Ep 68 | Overcoming Perfectionism and Embracing Self-Compassion

By Kim Strobel

February 9, 2022

From an early age, we are taught to color inside the lines, and any color that strays outside the lines is considered a mistake to be avoided. We are supposed to do everything right, which carries over into adulthood.  Perfectionism is a naturally limiting mindset. Imperfection, however, frees us to live outside the lines, where possibilities are infinite, mistakes are allowed, and self-judgment is minimal.

It’s not easy to let go of our need for perfection or the old tapes that play in our head that remind us we are supposed to act, do, and perform in a certain way.  In this episode, Kim shares her struggle when things appear to go astray and how she is working to transform how she handles challenges in her own life. When we learn to let go of our “expectations” of ourselves, we begin to see that we have the ability to feel better about just being human beings. We can learn to take back our power and plant the seeds of transformation and inner freedom.

What’s in the episode: 

  • What perfectionism looks like and how it shows up in our life.
  • How to pivot when dealing with hard things.
  • Learn to manage your feelings better.
  • Understand how belief systems drive the inner critic
  • The art of allowing our heavy feelings.
  • Three ways to practice self-compassion

We must learn to process our heavy feelings rather than avoid them.”  - Kim Strobel

If you enjoy this episode and it inspired you in some way, I’d love to hear about it and know your biggest takeaway. Take a screenshot of you listening on your device, post it to your Instagram Stories and tag me, @kimstrobeljoy.

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About Kim

Kim Strobel is Chief Happiness Officer at Kim Strobel Live Events and Retreats. She is a teacher, consultant, motivational speaker, happiness coach, and mission-minded person whose passion is helping others overcome their fears and discover their joy!

You can follow Kim’s journey on Instagram at @KimStrobelJoy and in the free private She Finds Joy Facebook community.


Kim Strobel 00:18 

Hello, everyone, today, it's just going to be me, I'm going to be doing the next series of podcast episodes. And I'm going to try to keep them just a little bit shorter because I know that we're all busy. In my she finds joy Facebook group. Last week, I made a post because I had had a string 

of really shitty days. Do you ever find that when one thing goes bad, then another thing goes bad, then another thing goes bad, then another thing goes bad. Sometimes we call that waking up on the wrong side of the bed. But the bottom line is, we are part of the equation of creating the more bad things in our life, because our energy is constantly being put out. And it's either positive energy or negative energy. And like, attracts, like, that's actually the Law of Attraction right there. And whatever you're putting out there is constantly being rebounded right back to you.

Which is why we have to take some responsibility for a string of really crappy days. You know, for me, I'll just tell you, running my own business is really hard. I don't know everything, I don't have everything figured out. I make good decisions, and I make bad decisions. I lead my team very strongly sometimes. And other times, I am not a good leader on my team. I screw up. Sometimes, sometimes I have personal challenges. And last week, was really hard for me, because I was having a mixture of all of those things. And when we're feeling the heaviness of life kind of feeling very chaotic, and like it's going in the wrong direction.

We also can fill a lot of heavy feelings. And for me, I was feeling shame over how I handled a situation on my team. I was feeling hurt by the person who kind of came at me. And that's what it felt like, I felt anger, I felt guilt. And I felt pure pissed off pissed off at times. And I really had to coach myself because first and foremost, we're allowed to feel our heavy feelings. I don't even like to call those negative feelings. They're heavy feelings. And we're allowed to experience the broad spectrum of all the feelings. And I know that many of us were raised to not express negative feelings.

We were told, when you're hurt, to brush yourself off, dry your tears and get back up. We're told that we're not allowed to express anger, or that it's bad to express anger. We're told to simply pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and get on with life. And I actually think that when we feel our feelings, we're able to process them in transform them, rather than bury them under layers of layers. Because when we bury them, they don't serve us, they turn into bitterness, and resentment. And so I really worked on being able to feel my feelings and when I work with businesses or schools or organizations that hire me to come in and really work with their team members on growth.

Part of it is creating an atmosphere of vulnerability where we're allowed to really share our true feelings because only then are we allowed, are we able to transform them. So throughout those days, I kept reminding myself, Kim, you are in control of your reactions. And your thoughts are either leading to more bad shit happening. Or I can take control and shift them so that I get back on the track of ease and flow. And that, my friends is not easy because we self sabotage, we want to feel I wanted to feel angry, I wanted to feel pissed off, I was getting some kind of gain by feeling those feelings, I was feeling justified in I was feeling like I was right, and that I should not have been attacked. And so, again, we have to be able to allow ourselves to feel those, but at some point, we have to also take radical responsibility for our life. And it took a few days, it took a few days for me to do that. And I realized that I was a contributing member of what I was experiencing in the outside world.

So I really had to decide that I am responsible for my thoughts. I'm creating my future right now, either by default by letting life happen to me, or by trying to take control of my thoughts towards what I was experiencing. And again, this is not an easy task. But I find that when we can look at ourselves through the lens of compassion, and be kind to ourselves, we can begin to make progress. But what many of us do is we slip into that inner critic, mold, right, the inner critic mode, where we start berating ourselves, we start telling ourselves, you're an idiot, you can't run a business, you don't know how to lead your team, you aren't a nice person, you're not a good person. And what we actually know about self compassion, is that if we're going to, if we're going to talk about compassion, we've got to talk about perfectionism.

