I wanted to talk to you all about this big theme I see in clinic.. And when I say big theme, I mean, it comes up VERY consistently in my adult clients as they’re on my table. It never starts this way, but many times the causal endpoint is this; critical parents and the effect they have on their children, now adult.
Usually these clients come into clinic wanting to work on something like stress, anxiety, tension, headaches, perfectionism. Looking a little deeper, it becomes clear we’re addressing underlying self esteem problems, feeling unworthy, not good enough, self sabotaging and they’re usually very critical of themselves (and others!)
Although these people aren’t coming to me in direct relation to their parents, I’ve been a Kinesiologist long enough to know how to pull the layers back. So like any good Kinesiology session, we follow the trail, and pull at the thread, more often than not the source is this. Either one or both of their parents have critical tendencies. Parents who have applied pressure on their children from childhood all the way through into adulthood; and, surprise! After years of embedded belief systems, I find these now adults on my table with all sorts of stress and beliefs that need to be defused and integrated, sadly, as a result of critical parents.
The Wedge That Divides.
The thing is, it’s hard to lay blame or palm off any responsibilities, as the intention is good, right? Parents simply wanting the best for their children, ‘helping’ them, ‘advising’ them, ‘guiding’ them in the right direction. It’s hard to take a firm stance on parental figures when they themselves don’t realise the result of their actions; especially after many years of such habits. The intent is good. The intent comes from a place of love. They want the best for their kids..
However, there is a fine line between being a guide, a support system and being critical and maintaining high expectations. In this day and age where checklists that were previously easier to attain such as property, career, a loving and loyal spouse take years longer to put in place and even harder to hold onto. It’s not the same now as it once was, and that gap between generations can sometimes be difficult for our parents generation to understand. We don’t simply finish our studies, meet a partner, move in together, start a family and buy a house for the cycle to start again. It takes so much longer, with many more setbacks, price-tags, obstacles, competition and choice.
Yet, that’s what critical parents have in mind when they try to help their kids. They believe we should be thicker skinned, that the new generation is softer, less driven and with opportunities they never had themselves. Adding to this disparity is that of course, as people get older, they tend to become firmer in their beliefs and have more difficulty accepting other perspectives, lifestyles and beliefs.
The Damage Is Done, What Now?
So what happens when you’re the child of said parents? Is it possible to communicate? To convey your perspective of the world, having your words land on the mark? To be heard and integrated? Well, that depends on your individual family and how it operates. The future of your relationship is a result of both parties’ receptiveness and willingness to shift and change patterns- for the long term.
It is on your end however, absolutely possible to rewire your beliefs. To shift the way you receive ‘advice’. To fundamentally dissolve your need to maintain ‘top scores’ in order to feel good about yourself. Or conversely, to re-build a poor self esteem and appease that anxiety.
The Kinesiology Fast Track.
So how do you go about this? The first thing necessary is to explore past events; as well as the belief systems that have stemmed as a result.
Let’s say, for example, you received a B in an exam when you were 12 years old. You showed your parents and they were less than impressed because you can to do better. As a result, in the mind of a 12 year old, you’ve not only learned that you need to get A’s for your parents to be pleased, but may go as far as feeling unloved or unaccepted until you get that A.
That belief then lands on the mark and continues into adulthood developing into perfectionism tendencies, either to avoid feeling inner rejection or to maintain the feeling of love and acceptance. Never, really satisfied even when you’re “performing well:, because you’re still always chasing the feeling of being good enough.
So you see; we’re diffusing the past, we’re becoming aware of beliefs. Of our thought patterns, we’re diffusing and rewiring them into more sustainable ones. We’re building new foundations and boundaries for the future. Simple? Can be, even one session will shift and change your perception of yourself and the world around you. You just need to dig a little deeper.
“What’s so bad about being a perfectionist” my client asked me, “if it means I simply like things to be well done?”
Well yes, of course, if just meant to simply enjoy things done ‘correctly’ and efficiently.. But, what about when it starts eating away at your levels of happiness?
Is it worth it?
‘Wait up’ I hear you say.. ‘Eat away at my levels of happiness?? What’s she going on about?’ So, let’s go back to the beginning… What does it mean to be a perfectionist?
Well, we like things done perfectly right? But as a result, nothing we do is ever good enough until we see absolutely zero flaws in the said task/person/action. So tell me this, how often is it possible to create something with zero flaws? Can we ever truly create a masterpiece without seeing a single thing to change?
How Does It Manifest Day To Day?
