Letting go of Perfectionism on the Path...A Personal Exploration

Submitted by .Jen on Wed, 06/13/2018 - 04:16

As I sit here, I hear the songs of birds and the scurrying of squirrels as they leap from the limbs of the trees. I wish I could say how peaceful and serene it feels, however, what stands out more strongly is the banging, smashing sounds of dismantling happening nearby...pieces of wood being torn off a children’s playground and thrown into a scrap pile a few yards away...BANG, BANG, smash, thunk...and I wonder why I am sitting here, in THIS spot? What is this here to show me? And then it becomes clear...I have been contemplating what it means to be hard on myself, what creates that harsh inner critic? Is there any truth in it?

Self-Criticism

Maybe you know that particular inner voice...the one that picks and prods, finding weaknesses and issues to be corrected or at least hidden from view. Yes, I imagine that anyone who has turned attention inside and witnessed the flow of chatter within, will surely be familiar. In the background now, I hear the chainsaw’s high pitched whirring as it cuts away what is no longer wanted. Hearing those words play back within me...”no longer wanted”, I see the inner fragmentation of Self into piles of acceptable and unacceptable parts. Underlying the division seems to be an unspoken story that goes something like this...

”If only I can destroy these faulty - misshapen, unpopular, trouble making - parts, THEN I would FEEL ok inside - I would be worthy, loveable, and acceptable to others (to myself!)

Discarding Ourselves

I watch as the parts are thrown into a wheelbarrow and rolled to a large trailer labeled “WASTE”. As I relate to the inquiry at hand, these question arise...What is being “wasted” in this Self dissection? How was it determined what “should” be thrown out and what should be kept? Who determined what has value and what doesn’t? How can one be whole if one is split into pieces; pieces of which one would like to destroy or at least suppress from awareness?

Perhaps we can begin unravelling this by looking at our “shoulds”.

Our Personal Bag of Shoulds

Recently I made a list of all the “shoulds” that have rolled around inside me on any given day...and EASILY filled a page with what I “should” be doing, being, becoming, making, earning, knowing, feeling, accomplishing, thinking. Mixed in all those “shoulds”, there are authentic soulful impulses to engage, create, connect for the sake of the experience and expression of the qualities of Soul ... not to gain love, worthiness or acceptance but to emerge from the place where these qualities are inherent and express just for the sake of it. However, from the place of “should”, each one becomes an ever higher bar to reach, a more perfect version of me to attain, before I have value.

What do I (on some level) hope to gain from meeting all these shoulds? Love? Worth? Acceptance? Yes, indeed. Not consciously, but still, yes. Deep down it’s not even the love or acceptance of others that is truly yearned for...though it may appear so...it is to know love, acceptance and worth within. All these expectations I picked up along the way, were the way I was taught to love and accept myself...conditionally. Not whole heartedly, not for just how I am in this moment, not in times of sensitivity, not in times of shyness, not in times of forgetting, not when I made a mistake, not when I don’t know, not when things are messy, not when I say it wrong.

This shaping by our culture, our families, our society, is not anyone’s fault. Each person is always doing the best they are capable of AND let us remember that in the big scheme of things, our Souls are drawing the situations, environments and people that stir up our sense of limitation, and provide the opportunity to determine who we are through it. So let’s continue to dive in and see what’s there, feel any sense of blame, anger, sadness towards those who may have contributed to our experiences AND THEN open our hearts to see through the situation and why we drew it in the first place.

Discovering the Divine Purpose of Your Incarnation

How do Perfectionist tendencies show up?

I have witnessed that perfectionism may present as an internal pressure to perform and “get it right”, a debilitating sense of self doubt and even a fear of taking any action. Externally, we may reject those people, situations, and ways of being that display our own rejected ways of being, or that urge us to bring forth a way of being that we have judged and abandoned. There is, at the core, a Self Rejection, a sense that “I am not ok as I am, but if I get it perfect, then I will be acceptable/loved/worthy.” We may become hyper vigilant, working extra hard to get everything as “right” as possible - to perfect and leave no opening for criticism or “failure”. Alternatively, we may not try at all, so in fear of our imminent failure and the idea that others will witness it. This may cause us to fight our own impulse to take action, to step forward. This might look like timidity, or a case of always taking a support role, rather than a lead. Other times it may show up as obstacles (like illness, obligations, finances) that are subconsciously created to avoid being seen or fully expressing.

