ACT, its best friend COMPASSION, and FEAR

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE of inspirational quotes, poems and other act goodies!
And introducing COMPASSION, ACT’s best friend!

Q: How can I stop my fears holding me back from change?

A: Feel the fear and do it anyway.

When we understand where our fears come from, maybe we can treat them more kindly. Fear is a natural reaction to threat, perceived or imagined. It is a gift of evolution and it is not going anywhere soon. Fear evolved to protect us and to help us to survive. It is there to help us, it is part of our self-protection system.

Unfortunately, this can make our lives difficult at times, particularly when we are facing the unknown, change, uncertain outcomes. This is when Fear really gets its knickers in a twist. Just when we could do with a good dose of courage, Fear is more likely to jump in and rule the roost. “Don’t do this”, “Don’t go there”, “Stay here, stay safe”, these are the words of Fear.

It is easier to let Fear have its way, and comfort zones are notoriously difficult to escape. Change represents the unknown. Maybe things will go well, but maybe they won’t, maybe the grass will be greener but maybe it won’t, maybe we have things to gain, but we have much to lose too. Trying to weigh up all the outcomes can just leave us paralysed. Yes, it is easier to let Fear have its way, it is easier to stay where we are.

And yet doing nothing, staying put, not daring to make a change doesn’t make us feel better in the long term. There is always the “what if” in the back of our mind. What if we had found some courage, what if we had dared to make a change, what if we had found a way to allay our fears, to take them with us into the unknown?

This is the key really. This is where Self-Compassion comes in. We are not meant to be fearless, we were born with Fear as an integral part of our DNA. It is an indispensable component of our tool kit. Accepting our Fear, learning how to soothe it allows us scope, gives us choice. Courage is not being without fear, courage is fear that has said its prayers, courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

And when we do it, let’s not do it with gritted teeth and dread in our heart, let’s do it in a spirit of kindness and compassion. If things go wrong, as well they might, let’s not rail at ourselves for making a bad decision, let’s just accept it all as part of our human experience, a learning curve that we might never have had.

And let’s remember that we are not perfect, we were born to make mistakes, and with each mistake we make we learn what not to do next time. This is the way of progress, this is what change offers us, a chance to grow, if we are willing to feel the fear and do it anyway.

I wrote “ON THE CUSP OF CHANGE” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you cope with change?
  • Do you let fear hold you back from new experiences?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

POEM FOR TODAY

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ON THE CUSP OF CHANGE

Sometimes we feel it happening, we’re on the cusp of change,

And unease now stirs within us as the pieces rearrange,

And we must call upon our courage and our fears begin to quell,

For we’re sloughing off the old world where ‘til lately we did dwell.

It’s a scary sort of feeling, this transition we must make

And Fear’s not there to make it easy, it is there to make us quake,

And remind us of the dangers that are always lurking near,

For though we may find some courage, Fear will not just disappear.

It’s a part of evolution that was careful to instil

A resistance to imprudence, safety first’s its motto still,

But it’s just part of our heritage, and there are others too,

We are driven to make progress through the things we think and do.

And so, we need to strike a bargain with our Fear which sees its role

As a constant overseer, which must always seize control

Of any scary situation, draw us back quick from the brink,

Saying, “Don’t go in the water, you can’t swim, and you will sink.”

And oh, thank goodness for our Fear because it tries so hard to please,

Tries to keep us out of danger, tries to quell our least unease,

But we weren’t born to quiver naked at the edge of scary things,

We were born to face them bravely and find out all that life brings

When we refuse to be defeated by a Fear that stirs within,

When we are willing to accept it, but allow our Courage in

To soothe and whisper words of comfort to our Fear, so it can be

Reassured it’s done it duty before leaving gracefully.

Corinne Shields, 2018

If you enjoyed, “ON THE CUSP OF CHANGE” please pass it on, and do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT, and its best friend COMPASSION ……..