I’ve seen people at an absolute standstill, unable to move forward or get a task completed because it still isn’t perfect. The result? It never gets done. It just bounces around in the back of our minds waiting to be crossed off the list, unable to move forward nor backward. I’ve seen people try their hand at something with no prior experience and expect it to be professional and flawless the first time round. And the worst part? They beat themselves up and kick themselves to the ground when it isn’t perfect…
It’s around this time that the little voices in our minds turn up the volume and we hear things like “you aren’t good enough”, “so typical of you to mess this up”, “everyone is going to notice how sh** you are.” Sound familiar?
If this is you, you know all about that constant voice of failure, the inability to attempt something out of fear of failing at it, the conversations you re-run in your mind. All the variables of what you could or should have said instead. How others will judge you if you’re messy, or late or mistaken and that constant mental list of things you need to tick off and get done. Are you seeing the problem yet?
Keeping up such a level of perfection for everything within your life is not only problematic for your self-esteem, but also absolutely exhausting. Nobody can keep such rigid control over themselves without balance being restored elsewhere.
Here is where our next dilemma comes in…
The ‘All Or Nothing’ Cycle
The exhausting tightly wound perfection needs an outlet, a way to blow off steam and recoup. And, from what I’ve noticed with my clients, it’s usually a period where all self-imposed rules go out the window. The creamy, heavy, gluten-filled pasta that you usually steer clear of? Yes, please! Chocolate cake for breakfast? Because, why not? It’s time to close the blinds, load up the movies and hibernate in the bat-cave for a week.
I bring this up not out of judgement (absolutely zero. I’m a total fan of chocolate for breakfast and heavy pasta) but because it absolutely breaks my heart to see that rather than enjoying your period of re-balance and going with the flow, you use it as another excuse to despise and beat yourself up. You wonder why you do this to yourself and question why you can’t be like everyone else. So, what happens next? You kick yourself in the butt and try to make up for the ‘slothiness’ by getting back on your 150%, ‘A’ game…
And so the cycle continues…
This is what I mean when I say that perfectionism eats away at your levels of happiness, I see it time and time again. At no point throughout that whole cycle did you have one moment of simple chilled out happiness without putting pressure on yourself. As I said, it breaks my heart.
“Most of the time I feel like it’s the really, genuinely, awesome ones that rip into themselves the hardest.“
I genuinely wish they could let all that baggage go and see themselves in the same way as that I see them. I wish I could take off their self, image glasses and give them the glasses that I wear when I see and speak to them. Because I obviously can’t do this, instead, I’m going to give you a few tips to ease and soothe these tendencies while you organise your next Kinesiology appointment (which you can do here.
Mentally: Learn to accept yourself the way you are, the good, the bad, the ugly. You, my dear, notice your flaws much more than anyone else does and when others do notice them, we tend to either forget them in a heartbeat or add it to the colourful mosaic that is you. Trust me, we don’t define you, your character or your worth by imperfect details. Just go with the flow, stop fighting.
If you need some re-enforcement, try these affirmations: ‘I accept myself regardless of what I do’ ‘I don’t have to be perfect. My best is good enough.’ ‘I am acceptable, regardless of what I do’ ‘I know and do what is right for me’
Physically: Flower Essences are one of my favourite tools to use, namely since they work so effectively with so little effort. The longer you use them and the deeper they rebalance and anchor. You can order some here, or get in touch with me if you can’t see yours in the list.
Whitethorn– Helps us be more gentle with ourselves. It brings a sense of optimistic freshness and helps our thinking to move in new, innovative directions. It helps release us from succumbing to old patterns and habits, especially if we have continued to act them out after initially recognizing them.
Rock Water:For those who are very strict in their way of living. They deny themselves many of the joys and pleasures in life because they consider it may interfere with their work. They are hard masters to themselves and have very high standards to maintain.
Prickly Pear Cactus– The key word here is ‘adaptability’. It’s qualities help us to surrender to the flow of life’s events and wonderful for culture shock and change.
Beech– Is the primary flower essence for all things intolerant. This makes it a perfect choice for handling anger and frustrations. It helps calm nerves and over reactions to anything.
Pine– helps when we blame ourselves for things done or undone. It helps us to acknowledge our faults without dwelling on them, and put right where we can the things we did wrong.
Pencil Cholla Cactus– For feeling lost, confused or overwhelmed by details. It helps us to focus continually in a specific direction and find steadiness with our intention. It brings clarity and surrender into and through obstacles.
Anchor The Change With A Kinesiology Session.
So, lovely one, if you relate to these perfectionist tendencies, I hope this has helped and don’t hesitate to get in touch with me or book a session if you’d like some some fast track backup to remove those boulders you’re carrying.
Speak to you soon!
Is a Holistic Kinesiologist and Mind Body Medicine Therapist located on the Gold Coast, Australia.