I can remember being in a mixed group of people on a retreat a number of years ago, and being asked to go grab some jugs of water. My mind began playing all of the possible ways I could get it wrong, all of the possible ways that others might criticize the choice I made. I needed to make the “right” choice. I needed to do it perfect in order to avoid the pain of other’s criticism. I literally stood in the water aisle for 10 minutes, frozen, panicked and eventually “saved” by another of the group coming over and quickly and without issue, grabbing what we needed. This was illuminating (and awkward)! I never had realized just how imprisoned I was by the underlying pain.

Our Inner Critic is Trying to Help

It seems to me that inner criticism is rooted in a natural aspect of the Soul - that of self- reflection, self-inquiry and observation. However, it has become distorted and gone into overdrive to prevent experiencing the underlying feelings of inadequacy, incompleteness, being unloveable, unnecessary etc. How does harshly criticizing oneself actually protect from the deeper pain?

The criticism gives a sense of control - if I can see it about myself and point it out to myself or others, then I can not be surprised by any sense of external criticism that will touch the core pain. Alternately, I may protect myself from the pain by covering all of my bases, making sure there are no mistakes and my inner critic is sure to keep driving me toward this end. Wow! This realization blew my mind! How much effort I had been exerting so that I wouldn’t feel the underlying inadequacy.

Of course, we all know it is one thing to realize something intellectually, it is another to experience the realization by touching this core pain. This initial step should not be discounted though! It’s huge to realize the ways we have circled around our pain.

Welcoming and Reclaiming Ourselves

When the realization emerges that we have been avoiding our pain by seeking to be
perfect or by being very critical of others or ourselves, there is only one way I have found to really move through it and that’s to enter the place we are afraid of feeling. What would it feel like to just let yourself BE? However that is in the moment - even if, consequently, you feel as though you are falling apart, coming unglued, unable to maintain the facade? What is falling apart but the sense of who you thought you were? What might you find in the place where you can no longer hold it together?

This also means, we are invited to be at home with all of the “unwanted” parts. When we can reclaim these unwanted parts, we are reclaiming aspects of our Soul. We are coming home to ourselves, at home within ourselves. Every unwanted part is an important part. Maybe there’s a part of me that feels “I mess everything up” - in feeling this fully, I become OK with messing things up, and reclaim the part of me that takes risks, that moves forward without knowing what will ultimately be. This doesn’t necessarily come easily - these patterns are often pretty ingrained. It’s essential to feel what happens internally. Open to the tightness, let it tell you what the source is. If it is supportive, ask within “ what am I believing about myself right now?” Perhaps things such as: “I am worthless”, “I don’t matter” “I wish I could disappear”. Feel into what these beliefs do inside. What does worthless feel like? What does it feel like to be invisible? Let the feelings arise and express with them. That could be the eruption of sound, movement, tears, punching a pillow, writing or anything else that feels right to you in the moment. The expression of the feeling, helps you to become as One with it.

This means there is no one there pushing the feelings away, there is an allowance of whatever is arising. From that place, the “shoulds” can not hold you because you are open to feeling whatever comes your way. You know it won’t kill you. You know it won’t destroy you. Feeling it will only break down what you never were anyway. Feeling it will allow you to reclaim the piece of yourself that is ready to be welcomed home.

For more details on the Openhand process for working with subconscious trauma and karma, read more here...

9 step spiritual healing process for dealing with subconscious karma

Deep Inner Nourishment

In concert with processing and diving deeply into our fears and attachments, it is just as important to balance this with Self-love and Self Compassion. Perhaps a walk, connecting with nature, time with close friends, family or pets, a warm bath, a delicious meal, or a cup of tea with one or more herbs like lavender, rose or chamomile - all of which are emotionally uplifting, calming and heart-opening.

