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It's an Inside Job

I am recovering from good/bad thinking. My good has been defined by high ideals that stretch me beyond expectations. I have always strived to do my utmost in every situation. The perfect child; the perfect adult; the perfect mother; the perfect spouse; the perfect woman; the perfect teacher.

Hitting a wall is a wakeup call. Pain is an incredible motivator and attention-getter. I am listening. I am aware. I am learning new parameters. I ease my foot off my accelerator of expectations and am functioning at a nice cruising level. I watch the scenery with less goal-oriented eyes. I am open to change. It’s an inside job.

I have patience and I trust as I sort out my emotions, I settle into a place that holds more compassion for my inner self striving to be perfect. I am a spiritual being learning in a human body.

From the desk of Melody Beattie:

“Recovery is not about being right; it’s about allowing ourselves to be who we are and accepting others as they are.”
“That concept can be difficult for many of us if we have lived in systems that functioned on the “right-wrong” justice scale. The person who was right was okay; the person who was wrong was shamed. All value and worth may have depended on being right; to be wrong meant annihilation of self and self-esteem.”
“In recovery, we are learning how to strive for love in our relationships, not superiority. Yes, we may need to make decisions about people’s behavior from time to time. If someone is hurting us, we need to stand up for ourselves. We have a responsibility to set boundaries and take care of ourselves. But we do not need to justify taking care of ourselves by condemning someone else. We can avoid the trap of focusing on others instead of ourselves.”
“In recovery, we are learning that what we do needs to be right only for us. What others do is their business and needs to be right only for them. It’s tempting to rest in the superiority of being right and in analyzing other people’s motives and actions, but it’s more rewarding to look deeper.”
“Today, I will remember that I don’t have to hide behind being right. I don’t have to justify what I want and need with saying something is “right” or “wrong.” I can let myself be who I am.”

I looked in the mirror.

I saw not just a face

But a reflection of my past,

Accomplishments laced with mistakes.

I saw one space

Collecting all of my fears.

I saw tears held back—


Held back too.

How many years I have not known my self.

As long as it has taken to get back to you,

I would retrace every step

Just so that I could be here to say

I love you.

Because now I know the truth:

Love runs deep in the veins of the pulsing


Love is my name, and

I’ll not soon forget who I see

When I catch my reflection

Gazing back at me.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • Thank you so much for your reflection and for bringing Melodie Beattie’s words to us. It’s so easy to see how others should be living their lives. It’s easy to give advice and giving unsolicited advice demonstrates I believe that person is not adult enough to take care of themselves and make decisions. I try to not turn adults into infants and solve their problems. I think that’s what Beattie is talking about. I know what is right for me and not for others. I trust their process and supply my ears to them so that they can learn where they are and solve their own problems. It’s a good reminder.

  • There’s something very freeing that I only have to be cognizant of what is right for me. I can’t and shouldn’t do it for anyone else. If I can discern that for myself, that’s a big thing. Thank you.

  • It ties in with assumptions that can bite you every time. Just because something works for me, it doesn’t mean it’s going to work for someone else. I am facing a situation with my granddaughter who was hurt by the pandemic and she’s become antisocial. Now she retreats to her room. I am practicing ways to not tell her what things she should be doing. The biggest thing I can do is live a life of integrity that will shine for others and which will encourage them to ask how I succeed because they want to learn from me.

  • During the meditation, I listened to Brene Brown, the author of Gifts of Imperfection and she describes perfectionism being all about fear, which is the story of my life. She says that integrity and intention are in the trunk of the car, and fear or perfection is driving. My inner child wants to be accepted and loved and not abandoned. All the issues I had as a child are playing out again as an adult. This is fodder for me to use to help me move through what I am going through. As an empathic, it’s overwhelming to feel the emotions of people experiencing challenges. My goto is to fix them so I don’t hurt. It’s important to take care of my discomfort and not fix others. It’s not my job. My job is to hold compassion for their journey. Awareness of the key, and good to have in the toolbelt of life.

  • I get inspired listening to Brene Brown. I found her book Gifts of Imperfection, and it changed my life. It’s a very popular a book. Our society has a chronic case of I’m not good enough, and strives to be perfect. It’s true for me. It’s a journey. I assume a new task I choose to do will be done with 100% competence like someone doing the same task for 30 years. It’s unrealistic and I catch myself doing it all the time.

  • When I can get to compassion, I seem to be there without my or other’s baggage. Then I am in the spot where it’s for each of us to figure out whatever it is we have to figure out. When everything else is dropped, that’s when I can find the compassion. When I meditate, sometimes I can get between the space between the breaths. It’s hard to explain.

  • Thank you. This reminds me of my art process. Three weeks ago, I learned a new technique painting on silk and my first project was so easy, I thought I’d start doing this. I tried a second project same technique, and I had expectations of myself and found it so hard to do. It wasn’t enjoyable. I was about to give up but then I saw I had made a mistake. I realized I liked the mistake and I started exploring that. It wasn’t until I made the mistake that I gave myself permission to express what I wanted to express without my expectations. I love that process. I let go of the reins, of holding on to make something perfect.

  • During the meditation, I wrote down ‘high expectations’ which is where I related perfectionism. I shifted to acceptance of self and acceptance of everything in my realm for what it is. Some of what is in my realm is a work in progress and other parts are delightful. This morning I was out on my deck critiquing my yard. But then I had a realization that I was having quiet time and I could rest and just let things be. I can wear myself out making lists of what I want to get to and it only hurts me. My theme these days is shorten the list. By doing that, it’s giving me time to pause and be free to do spontaneous things.

  • I’m not doing well today. The perfect mother thing is hitting me. Yesterday, I met with a relative and I left our visit feeling sad. They weren’t honest about something and it made me feel bad. There was judgment. I want to just crawl back in bed but I have to keep being a caregiver.

  • Sometimes we take a hit by what we are so desperate to have from people we love and they let us down. It’s a hit. We have to take care of ourselves so that we can get back to where we were and keep going. A way to look at it is that I’m experiencing this now, it’s not going to last forever. It’s something to keep in mind when we are in pain, that this is how I feel now, take care as best we can in the process. It’s hard. I encourage you to take care of yourself through your thoughts and emotions.

  • Thank you for being here today. Thank you for taking time out in your morning, to start your day with awareness, with authenticity, with gratitude, with reflection. It goes a long way no matter where we are emotionally. As we are tender to our insides, it helps us live more authentically outside. I hope you all have a gentle day.

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