how to start changing things.
There is no right answer here and some people are happy with seeking perfection. For others, this can be an anxiety-provoking and isolating pursuit which can be exacerbated by others failing to understand just how important it feels to get everything right or give 100% all the time. In fact, the more others fail to understand the needs of the perfectionist, the more anxious and isolated the person can become. This can lead to arguments and the breakdown of relationships with friends, partners, family and colleagues. The same can be said of poor performance.
If you are struggling with perfectionism or with procrastination and a lack of performance, it can be hard to understand how to change things. You might be stuck and powerless and feel that no one is going to understand. You might be falling behind at work or woth your studies. It might be useful to seek some help to explore what is going on and possible changes you could make to live live in a more fulfilling way. Therapy can help you to do this, and to figure out how you would like the rest of your life to be.
Have you ever wondered whether other people are going to declare that you are a fake and simply not up to it….whether it be a job or some studies….or a relationship….or something else that matters to you. If not, that’s great. It sounds like you feel confident about yourself. If on the other hand you go through life feeling like this, then it sounds like you may have low self-esteem. Or a critical voice inside your head which says you are not good enough, never have been and never will. And it’s only a matter of time before everyone else finds out and rejects you.
I don’t want to start trying to analyse why you might have low self-esteem. It’s not really my style. However, I do think it can help to understand where it comes from. Mainly because you can start to challenge some of the assumptions you might be making. If you can remember feeling like this when you were growing up then it’s probably no surprise that you feel like this now. Big people seem to be very good at telling little people about all their shortcomings. Over and over.
Feeling like you are going to be ‘found out’ adds another layer of stress to a situation that might be stressful enough. Imagine what your life would be like if you started to trust in yourself and your abilities. Let go of the beliefs that you are inadequate or not good enough. Who’s voice are you hearing? Who is it that is telling you don’t add up to very much.
I think that counselling can really help if you feel like this. I promise you that if you decide to work with me I won’t ask you to write down a list of all the things you are good at. I can’t imagine anything worse. If someone tried to work with me like that I’d run a mile. After all, if you knew that stuff you wouldn’t need me in the first place.
We all go through phases when we lack motivation and just can’t seem to get started on the things we want or need to do. That’s normal. Maybe you’re feeling tired or a bit overwhelmed by the big list of jobs to do. Maybe you don’t want to ask for help. Asking for help is something that many people find hard and consider to be a sign of weakness. It’s actually a sign of strength. To be able to recognise that you need other people is a positive thing. If your motivation seems to have disappeared maybe you could take a small step and just do one thing right now that you have been putting off. If you are a high achiever then losing your motivation can seem particularly harsh. Now is the time to be kind to you. Take good care of yourself and accept that this will pass.
If, however, your loss of motivation does not pass after a few weeks and you are experiencing other symptoms like feeling tired, feeling down or not eating or sleeping well, then it could be helpful to talk things through with someone and maybe try some counselling to try and find out if they are any underlying issues which may be contributing to your current difficulties.
by Counsellor, Leamington Spa, Staffordshire
How do you feel if you see someone crying? Does it touch you in some deep place? Do you wish that you could comfort the person and ‘make it all better’? Or does it make you feel uncomfortable? Do you find yourself wishing the other person would ‘pull themselves together’? And does it matter where it happens? For example is crying at work completely unacceptable? What about at weddings and funerals – can you get away with a few tears there? Besides what is the crying about anyway? Are you crying for the other person….or are you crying for yourself? Do the tears of another remind you of your own sadness?
Some clients who come to counselling say that they feel that crying is a sign of weakness. A sign of not coping. They might tell me about something very sad or traumatic that has happened to them and apologise for feeling tearful. Some clients say that they can’t stop crying and are finding this really inconvenient. It is embarrassing and getting in the way of their functioning. How sad. I wonder who told them that crying was unacceptable. Our tears are an expression of our emotions and can be happy, angry or sad. An indication that we may be suffering. At times like this it can help to talk to someone and find a way to express our feelings. And to accept how things are for us right now.
When I hear the type of phrases the young and aspiring would be apprentices use such as ‘I’m really ruthless and will get what I want’ or ‘no one is going to stand in my way’ I often wonder how these people would feel if they heard their words played back to them say in 20 years’ time. I used to work in business but didn’t feel the need to be like that. I did, however, encounter many people who were exactly like that and they made my life quite miserable and made me feel like I was the one who had got it wrong.
You see there is no right answer to life. For me it’s about figuring out who you are and about integrity. I would rather be the person who did not gossip about others or try and stab them in the back. Ever. For me it’s simply not negotiable. And when I hear others doing these things I know that I will probably not enjoy spending time with them. Just because you are in business doesn’t mean that you have to lose your values. It’s still possible to be kind. Maybe they need a Counsellor in The Apprentice house? Now that would be very interesting!