Embrace Yourself

Most importantly, to what degree can you embrace who and how you are right at this moment, with all the messy, supposed imperfections? There is something truly beautiful that happens when we stop trying to fit, or get it right. There is a relaxation inside, a sense that I am ok and you are ok too, just as we are. You may notice that as you embrace yourself more fully, you can more fully embrace others. For me this comes most easily when I have attention centered here with me. This means, I am most attentive, not to what I perceive others would need or prefer from me, but to what I feel and how I feel to be in the moment. Yes, this may take me into uncomfortable places inside, but in those places are the buried aspects of myself that I have been avoiding. In touching these places, I can cease shaping my life to avoid these places and with that comes a deep sense of freedom.

What in existence is truly perfect? And who holds the scale of perfection? Everything is in a state of evolving. Perhaps it can be said that, at the root of our drive for perfection is a yearning for greater harmony, alignment and Self expression. Can we both love who and how we are now AND continue to have the courage and self-honesty to face the challenges we meet on the path? I observe this synergy has the potential to bring a deep sense of inner contentment while staying in touch with the will to confront the friction and blossom our potential most fully.

What’s your experience? This is just one perspective - a view from my experiences. I would love to hear how this shows up for you, as well as your insights and realizations!

With love,
Jen

Jen is an accredited Openhand Facilitator based in the USA. She has highly skilled empathic qualities, able to intuit and feel what's shifting internally for the people she works with - it helps them quickly break through inner blockages and karma. Jen's energy has a very angelic quality to it.
Find out more from here personal website...SOUL RADIANCE 
You can read her facilitator biog and connect here...Jen's Biog

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Comments

This is really wonderful article Jen - engaging on right on the button!

It's important to be accurate and authentic in our expressions on the path, but when we cross the line into perfectionism, that can be very limiting.

Thanks for sharing your views - I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

Now I can kick off my shoes, put the computer down, and relax. Ahh yesss....

Open Victory Hand

Great article Jen. You have a way of explaining things very clearly and in very simple terms which I believe reflects a thorough personal journeying through them. The inner critic and the tactics to avoid the inner pain is something I’m very familiar. For me vulnerability offers a strong clue. The word itself brings with it a sense of peace and freedom - that I can accept and be ok with whatever is arising. But that’s just theory. In reality I have observed myself tactfully avoiding any situation to be in that place whether it is working hard to cover it up or just rejecting or avoiding it completely.

 

For example today i began my class by criticizing my students for not getting it properly despite my persistent effort. I see this gives a sense of control and importance. But its not easy at all. In particular cases, I have observed there is no way i can manage or draw attention without it. Another 'should' right there. IN writing this I can feel the self judgment and needing it to go a particular way. But there is relaxation/confidence if it goes a particular way and maybe I’m looking for this authentic being by controlling it. I can now start to look for the authentic beingness without projecting at them or controlling. Anyway half way through the class I made a complete mistake in solving a problem and all I wanted to do was hide or avoid it and that’s what I did. But i have also observed that in admitting my inadequacy, mistakes and being vulnerable in other similar situations, it relaxes me down and opens up a connection with them. It is like giving them permission to be the same. I also feel some of this sense of control and perfectionism is very much ingrained stuff and has to do with survival mechanism. That if i don’t do it right ,then my survival is at stake.

 

There is also self - judgment in being a perfectionist! Would you believe if I say I spend about an hour with this comment?! That’s also a powerful process for me.  As soon as I edited my comment the way 'I wanted' the power came on so that I can post it. Synchronistic!

 

I’m off to collect my own bag of 'should' and 'shouldn’t'!

 

 

In reply to by Vimal V

Hey Vimal! Thanks for sharing your experiences! You mentioned vulnerability and I feel a lot of vulnerability in the way you share here on the site. I feel it takes vulnerability (not to mention courage) to say "hey, this is what happens for me, I don't maybe handle it so well every time" - to me there is tremendous growth when we our honest with ourselves about where we are getting hung up (as we all do). Then we can gradually bring in more awareness as the triggering events are unfolding.  

Since you shared here, I trust you are open to a reflection. If it doesn't resonate, you know the drill =).