Self-Compassion is the antidote to Fear, it is the right-hand man of Courage.

Learning how to soothe our own Fear is a wonderful attribute. Who wouldn’t want someone on hand to say the right things, to tell us that everything is going to be OK, to reach out a hand of reassurance, to remind us that we aren’t perfect and were never meant to be? Unfortunately, there isn’t always a someone else on hand and, in lieu of a someone else, we may need to be that someone for ourselves.

If we can do that, if we can learn how to soothe ourselves, wouldn’t that be something??

Fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there to teach us just that. I am currently reading “Present Perfect”, recommended to me by a friend. Thank you, Doug. If you, like me, struggle with an outsize streak of Perfectionism, then this is the book for you. Perfectionism is Fear’s best friend. They go hand in glove. If Fear is out to stop you doing stuff, Perfectionism is right up there with it. “Present Perfect” landed on my desk, or more accurately showed up on my Kindle, in the nick of time. It is helping me to feel the fear and do it anyway!

Present Perfect: A Mindfulness Approach to Letting Go of Perfectionism and the Need for Control by [Somov, Pavel G]

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

 

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life? What can YOU do just for today to add some Compassion, some Kindness, into your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you? Is Compassion part of your life?

I am a student of ACT, I am learning about Compassion.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

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ACT, its best friend COMPASSION, and SELF KINDNESS

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE of inspirational quotes, poems and other act goodies!
And introducing COMPASSION, ACT’s best friend!

 

Q: What should I do when I mess up, when I make a mistake?

A: Be kind to yourself.  We are human, we are not perfect.

When we mess up, when we make a mistake what is our default reaction?  If you are like me then you probably start beating yourself up, tell yourself what a stupid fool you are, you should have seen it coming, how could you have been so naive, shortsighted, foolish, brainless …………..

What you probably don’t do, if you are like me, is to show a little sympathy, a little empathy, a bit of compassion.  We are usually much better at being kind to others than we are to ourselves.  This is such a shame.  We are giving ourselves a hard time when it really isn’t necessary.

We are quick to tell our children that the best way to learn is through our mistakes but we don’t extend that same wisdom to ourselves.  We forgive the faults of others, remind them that nobody’s perfect and then forget that that applies to us too.  We are not perfect, we all make mistakes, that is what makes us human.

If we could cultivate self compassion what a difference that would make in our lives.  Body, mind and spirit would be in much better shape with a little bit of loving kindness coming their way.

Scientific research shows that compassion is good for you and I want to claim my share.

I wrote “IN THE LIGHT OF COMPASSION” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you treat yourself when you mess up, when you make a mistake?
  • Are you kind to yourself or are you self critical and harsh?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

POEM FOR TODAY

IN THE LIGHT OF COMPASSION

 

Remember to practice compassion,

Don’t forget what it’s like to be kind,

And if you’re feeling hurt don’t be snappy and curt,

Learn to leave those responses behind.

Let it be like you’re swinging a lantern,

There to guide a lost soul in the dark,

And if you lose your way make it kind words you say,

For compassion is now your hallmark.

Don’t be tempted to self-criticising,

Or else rush to harsh judgement and shame,

For remember the lantern’s your guidance

And it does it in compassion’s name.

It’s a glow that you see in the distance,

And you know if you want to draw near,

You must follow the light that is shining,

Until darkness and fears disappear.

And if we would emerge from the darkness,

And move steadily into the light,

Then we must keep an eye on the lantern,

And ensure that it always burns bright.

© Corinne Shields, 2017

If you enjoyed, “IN THE LIGHT OF COMPASSION” please pass it on, and do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT, and its best friend COMPASSION ……..

Self compassion can bring wonderful benefits into our lives but it may not come naturally.  This is strange really, because compassion is a natural attribute that we all possess.  It was gifted to us by evolution and it has been crucial in ensuring the survival of our species.  Without compassion we would have died out long ago.

