In case I haven’t made it clear, I have been on quite the personal journey these past six years. Shameless self-promotion: Don’t ever trust a coach who hasn’t done her own work. I have explored my own limiting beliefs and strive every day to rise above them. Many I have replaced with healthier ones, but there are some that have been part of me for so long that they’re harder to overcome.
One of my most tenacious and pervasive is the belief that I need to be perfect to be loved.
Huh. I was going to change that to “accepted,” but couldn’t bring myself to type it. Damn you, Brené Brown! I am listening to her Dare to Lead this week and heard her voice in my ear reminding me not to sanitise. If you’re lonely, don’t say you’re disconnected. If you’re drowning, don’t tell me that you’re swamped. If you’re overwrought, don’t say that you’re uncomfortable. It’s inauthentic of you and totally unfair to the person with whom you’re sharing it. They can’t know how to help you unless you’re forthcoming. They may not even understand that you need help. “Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind,” right Brené?
Where was I? Ah, yes, my perfectionism. One little word means so much.
Why am I sharing this with you? No, seriously. Why? Geez, it’s like going into a room, forgetting why you’re there. Being middle-aged is fun! My journey, right. Six years ago, I gave up my internal perfectionism. I embraced my own imperfection, and it was a game-changer. Literally. I started to worry less about my golf game and to enjoy it more. On other fronts, it allowed me to have a more open-minded flexibility. It is the reason that I got into coaching, rather than choosing to continue to massage seniors for the rest of my life. Don’t get me wrong; I love them, but, twenty-two years in (ten working out of a chiropractic clinic) the work has become too physically demanding. Fear of failure could have kept me stubbornly doing it, but I took the leap and its associated emotional risks.
This new me brought with it a totem of sorts, a spirit animal, an alter-ego: The Dragonfly, class Insecta, order Odonata, infraorder Anisoptera.
What does she symbolise? Thank you for asking!
“Dragonflies are reminders that we are light, and we can reflect light in powerful ways if we choose to do so.”
― Robyn Nola
What’s not to love?
One last thing Anisoptera brought me was the ability to ride the winds of change, and this I do gratefully and willingly. Where once fear held me back, I now trust myself and my direction.
It’s not all dragonflies, puppies, and rainbows, though.
What I’ve been sharing with you is how I have gotten a handle on my internal perfectionism, my newfound willingness to see myself as imperfect. There’s still the matter of my external need to appear perfect, or, at least, like I’ve kinda got my *stuff* together. If I’m putting the effort in for someone else, I hate to disappoint them. I’ll eat pretty much anything, but what I serve others cannot be subpar. (Don’t get me started on the near-disintegrated turkey I served one Christmas!) I oftentimes find myself apologising for what I’m serving. The idea of disappointing others leads back to fear of judgment. And feeling not good enough. And anxiety. And the inability to fully enjoy a visit from family. Or hosting a dinner party.
Now hear this!! Future guests, please know that my house usually looks significantly more, uh, lived-in than when you’re here. I saw something go by on Facebook that resonated. “Laundry – Wash cycle, forty-five minutes. Dry, forty-five minutes. Put away, seven to ten business days.”
In a business context, perfectionism can be stifling. I can only speak for myself when I say that it delays progress. Rereading blog posts, taking yet another course so I can be a perfect coach for my clients, writing and rewriting hypnosis scripts… all of that pushes back what I am truly called to do, serve families on their path to healing. When I wrap my head around the ramifications of that, it seems selfish; by not making my services widely known, I’m withholding them from people who could be helped. People I could help. And why? Because I stammered doing a video ad for Facebook? No more. I occasionally stammer. I could sometimes write a more cogent blog post or a more powerful hypnosis script.
I don’t strive for perfection, but I give a hundred percent, I give myself permission to evolve and grow as a coach and as a human being, and I’m authentically me.
I’m good with that.
What do you want your legacy to be?
Last weekend I was at the movies. The Lion King, and saw a young family getting buttery-flavour topping for their popcorn. They had in tow a young girl of three or four. She was dressed in a pretty pink dress and getting rather rambunctious, when I heard her exasperated father ask, “What is the matter with you?”
My heart sank.
I don’t know what frustrations his day had already held or what stressors were ruling his life, but I will bet you dollars to doughnuts that his younger self had been asked the same question. It doesn’t just appear out of nowhere.
And in that moment, popcorn crunching under my feet, I just wanted to reach out to that father and dig deep inside to find the moment when those words had harmed his young self.
When I first found myself drawn into the world of end-of-life care, I was unsure of my niche. I will be approaching our local chapter of No One Dies Alone (again) in the hopes of volunteering to sit vigil, but that isn’t where I want my work to take me. No matter where I turned, my calling was toward relationship repair. Probably why I called myself an end-of-life coach. When all is said and done, all coaching is relationship coaching. I came to believe that the reason people grew fearful or angry toward end-of-life was because they were living with unresolved relationships.
But aren’t we all? Isn’t there something, some “What is the matter with you?” comment that shaped your life?
What if you could repair it? What if you could heal the wounded child inside of you who was on its receiving end? What if you could learn to believe that you are perfect just the way you are?
Now imagine the impact that could have on your family line. Teach your children that you’re not judging, you’re guiding them. Teach them that it’s OK to cry and be vulnerable. Teach them that no matter how angry you might get at or how much you don’t love something they’ve done, you still love them. Imagine teaching them by example that it’s OK not to be perfect, and that, when you’re not, taking responsibility for hurting someone else is the right thing to do.
Imagine teaching them to love themselves unconditionally.
So, yeah, that’s why I transitioned away from my exclusive focus on end-of-life. I am a legacy coach. I am here to help the people of this world heal, one family at a time. The cycle of familial emotional trauma can be broken.
Goodbye, Violet Light. Hello, Shatter the Pattern Coaching. Riding the winds of change. My legacy.
Leave the world better
Christie Morden is Calgary's premier emotional legacy coach. Her unique and revolutionary blend of guided meditation and coaching techniques helps her clients achieve results fast and get the healing that they and their families need to shatter the pattern of generational emotional trauma.