Sometimes I record minisodes that I need to hear for my own personal or professional life, and this is definitely one of them!
I know a lot of you who listen to the podcast probably consume a decent amount of personal growth podcasts, books, etc. and that’s a great thing! However, the thing to watch out for is perfectionism and/or high achievement in personal growth because that can be detrimental.
Some questions to ask yourself to see if this might be you:
- Are you consuming so much self help that you forget that it’s okay to be human? That life hurts and is hard sometimes?
- Do you compare where you are to others, and feel bad that you’re not where you think you’re supposed to be?
- Do you forget sometimes that it’s completely normal to feel like shit at times, to go through incredibly challenging seasons and not have ways to get out of it?
Please remember that we don’t always have to be in a state of perpetual forward movement. Sometimes we move back, and sometimes we are still. It’s never linear.
In addition, there will be times in your life where you have some or even a lot of negative self-talk.
I close this minisode out with reading an excerpt from Make Some Noise about his topic, as well as a little pep talk at the end.
Lastly, there are transcripts for this episode! Scroll down to read…
I love a good personal development book, and you do too, right? I’ve compiled a list of book recommendations, as mentioned in past episodes. Check out these amazing book recommendations here. Happy reading!
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I got the idea to do this minisode a while ago and I think I decided to finally record it because, I don't know, maybe I'm going through the same thing you’re about to hear about.
That often happens that I, even as an author of self-help books, need the information and the advice in the book. So I just write it, because it sucks to feel like a hypocrite. When you're writing advice that you're not taking in your own life, is one of the most uncomfortable things I've experienced. So if you're wanting to take your own advice, or if you're wanting to take some good advice, maybe just start writing it. Whether it's on social media, LinkedIn, wherever.
(One thing that I want to tell you that I'm excited about is that I'm going to start sending out emails again, if you're on my subscriber list, then you get the weekly emails about the podcast, and I'm going to start sending out not just the transcripts of these minisodes. But also emails a couple of times a month that are around motivation, inspiration, advice, things you and I both should be listening to. So if you're not a subscriber, super easy, head on over to Andrea owen.com/free. And also, if you sign up, you get a free private, secret podcast series.)
All right, you ready? Let's get into it. I have a hunch that if you listen to my show, you probably consume a decent amount of self help, am I right? That might look like other podcasts. I'm not mad, if you're cheating on me with other podcasts! You might listen to personal development, podcasts, maybe books, you probably follow some of the people on social media, maybe you've done some workshops or retreats, seminars, that type of thing and you’ve probably gone to therapy. And that is great.
And one of the warning signs with those behaviors is if you are someone who tends to get caught up in the perfectionism, or even just high achieving in personal growth, that can be detrimental. Especially because I know a lot of you struggle with perfectionism in your life or just super high achieving. Maybe it's not perfectionism, maybe it truly is striving for excellence. But high achieving might be one of the coping mechanisms that you use in order to feel good about yourself.
And I see that a lot in personal growth where you feel like you need to be doing it right or you need to have certain markers or mileposts that you should be achieving. And that because you're not where someone else is you feel like shit. And we compare our growth and our aha moments even to other people. And then that can make us be really hard on ourselves and just feel terrible.
And my question for you is, are you consuming so much self help that you forget that it's okay to be human? Or maybe it's not that you're consuming so much but you are holding it in such high regard, that you forget that sometimes life hurts and is hard sometimes. In other words, I just want to remind you that it's completely normal to feel like shit at times. It's completely normal to go through incredibly challenging seasons and not have ways to get out of it.
What I'm pointing to are the seasons of your life where it's messy for a minute, it might be a few months, and maybe you've fallen back on old patterns. Maybe you've even relapsed into some coping mechanisms that you identify as an addiction. And that is normal. We don't always have to be in a state of perpetual forward movement. I know that you know this, you know this from a logical standpoint, the practical part of your brain is like, “Well, yeah, I know that. And I agree with that.”
But we forget, sometimes we forget that it's normal and inevitable, that we're not going to be in a state of perpetual forward movement, that sometimes we move back. And sometimes we are still. It's never linear. And I'm even guilty of getting frustrated and mad and angry at myself for not, “doing the right thing.” Like, I know how to do this better, you know, that Maya Angelou saying is really popular… the whole, “when you know better, you do better”? I don't think we always do that. I love you, Maya Angelou, may you forever rest in peace and power. And I don't think that that is always true.
Because Lord knows I have known better and not done better. I have known, which is the right way to go. And I don't go that way. I definitely don't do it as often as I used to. And I think some of it is because I struggle with impulse control. Hello, ADHD. Yeah, maybe not. Everybody's like that. Maybe you listening. And you're like, “No, I always do better when I know better.” My hat is off to you. I feel like you should definitely get a trophy. And I'm not saying that sarcastically. I say that in earnest. Those people deserve an award, or at the very least, to put that on your resume. I do not. Not always. And I think that when we do that, that can start to feel shitty. And like, “oh, there must be something wrong with me. I must be doing it wrong. This is for the birds.” But sometimes we move backwards. And sometimes we move backwards consciously. I don't know whether it's for the plot. Whether it's out of habit, poor impulse control, whatever the reason doesn't really matter. It's just that it happens. And I just want to normalize that. And sometimes we are still there is no movement for a long time. We might not be adopting new knowledge, new awareness, or even new skills, strategies and tools. Sometimes we don't. It's okay.