Why?  Without compassion we would not nurture our young, our sick, our vulnerable.  Without compassion we would not reach out to others in trouble, we would not lend a helping hand, we would not co-operate. Without compassion we would not be able to nurture ourselves, encourage ourselves, forgive ourselves.  Without compassion we might just give up!

If you need a helping hand to access and nurture your compassion there are some great guided meditations online.  Dr Kristin Neff has a wonderful website at self-compassion.org.  I go there often.  Check it out.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life? What can YOU do just for today to add some Compassion, some Kindness, into your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you? Is Compassion part of your life?

I am a student of ACT, I am learning about Compassion.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

ACT and Perfectionism 2

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE of inspirational quotes, poems and other act goodies!

Q:  What’s so wrong with being a perfectionist?

A:  It sets you up for failure.

Perfectionism is a cruel task master.  Once it’s got us under its cosh it is most unwilling to let us go.  It whispers siren songs trying to convince us that it has our best interests at heart, it doesn’t, that it won’t let us down, it will, and that if we do what it says that we won’t go far wrong, we will!

Perfectionism is not our friend.  Most of the time perfectionism leaves us feeling disappointed, miserable and exhausted.  This is not a good way to live!  If left unchecked it can destroy our health and our relationships.  Although we may have started out with good intentions, high standards are, after all, generally believed to be desirable, when high standards turn into impossible, unremitting high standards, perfectionism turns out to be not such a good idea after all.

This is where ACT can be so helpful.  ACT reminds us that perfectionism is essentially just an idea.  Our perfectionism is the result of the stories we tell ourselves, the thoughts that our mind generates.  If our thoughts are full of “oughts” and “shoulds” and “musts”, then it is likely that they are giving us a pretty hard time.  Every time our mind tells us that we are not good enough, that what we are doing is not good enough, that good enough is not good enough, we suffer.  When it tells us that only perfection will do, it is selling us a lie.

There is no such thing as perfection.  We are imperfect human beings and doing our best is surely good enough.  When we fail to take satisfaction in our achievements, imperfect though they may be, we are missing out.  When we fail to do something because we cannot do it perfectly, we are missing out.  Being a perfectionist stops us from learning the lessons that failure would teach us.  Perfectionists are afraid to fail and so they often do not try.  What a lot of life we are missing out on when perfectionism rules the roost.

ACT helps us to become aware through Mindfulness, then it offers us Defusion to show us how to defuse from unhelpful thoughts.  Perfectionist thoughts are rarely helpful.  When we are in their grip we are more likely to be moving away from where we want to go than towards it.

I wrote “PERFECTIONISM” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Is perfectionism an issue in your life?
  • Does it work for you or against you?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

it-doesnt-all-have-to-be

POEM FOR TODAY

235

PERFECTIONISM

 

It doesn’t all have to be perfect, whatever we think perfect is,

For the price that we pay for perfection is to stress and to get in a tizz,

And it’s all just a silly illusion, this perfection that’s driving us mad,

Better far we accept we’re a little inept and let go and relax just a tad.

And we’ll find that the heavens don’t open, and no lightening is striking us dead,

And in place of the stress a perfectionist bred there’s a lightness that’s spreading instead.

And so, if we are prone to perfection let us pause to consider the cost

Every time we set standards impossibly high and let sweet satisfactions be lost.

And why is it that we’re so persistent in pursuing impossible dreams,

What a boon it would be were we able to see that perfection is not what it seems,

For it is the most brutal task master, pouring scorn when it sees us fall short,

And it never allows us a moment’s respite, keeps us stuck in the trap where we’re caught.

‘Til one day we see through its illusion, and we’re ready to then call its bluff,

So, when it starts to tell us we’ve much more to do, we respond that we’ve done quite enough,

And what pleasure there is for the taking every time we reply in this way,

For the day then becomes full of promise, as perfection is slinking away.