You said, 

today i began my class by criticizing my students for not getting it properly despite my persistent effort. I see this gives a sense of control and importance." 

Yes, perhaps there is a projection of "not meeting the bar" (high expectation) despite your persistent effort...almost like "through my effort I can't do enough to get the reflection that I am seeking (importance? effectiveness? value?)".  So, yes we may then inquire and feel within what its like to feel ineffective, unimportant (or whatever energies arise for you).  I do feel there's a point when we recognize that all this effort will never get us what we truly yearn for. 

Does your expression need to create a particular reflection (result in the world)?  If so, I can relate. For me, it came up around cooking for my family.  I would prepare a vegan, flavorful, nourishing meal and feel so much love and connection in the creation of it all and then the family would receive it with "ughhh, what IS this?" as they picked around it with their forks. All the love and connection I felt in the creation would drain away as I got hooked into needing them to receive the meal a certain way. I was looking for confirmation of my own value in how this set of people received it. The key for me was recognizing how I felt in the creation, and witnessing the feedback loop from other places (like an email from a friend asking for a recipe or telling me how much they enjoyed the cooking).

In addition, another key was to inquire how I was being invited to innovate the expression for greater receptivity. Vulnerability (as you pointed out) may be the key here - a sense of openness and surrender. I've learned it's natural to watch for the effectiveness/alignment of your expression in the external world. This gets distorted into needing a paritular result from the world that will give a sense of ourselves we feel we lack.  Is there a chance that there is a fixed way of going about it that in the past has provided a desired outcome? Perhaps there is an invitation to innovate the way of expressing? It sounds like you are touching on this in the next part. 

You said, 

half way through the class I made a complete mistake in solving a problem and all I wanted to do was hide or avoid it and that’s what I did. But i have also observed that in admitting my inadequacy, mistakes and being vulnerable in other similar situations, it relaxes me down and opens up a connection with them. It is like giving them permission to be the same."

This is awesome! It feels like you are touching into building a bridge through an okness with making mistakes - I imagine this opens up a greater openness to explore and take a risk as they are learning - feels like a greater sense of playfulness in the learning as well. 

I too take a while to post what I will share...I feel there is something aligned about finding the expression that has that sense of rightness inside. There is nothing wrong with that to me. At some point though, I also feel it can become over efforted to avoid "making a mistake" - which I am coming to see is often the only way we can recognize some of the sticky points inside. <3

Much love to you and thanks for sharing!

Jen

 

 

Great article, Jen!  It feels like the way you express is totally you, unique you! I struggle to accurately express with words so will be short here.  Quite often (usually in meditation), I feel the harmony and free flow of the soul through life and circumstances that is a possibility. But when engaging in drama, it is oh so much different - losing presence, unconscious, blind spots and so on ...  The important thing is to keep accepting things as they are and keep trying, sometimes we just need a little or not so little nudge to breakthrough.

The Sun Face Emoji

Anatoly

Heyas,

I couldn't be perfect on or in my spiritual path if I tried, but then again I do strive to just be me. A long time ago I came to the conclusion there is no such thing as perfection,  yet there is perfection. It's a thought, a concept brought to form.

There is perfect in precision in its form, there is even a need for it in this world. Without it, the puzzle piece won't fit into the bigger puzzle we all seem to have of our lives. I learned and relearn this throughout the course of my life so far. Especially in my art. I can't seem to draw a straight line to save my life, so abstracts work well for me. Yet I still try do so, even hanging pictures upon my wall tend to hang a bit skewed which can lead to feeling vertigo like. Soo, I accept that I'm a bit tilted and just carry on 😄

Wyndè

A beautiful article Jen, VERY much enjoyed it too! Its so lively, engaging, didactic and full of supportive vibe. I am on the road at the moment for the Divinicus preps and wanted to give the thumbs upThumbs Up Sign  I loved that you mentioned about how the inner critic 'wants' to help. Its such a mutliangled lense you are using in your experiential approach to analysis, that I very much resonate with. What I also find very interesting about the inner critic is that, according to research, its a mechanism that we almost fully develop by the age of 8 years old and serves as a 'way to fit into' a social group. Fascinating! Such a fundamental experience!