I was on Instagram and this really amazing fitness person that I follow Allison Tinney. Alison posted about how sometimes she doesn’t just want to talk about it or be great at fitness. And I replied, “oh, there are times where I do not want to talk about self help. I just want to talk about hairstyles, and Selling Sunset.” (Which by the way, I'm going to make an episode about Selling the OC and Selling Sunset because while I don't watch a whole lot of reality TV, but I watch that. And I was like, is this how they all are?I have things to say. And I was still watching i love it anyway.)
But back to Allison’s post– that's what was my comment back to her. Because it can get exhausting to constantly be striving for betterment to constantly be trying to go in a forward trajectory in our personal development and our personal growth. So it is okay. I'm taking a long time to remind you emphatically that it is okay to move backwards or to stay still. It is not linear.
And there's going to be a lot of times in your life where you have a decent amount of negative self-talk. This is a topic I've talked about ad nauseam for over a decade now. Oh, and PS, I did a whole audio program on it with sounds true, I'll put a link to that in the show notes. It's all of my, all of my best material in terms of of managing your inner critic. But anyway, I have told you over and over again, and I'll say it again, that the goal, if you struggle with negative self-talk, the goal is not to completely eradicate it from your life. The goal is to know very, very quickly when you're doing it, when you're in it, when your self-talk is not the nicest, so you can switch to neutrality. So hopefully, you can, you can move into more self compassion. And as someone who's been not only teaching it for 150 years, but also doing the work in my own life, my negative self-talk is much, much better than it used to be. But sometimes it does still crop up. I'm going through really difficult times in my life when I have been just beaten down when I've made a huge mistake, when I've had a failure, which I still have those. Yeah, my negative self talk kicks up. So again, just another topic where it's not linear.
I want to read from you from Make Some Noise, which is my last book. Chapter eight, and the name of the chapter is Start Riding It Out and Practicing Resilience.
In the beginning of the chapter, I open it with a client of mine who had just had the emotional shit kicked out of her, she had so many circumstances going on at the same time that were just incredibly, incredibly difficult. I tell the story about her and how she was having a hard time. And in one of our coaching sessions together, she was crying and she said, “I've done so much self help work, there has to be something I can do to get me out of this to like feeling all these difficult emotions.” And here's my response to what she had said and I'm quoting from Make Some Noise.
“The answer is there is no one tool. When you're going through an extremely difficult time, there is no switch you can flip that will change your circumstances or how you feel in the short term. The fantastic news here is that our human brains were made for change and resilience, not for staying stuck. But for growing, learning and bouncing back from miserable situations. You have to persevere, you have to put one foot in front of the other, even if it's merely a shuffle in your slippers. In many ways, our culture tells us that the goal is to always be happy on a positive trajectory and successful. Needless to say, those aren't bad things. They're all what we want. And to get there. We all go through hard and sometimes miserable times. What I'm wanting you to look at is your judgment of it, your resistance and avoidance of it. And if in any way you hide these struggles, just as the sun rises and sets you're guaranteed to have times in your life when the sun is setting and rising. Or in other non metaphorical words, you're guaranteed to have shitty times in your life and great non shitty times too. I promise you, the harder you resist that place, the more it will kick your ass. The more frantic you are when you're in there, the longer you will stay there. The more you make yourself wrong for even being there in the first place, the more you will feel like an epic failure. The point of life and for making it outstanding isn't to avoid these troublesome places. It's to stumble into them trudge through and come out more badass for having gone through it in the first place. You came here to make some noise in your life you came here not to be the most fragile of flowers, but to be the type of flower that can weather the storm survive the winter and even perhaps survive being stomped on in a zombie apocalypse. You came here to be persistent and powerful.”
I have several tools in the chapter for walking through, but I'm only going to talk to you about one of them. It's, it's the very, very last one that I talked about in this chapter. And the subheading is You Were Made For This. You ready?
“Allow me to get spiritual with you for a moment. Whether you believe me or not, you have fire in your soul, your mother's mother's mother, and on until the beginning of time, from the motherland. All of those women have experienced strife, challenges beyond our imagination, and somehow made it long enough to have a daughter 1000s of years and countless generations later, here you are, your ancestors have traveled and not in first class on a passenger airplane, sometimes against their will weather literal storms with possibly not the best shelter, dealt with pandemics, other illnesses, various traumas, and probably endless joy and happiness as well. being resourceful and resilient. And writing out hard times is in your blood. You were born with everything you need. It's part of the human experience. And sometimes remembering that can help you get through the challenging time, get through the day, or get through the hour.”
And that's the end of that chapter. I don't know about you, but I especially needed to hear that last part. Because I’m navigating through a very challenging separation and divorce on my hands over here. So if that's you too, I see you if you're someone who's navigating a hard time, or have in the past, and you are hard on yourself around it and making up that you should be stronger, be better at it, be in a different place. My hope is that this minisode has helped you have immense compassion for yourself, and have just the understanding and knowledge that you were built for this. As much as this might suck right now it's part of the human experience. I believe in you. And with that, dear listener, remember, it's our life's journey to make ourselves better humans and our life's responsibility to make the world a better place. Bye for now.