© Corinne Shields, 2017

If you enjoyed, “PERFECTIONISM” please pass it on, and do leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

If we have reached a point when we are fed up with life being an endless report card on achievements or looks, a rather fast track to unhappiness, then hopefully we are ready to make some changes.  This is easier said than done!  After all we have been perfectionists for so long that we have become experts.  New behaviour is going to take some time to kick in!

But ACT does offer some really helpful strategies.  If perfectionism starts to rear its ugly head then it helps to remember that all these “oughts” and “shoulds” and “musts” and “have tos” are just words, just bits of language.  When we speak to ourselves in these terms we are setting up rigid, inflexible rules which create stress and tension.  They also create the likelihood of failure.  They are at the root of much of our emotional suffering, our disappointment with what life offers.

ACT reminds us of the power of language, the potential that it has to impact negatively or positively on our lives.  Even small shifts, saying “may” instead of “must”, “could” instead of “should”, “might” instead of “have to”, reduces the rigidity and creates a choice.

ACT goes one step further.  It reminds us that developing a different relationship with our thoughts, defusing from them and seeing ourselves as the Thinker and not the Thought, reduces their impact still further.

This is all good stuff, a life-line for the perfectionists amongst us.

I have just watched one of Joseph Rhinewine’s videos on Perfectionism.  You might like to go and check it out.  He reminds us that perfectionism has, at base, the common theme of “not enough”, “not good enough”.   Perfectionists have a tendency to get rid of, to discount, anything which is not perfect, which ends up being everything!  Food for thought!

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

just-for-today-im-going-to-see

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

ACT and PERFECTIONISM

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q:  I’m such a perfectionist.  How can I get over myself?

A:  Just do it!  There’s no such thing as perfection.

I used to think that being a perfectionist was a good thing to be.  It isn’t!  It’s a burden and it weighs a ton!

Perfectionists pride themselves on their high standards, but the flip-side is that they often fail to make a start and get things done.  They never feel good enough.

Perfectionists say that they are only interested in the best things in life, but the flip-side is that they miss out on all those lovely little treasures, the “beautiful ordinary”, which is everywhere if they just look.  Life never feels good enough.

Perfectionists expect people to be at their best all of the time, especially in regards to them, but the flip-side is that they cut themselves off from the warmth of real relationships.   People are never good enough.

You get the picture???

The life of a perfectionist isn’t much fun.  It is filled with criticism, of one-self and of others, it is full of disappointment and regret and there is always a feeling that things could be better, we could be better, life could be better.  It’s all a bit of a let-down.

For those perfectionists amongst you who suspect that perfectionism is not really working for you, that in fact it is costing you dear, help is at hand.

ACT is not a fan of perfectionism.  In fact it regards it as a problematic thinking style.  More of that in the next post!

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Do you suspect that perfectionism might be getting in the way of your happiness?
  • Are you getting tired of lugging around this burden?
  • Have you found ways of reducing its impact in your life?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

POEM FOR TODAY

Taking the plunge

TAKING THE PLUNGE

Sometimes it’s time to start it, this new project, this new plan,

Sometimes it’s time to take the plunge right now, while we still can,

For it’s easy to prevaricate, to keep on sitting tight,

But sometimes it’s time to start it even though the time’s not right.

For perfection is not possible, we can’t always prepare

For each unexplored imponderable that waits for us out there,

For there’s a panoply of variables that we cannot control,

But the only way to build is bit by bit to make a whole.

So if we have got a project or a plan kept under wraps,

Let’s let go the old excuses, the what ifs and the perhaps

And let’s make a new commitment that we’ll start instead to do

What is necessary daily until we have seen it through.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed “Taking the Plunge” please pass it on, and do leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go ……………….

A final word from ACT

If you would like to find out more about ACT and Perfectionism I recommend you head over to Joseph Rhineman’s site and view his video.  I found it very interesting and I think you will too.

Which leads us to the …………………………..

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………………………….

Perfectionism

If you have read this far please leave your comments.  How is ACT helping you?

I am on an ACT journey and I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne