Anya Surnitsky, LCSW
Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator, Courage Catalyst
Time for Relief
The hustle to be perceived as flawless is never-ending. You can't win; it's just a deceiving slippery slope of perfectionism. Perhaps you run on a subconscious belief system that goes something like this: If I can avoid the pain and shame of judgment, criticism, and rejection, then I will be safe. But as a likely high achiever, you know that you can't abide by this motto from Elbert Hubbard: "To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing."
So where does this leave you? >> Caught in the hustle of trying to please and perfect while avoiding negative perceptions from those around you. Your feelings of worthiness depend on how much you feel like you belong; feelings of acceptance based on what you get done and how it gets done.
I work with people who care and do for others more than they care or do for themselves; turning inward for self-care seems impossible. Relentless focus on others has left an emptiness where your sense of self needs to be. You want to make adjustments, but you don't want people to be "mad" at you either. This whole way of life is burning you out.
You CAN learn that who you are now is enough. As is. You don't have to continuously shape shift to fit into the tiny box where you feel accepted and worthy. Can you imagine how you would feel if you could soften into self-acceptance, knowing you're enough? There are big steps involved in this transformation, but we will take it one step at a time.
The Avoidance vs. Leaning In
I know you are smart, strong, and resourceful. Because you've probably already tried to figure it out yourself. To outrun it, outsmart it, out-hustle it, out-think it, out-everything it. IT being the pain and shame. You are not a failure because you can't figure it out or fix yourself as you've become accustomed to doing for everyone else. That doesn’t mean you should continue to avoid and push away the hard feelings.
Coming to therapy to focus on yourself may seem too scary because it means you will feel pain. But that is a story you are making up, or imagining to be true. While it could mean facing pain, it could also mean insight, discovery, evolution, improved communication in your relationships, empowerment, sadness, grief, connection, and more.
I know this because I see all of that and more everyday as I sit across from my brave clients who gradually open up and reveal to themselves to who they really are. They use their bravery to work through the fear of investing time and energy in healing. That is courageous. Many avoid coming to therapy for awhile due to fear that their stuff is too much, too overwhelming, too "crazy," or alternatively, not "bad enough." You may be embarrassed that you've waited so long and that you should have figured this stuff out by now (it's like believing you need to lose weight and get in shape before joining a gym). There is no "right" way to address your past, but the right time. If you are here and contemplating therapy, I'm glad you're exploring that nudge that your time is now.
Helpers and givers need to learn to receive help. You may not think it's okay to be the one who's "broken." It feels weak to be “needy;" you think you should just be able to figure it out yourself because you always have.
No one gets through life unscathed; It's just not realistic. When you get wounded by what life throws at you, it is possible to heal, versus just slapping on the temporary band-aid (denial, alcohol, work, food, sex, avoidance, intellectualizing, etc.) that doesn't heal anything-- it just covers it up. The secret is: if you surrender to the vulnerability of working on this with support, you will feel and be so much stronger.
When you get here, I hope it gets to feel like home. A place you can relax, take a breath, feel safe, and feel free to be you. Therapy goes better when you feel comfortable, safe, and supported.
Permission to Change + Perfectionism recovery
You have permission to exhale and attend to yourself. You may not connect with the idea of being a perfectionist because you don’t necessarily need things to be perfect. Unexpectedly, the avoidance of failure wades into perfectionism territory through our feelings and behaviors.
You are ready…
>> To consider living a life that is not all about hustling for worthiness.
>> To challenge the way things “have to be” or the rules.
>> To believe that you are not responsible for making other people happy.
>> To stop feeling obligated and indentured to others, knowing that you will be able to communicate with grace and kindness about what you want.