With Love Heart

Hi Jen - Awesome article!

I love the way you break it all down, and I can tell you've gone really deeply into this - some fantastic realistions. 

Perfectionism has also been quite an exploration for me, and is of course on-going. I love your observation that perfectionism is a protection from the pain. I also observe that setting the bar really high and then ultimately failing to reach it just reinforces the pattern that I am not good enough as I am. I certainly have to watch out for this one. 

I also observe that if there is a striving for perfection, then it tends to get projected to those around you. Particularly people who are quite similar to you in their patterns. For me, this can be my daughter who shows me all the areas where I am self-critical, because I have the urge to criticise her. 

At work we have a yearly meeting with our team leader. One of the questions asked is about what you feel your 'weaknesses' are and what could be improved. I've always struggled with these questions. And I've judged it in the past as 'not being aware enough' (particularly for someone who is working on self-awareness). However, I can see now that when we accept ourselves as we are, there is nothing to be improved. And to say that something is a 'weakness' is judging its value only within a certain context. If I'm trying my best and giving it 100% by being fully present in the moment and being as much 'me' as possible, then what is there to improve? Thanks Jen for helping me realise this. 

Much love,

Rich

 

 

Thanks so much Anatoly, Wynde, Aspasia and Rich for such beautiful heartfelt feedback and for sharing your own experiences as well! 

Anatoly, you said "It feels like the way you express is totally you, unique you! I struggle to accurately express with words so will be short here. "  That's awesome that you could feel me in it - thank you for reflecting that back to me. I found the creative process of writing to be a tremendous vehicle of transmutation. With this particular topic of being hard on oneself - it was mirrored back in the process of writing and what I found was there was this "just right" amount of reflection and inquiry that I can only describe as what it might be like to be looking at a person and drawing an image of them on paper or sculpting them in 3-d form. With writing I found there was this feeling within and then retrieving the words that captured the energy in a way that felt "synced up". In that there is also an acceptance that the externalized "picture" that feels right at this moment will keep evolving and that the "perfection" is found in finding that sense of rightness in this moment which is a combination of as I am and as I am becoming through the creative process. And as a reflection back to you, I find it beautiful that you can honor the challenges you may find with expressing words that reflect your experience...I bet there are many other ways you express that reflect you most eloquently. 

Wynde ...You said "Especially in my art. I can't seem to draw a straight line to save my life, so abstracts work well for me." I love the way your words seem to give an honest sense of your vibe. This is so essential what you said...rather than needing to conform to the idea of what you should do, draw, be, you honor your natural way of being and at the same time see the value in other ways of being and in developing these within yourself (i.e. the value of a straight line)

Aspasia..You said "What I also find very interesting about the inner critic is that, according to research, its a mechanism that we almost fully develop by the age of 8 years old and serves as a 'way to fit into' a social group." Wow I never realized that! Very interesting....yes that feels related to that natural capacity to look into the environment and see "how I can be me here" - yet it gets distorted into "how can I be to ensure I fit, am accepted, am loved" (which can be a very necessary and protective capacity). It's funny because I love researching things, but every time I began to research this topic from a psychological or mythological standpoint, I couldn't find a voice that felt like me in it. It's certainly an art to synthesize externalized viewpoints with personal experience...something I am drawn to developing!  Thank you for your feedback!!

Rich,,,you said "I also observe that setting the bar really high and then ultimately failing to reach it just reinforces the pattern that I am not good enough as I am" Yes, I recognize that one for sure!! Such a balance between finding the edges of our capacity, breaking through self-limitation and being accepting and gentle with oneself - embracing ourselves as we are.  I also recognize the dynamic of criticizing those outside of us that remind us of ourselves (for me it would be the aspects that I am not comfortable with...something I think we can see pretty much happening everywhere!) This has been an epic part of the journey with my children as well. Specifically with my daughter but also when the kids show up in a way that I judge as something I have "gotten wrong in my parenting role". There is an opportunity to work with the tightness it creates and find the sense of being ok with how they are (I am) being. From the place of okness with it all as it is, then perhaps an authentic call for evolution/innovation of how I am being can come forward.  It's a powerful reflection that I am working through in many facets!! Thank you for mentioning it! I love what you said about weaknesses too. Especially this, "If I'm trying my best and giving it 100% by being fully present in the moment and being as much 'me' as possible, then what is there to improve?"  <3 Thank you for all the reflections!

