“We fear losing other people’s approval. We’re so scared of that, that’s so terrifying to us! But what actually hurts a lot more is when we completely reject ourselves.” This is a quote from my recent appearance on Claire Barton’s podcast, in an episode titled True Recovering Perfectionist.
Recently I was at a medical appointment and the nurse asked me about my religious affiliation.
The question took me aback, in part because I wasn’t expecting it and in part because I didn’t know how to answer it.
How could I be honest and also fit my answer into a box on the intake form? The words stuck in my throat.
“Nice try,” the counselor said with a kind smile. “But there’s one thing … ”
He bent his head to write on my paper, and I frowned. I’d labored over the words of the affirmation, trying hard to get them exactly right.
It was one of my first workshops at The Clearing, the residential rehab where I spent a month learning how to heal the underlying core issues that drive substance abuse.
(Though I didn’t use drugs, my work as a digital copywriter and some unexpected struggles opened a door for me to participate in the program.)
Our participant group was charged with writing personal affirmations, and I’d thought that mine was done: “I am a strong, courageous woman, living in my integrity, loving myself and others.”
I’d chosen each word with care, so where had I gone wrong?