 Because as Brene Brown says, most perfectionism comes from the fact that we were raised getting praised for being good. We got praised for how we performed, we got praised for our intelligence, our skill set our achievement. And some examples of this might be landing a really good job, getting good grades, following the rules, making others happy, looking and smiling, pretty and being nice, having good manners, all of these things. And what Brene Brown says is that sometimes we adopt a belief system that says, I am, what I accomplish, and how well I do it. And the my value comes not from just being me, but being able to please perform and perfect. And I'm going to tie all of this into compassion. In my story of several crappy days. I personally believe that perfectionism is the lowest standard that we can hold ourselves to, because it's the very thing that keeps us from becoming all that we can become. And perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfectly, look perfectly and act perfectly. So for me, run my business perfectly, be the perfect neighbor, be the perfect wife, be the perfect mom be the perfect daughter, that we can somehow reduce the pain of feeling blame, and judgment and shame.

 Well, here's the deal. Perfectionism, is also what makes our inner critic roar. And my inner critic on those crappy days was roaring. Because not only was I down there in those low level feelings of shame, guilt, hurt and anger. But those were really hard to feel. And so then I went into blame and judgment of myself inwardly. And I find that practicing self compassion is instrumental to us being able to transform that energy, but it's one of the hardest things I've been learning to do. And I work with my counselor on self compassion a lot. According to Dr. Chris Neff, she is someone who has studied self compassion extensively. And she says it's made up of three things. Self, kindness, how to be warm, and kind and understanding towards yourself when you fail, suffer or feel inadequate.

 It's not about ignoring your pain, okay? But it's not, it's also being kind, not having to get the good old whip out and slash ourselves across the back. Self kindness is instrumental towards transforming some of those heavier feelings. And so for me when I was having that string of really crappy days, and I found myself in that loop, of just attracting more negativity, I was driving home from Evansville, Indiana, and I immediately began to look for 10 things I could be grateful for. So I shifted into gratitude, then I decided to be really kind to myself to say, Hey, Kim, you're a human being, you're not expected to have it all figured out, you're not going to always run your team perfectly, you're not always going to make the best business decisions. And so I was shopping in Costco at the time, and I thought, I'm going to gift myself these beautiful flowers that I walked by, I'm going to extend some grace and some kindness to the woman who shows up more than anybody else for me in a day's time. And that is Kim Strobel.

So the first one that Dr. Kristin Neff, talks about when we're trying to understand self compassion, is learning to be kind to ourselves. The second one that she talks about is called a common humanity. And what this means is suffering and feelings of personal inadequacy, are a part of the shared human experience. It is something that we all go through, we all suffer, we all struggle, you are not alone in this. And I think that's really important to remember as well. And then the third piece of practicing self compassion is mindfulness. Which means taking a balanced approach to negative emotions, so that feelings are not suppressed, but they're also not exaggerated. And I am a huge Exaggerator. Like, if I make a mistake, it's the worst thing ever. It's, I'm a terrible person, I'm inadequate, all of these things run through my head. And what she says is we can't ignore our pain.

But we can also feel compassion for it. At the same time, we don't have to over identify with the thoughts and feelings that we're thinking so that we get caught up in the negativity. And I feel like those three things are really helpful. And when I go back to, to the string of crappy days that I was having last week, and they were crappy. I kept thinking, how can I pivot myself, because I know that my thoughts and my feelings, and my actions are creating and contributing to what I'm experiencing.

So for me, I'm just gonna go through exactly what I did to pivot myself, and it worked. And so I'm hoping it might be helpful to you. And I know in the happy Academy, which is my 10 month program, where we really work with people on being able to amplify their life in a really big way, and truly create happiness and courageousness and accepts acceptance and really be able to radically shift our life in a positive direction. I will tell you that this piece that we go into even deeper in the happy Academy is critical to helping us really pivot our life and figure out how to reclaim ourselves while we're living our life. It's just so easy to get lost in the emotional fray of life and forget that we are our biggest investment and that taking the time to walk the personal growth journey. You usually leads to massive results. And so for me, this was my personal journey to pivot myself out of this, and maybe it will help you. I personally believe in God and Jesus.

 So I began to immediately have a conversation with him. And I just said, Look, I don't have this figured out. And I need your help, because I can't figure it out on my own. So any kind of divine guidance you can give me, I will be so appreciative of. Then I looked around and came up with 10 things to be grateful for. Then I bought myself some flowers because I was beating myself up inside, the inner critic was roaring. By the way, my inner critic has a name, her name is Ethel. And Ethel's very ugly, she has snake like hair, and she has bright red lips that are very fierce, and she has sneaky little eyes. And so Etho was just going crazy inside my head, and so about myself the flowers to extend some grace and compassion for the hurt parts of me.

 Then, I picked up food for my favorite restaurant, and the lady who came out to the curb to deliver it to me, I gave her a really big tip, because I also know that we can, when we put out good energy, it can help a shift. And I just wanted to be kind, and put a smile on her face. And then I had a conversation with my husband so that I could process what I was going through, I needed some emotional support, I also reached out to a friend. But I think it's really easy to think that someone else's life is perfect. And it's easy to forget that we are all wearing so many hats, hats that no one else knows we're wearing. And I know for me, I have a big public presence. And if you go to my Facebook page, it looks like I'm killing it. I'm flying across the country, getting on stages, working with businesses, coaching them. Going on great vacations, like there's a lot of really good stuff going on in my life.

But sometimes we forget that we're not alone and are struggling, and that we all have struggles that we are human beings, and we're having human experiences. And rather than focusing on all of our screw ups, maybe just maybe we can create the toolset to pivot us out of that. And so my hope would be that you learn to give yourself some grace today. And instead of looking for all the evidence that says you're not enough, I want you to look for all the evidence that reminds you that you are full of greatness.

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