Grateful and elated to share with you all <3 Jen 

Hi Jen,

I felt to reply to a couple of the things you said . You wrote

So, yes we may then inquire and feel within what its like to feel ineffective, unimportant (or whatever energies arise for you).  I do feel there's a point when we recognize that all this effort will never get us what we truly yearn for.  

I really resonate with this. It also seems to be a key. But i wonder if i can really apply in my class situation. Some of the things that differ from the example you provided is that I'm being paid to teach and deliver in a classroom. I'm also supposed to manage the class with minimum noise and disturbance.Im also supposed to finish the portions within a given time. There are rules. Interesting a while ago when i was contemplating this my attention was drawn to this leftover plastic cover which read "No rules" . I feel unimportant, rejected or less than when I'm explaining this with commitment and the audience gives no attention or does their own business. I guess there should be a setting of clear boundary as to which is allowed. Surrendering into my weakness ,incapabilities etc maybe easy when I'm alone processing it but difficult when im in front of an audience. But with all that said the approach and inquiry and the openness to feel my weakness also gives a sense of peace. I have felt really intense anxiety before some classes especially when I'm unsure as which way to proceed. Its the fear of unknown. To a degree i feel it everyday. Not at all a pleasant feeling. Eventhough no matter how much i say to myself and know that there's nothing to fear , I feel this anxiety and tightness in my heart. 

Thankyou <3

Vimal

In reply to by Vimal V

 

Hey Vimal!

Thanks for sharing! I will reflect back what came up as I read your message. I can relate (I believe) to a lot of what you are sharing. Not that I have it all worked out by any means, but can reflect somethings as a perspective. =) 

How do you feel about the idea that we draw everything to us to show us something about ourselves? If it's something you resonate with, then would you see your experience of your job as something that refelcts your inner experience (including any conditioning)?  Even if there are external rules, expectations, reward, how do you feel when you consider that this particular set of circumstances might be something that you are drawn to for a reason? Perhaps to feel the pressure of the conditions and feel how it causes you to be? Perhaps you touch the experience of these conditions so that you may touch the unconditioned and the limitless? Perhaps these are a reflection of conditions you have become identified with (and valued, or for which you have been valued)? As I know you are aware, it is in feeling the conditions that you can unravel the limiting identification (need, attachment, expectation) and be open to what the moment invites of you. A key question I find myself asking when invited to bridge how I feel to be within an environment that feels rigid is “how can I be me here?” That question alone and the will/surrender to be me in the environment has caused my entire reality to shift to more accurately reflect who I am. That took time but it did happen and most importantly, I found aspects of myself that weren’t coming through when I was meeting the external expectations (which only reflected my own internal belief systems etc).  I have very often "over respected" the rules to the point of conformity...it's something I have to keep working with...to determine who I am in it and how I navigate it without being limited by it. 

 What also comes up when I read your question is...where are the rules limiting how you express yourself? And how do these outer rules/expected ways of being (the ones you are asked to meet in your job) reflect an inner conformity to a set way of doing things that maybe has worked in the past/given you something (and isn’t now)?   You describe a feeling of intense anxiety before some classes, especially when you are unsure which way to proceed. I assume you know the material that you are teaching, so it is not the content you are uncomfortable with. You said you feel it is the fear of the unknown. So perhaps discomfort in being unscripted in each moment (still covering the material - but how? with what energy?) And how you might navigate the challenging and unpredictable behaviors and receptivity of the class, yet still meet the established goals. You mention boundaries and to me that is a huge one! How do you feel about establishing that and what does that mean to you? In my experience with anxiety, it has been of utmost importance to establish boundaries. For me this begins with maintaining a sense of connection to myself in all circumstances - not riding the waves of the environment I am in without being solidly in my own ship.  From there, I feel establishing external boundaries comes with more ease. Also key is what you said about being open to feeling it all. So, just welcoming the inner experience in it’s totality. Letting it be there completely AND in that something will come (or not!) YES! I have found it can be awkward, in particular in front of a group of people waiting for you to say something - but this is the situation that pushes the buttons and applies the heat and pressure to “create the diamond”. How much I have wanted to work out the anxiety internally while I am alone, but in the end, I eventually have to meet the energy in the moment it’s arising. It definitely helps though to contain the energy when needed, gain insight and deepen awareness around it all and meet the energy as much as possible when alone. It seems to allow a more full and maybe more graceful meeting of the crux moments. =)  

The word “weakness” stands out in your sharing. Maybe there is a judgement of oneself for having an experience of ineffectiveness?  It’s a fine line I feel. To surrender into the feelings, yes as an experience but once you have become as one with it, remember it is not who you are. 
 
Thank you so much for the inquiry as it has taken me deeper into reflective experiences.
 
Much love,
Jen
 
 
 

 

 

Hi Jen,

Thanks for sharing and taking it deeper.I found it really catalytic. You have touched many things i haven't personally been aware of before, particularly rules and expectation and how it limits me. My experience and inquiry was more around being vulnerable in a classroom and setting clear boundaries. But dealing with management and how that limits my behaviour is something very important. Many of these conditioning i think i picked up when i was a student myself and how fear of breaking rules and nonconforming has shaped my behaviourism. A real fucked up world indeed! What's more i grew up thinking it was normal! 

I wish to say an experience i had after i responded to your article first. In this particular class i was being very open and friendly to my students and i was sitting in a semi cross-legged position in a chair. The principal/owner of the institution said to me in a very rude manner that its not respectful to sit in this way. In front of my students! I was shocked and embarrassed to say the least. Afterwards my reaction was to nonconform and express my feelings to them and also express to him that he could have said to me this in
person when i was alone. He apologized but also set his boundary. But whats really interesting is that i had expected some 'reward'/consideration because i have behaved a certain way prior to this experience. So yes in some cases if not all i see how my inner world shapes my experiences. I was also keen on just listening and conforming to what i was told in my earlier days. Not a glamorous thing to say! But i had derived value from it. 

You asked how the conditioning might be limiting my expressions. I see I can be flexible with the amount of material i have to teach and also be lenient with my fellows but with setting boundaries. Boundaries can also change when we develop new perspectives about the situations. Maintaining a connection to myself or in other words fully being aware of what is happening internally is essential in setting boundaries. I think there is also a fear of survival lurking inside the issues reflected in this as a fear of being fired because of breaking the rules. I guess its about bending it without getting messy. Im sure i have of lots of diplomacy. Its synchronistic i have downloaded an old movie some time back called Office space which is about some guys breaking the office rules. Perfect time to watch it! :D

Vimal Heart

 

Hey Vimal!

I am feeling a bit wiped out from a busy day but I wanted to just touch in with you and let you know how much I appreciate your sharing. You seem to be very attentive to what's going on for you  and honest with yourself about it. 

So funny that you mention Office Space... It just popped into my awareness again about a week ago... Haven't seen it since it first came out back in the late 90s I think? Hysterical movie with an honest look at the potential ridiculousness and tedium of a job in a cubie (I remember that job all too well!!!) love how even the managers see the value in the main characters authenticity. It's soooo expresses what we often feel... Just want to push all the walls in the cubie down and say you know what, I'm not gonna do this anymore!!!!! YES!! 

Thanks so much Vimal ❤️ I am also feeling to start a separate thread on vulnerability... So if you feel like jumping in there... I'll see you over there. 

Yes, I have been having some important realization around this exploration. I'm being aware many shoulds in my life. I should have answers and not make mistakes. I should hold myself together and not lose it. Like you said i see my current circumstances are reflecting the conditioning i picked up with in the school system. But looking it at from another perspective. Because of this i can also see why the teachers and the people in powers behaved the way they did. I have distinct memories of being punished,beaten ,humiliated even when my mind was pleading for my innocence. But i never had the courage to stand up for my truth. So i made sure i didn't step out of line. I feel compassion for the inner child. When i meditated on this after an incident yesterday, rage is what came up. "Rage rage against the dying of the light" . But also freedom with subtle changes which brings flexibility in the place of rigidity. I know many of here has explored and gone through similar things and many more. I have respect for all of you guys.

I loved the movie too. Really funny! I loved that scene. Its resonates with the flexibility i was talking about. I love your new dp btw.

Thanks for exploring this with me jen

Vimal

 

In reply to by Vimal V

Hi Vimal,

Wow! It sounds like you are really exploring this deeply. It's so positive that you are able to see the underlying reasons for the methods in your education and perhaps have some compassion AND incredibly awesome that you are touching the rage inside as you explore how it was. That model of punishing, beating, humiliating is meant to scare and control (in my opinion) and it's almost impossible for a child to stand up to that. Most of the time, a child only has the option to alter their way of being/disassociate to avoid attack or the felt experience of it - especially if there is no physical escape or option in the situation.

It's so healthy for you to connect to that part of yourself and allow all those feelings that the child may have stuffed down/disassociated from (out of protection) to be felt.  I am sure your teaching position is helping to bring these things up - love the beauty of that. It sounds like you see some of the  strategies that were reinforced in your experiences. Maybe some of those are coming to awareness now as you are in a place to feel them and allow a change. I wonder what got hidden/buried in the dynamics of your childhood education that now wants to be integrated into your natural way of being? 

I love what you said here..."freedom with subtle changes which brings flexibility in the place of rigidity." I find there can be huge shifts from the most subtle of internal changes. <3 

I see too that you are coming to this profession with a yearning to be both effective AND open/embracing of the students. It's not easy!! I also see from your story about the head of the school (in your message prior to this one) that you are already meeting the moment in a new energy (different from what you may have learned from childhood). So awesome that you were able to feel the moment AND meet it with what felt authentic and honoring of you and your way of being in the classroom. Clearly a place where fluidity and flexbility happened in a place where rigidity may have been. 

I have totally enjoyed the exchange here. Thanks Vimal!

With love,

Jen

Just wanted to say,Thank you guys for holding this space. I am like a sponge absorbing what resonates with me and squeezing out what don't. Being careful to be aware of the stuff released from the sponge. Vimal and Jen, as you share here, I sense cubicle walls disappearing. Vimal you had said, "When i meditated on this after an incident yesterday, rage is what came up. "Rage rage against the dying of the light" . But also freedom with subtle changes which brings flexibility in the place of rigidity." As I read this I could feel and see the light shining through. This made me look at what others share as something that feels dark to them, as shining light to me. If that makes sense.  Thanks Jen for being you. Look forward to all the sharing.

Much Love

CharlieThe Sun Face EmojiPraying EmojiSquirrel

Hey Charlie!

Love what you said here "something that feels dark to them, as shining light to me"...I find that when I touch the darkest places inside, I find the greatest light as well and I imagine we all bring up and reflect these places to each other. Thanks for tuning in and being here. 

With love, Jen

Charlie, its so nice of you join in. I'm glad you resonated with the topic. 

Jen, thanks so much for your questions. You asked

 I wonder what got hidden/buried in the dynamics of your childhood education that now wants to be integrated into your natural way of being? 

What i notice immediatley are : A Sense of power and personal sovereignty which also makes me recollect some past incidences were i had enough and stood up against the unfairness.  A courage to stand up for my truth and a will to confront the tightness because i can see its the only thing that can polish the diamond. It gets easy and not overwhelming. Maybe it can also get harder when i go deeper,not sure. A courage to defy the establishment and confront the friction if it creates any. More trust that the same qualities or beingness can create the right reflection i need. An impulse to just appear just as im and how i feel.  Also more relaxation,joy and playfulness as you call it. Heart 

I think the truth that gets distorted is the need to find harmony and resolution. I don't want to make people unnecessarily uncomfortable even it means burying my needs. I'm not sure where to draw the line. Something to watch out for.

The exchange has been so productive. Thanks again. 

Vimal <3