Figure out what you need

Through periods of overwhelm it’s easy to feel lost and stuck. When there are 101 problems finding a solution can be challenging.

Often, the best place to start is by figuring out what you need in the moment.

Finish the sentence:

When I feel anxious in a crowded place, I need…

Perhaps you’re in a crowded place feeling anxious, sirens are going off in your mind and part of you just wants to go home this instant.

But all you need is a moment alone in a quiet place to do something soothing like count, a sensory exercise or tapping.

It takes practice to know what you need, practice to know when to apply it and practice to be able to take space to care for yourself.

But practice makes perfect so it’s worth a try.

Perfect timing

Sometimes with little to no effort things work out perfectly. You know those moments where you think I couldn’t have planned this any better than exactly how it’s worked it. I think these moments are even better when they’ve come as a result of you letting go and not putting so much pressure on how things work out.

I feel like perfect timing happens on accident, it just happens. If you spend ages planning and trying to force things to turn out a certain way, the outcome might be great but it was the result of your hard work.

On the flipside when things just happen to turn out perfectly it can serve as a reminder that you don’t have to keep your nose to the grindstone in order for things to turn out wonderfully.

A different kind of perfect

Think of something in your life that is not quite where you want it to be. Close your eyes and visualise waht it would be like if it was perfect.

Most of us have things in our lives that we wish were at least a little bit different to how they are right now. We have ideas or daydreams in out minds of the way way we wish things were or the way we’d like things to be. Sometimes we hold on so tight to these ideas and daydreams that we end up beeleiving they are the only path to take for things turning out perfectly (or at least just good).

But of course that’s not the case. Things could turn out 101 different ways and still be perfect. By holding on to a single vision of perfection you close yourself off to all the other kinds of perfect that you may never have anticipated.

The perfect character

I recently started watching a show from the 90s that has gained a significant amount of criticism for various reasons. Much of it I agree with, yet I still found the show (for the most part) enjoyable to watch.

One particular bit of criticism that I didn’t agree with was that against the main character. People raised points of her making silly mistakes, being selfish and making poor choices.

However, as much as I understood the criticism, the show was not created to present the characters as perfect. Plus, it’s unrealistic to expect all things to pass the test of time. I think for may people the real issue was that their perception of the main character had changed from good to bad.

It went from thinking she was cool and liberated to thinking that she would have been better off if she…

She went from being aspirational to being an example of what not to do.

And so I think it’s much more useful to take the show for what it was instead of focusing on this idea of a perfect character. And if that feels difficult, think about you’re own life. It is more than likely that the ideas you had and choices you made in the 90s are not ones you carry with you in present day.

75% qualified

There are stats to prove that when it comes to job applications women are less likely to apply than men, if they don’t meet all the requirements.

The interesting thing about this is that if you don’t get the job you don’t really lose out because nothing changes. So if you apply yo a job where you only meet 75% of what they are asking for, there’s no real risk at all, in fact you should probably do it more often.

The things you can’t yet do or don’t have much experience of are probably things that can be learnt on the job.

Of course, if what they’re asking for is experience in a specialised software that you’ve never even heard of it’s probably not worth going for. However, if the application asks for someone who has used a particular software and you have, don’t let not being an expert stop you from applying.

When you don’t perfectly meet all the criteria for a job application perhaps you feel like you won’t be able to do a good, you’re worried about your weaknesses (the things you’re not as experienced in) being exposed or maybe you don’t think you’ll get an interview.

All that stuff is just guesswork. You can apply to a job you’re perfectly qualified for and not get it, you can apply to a job you’re 75% qualified for and get it.

The risk of applying is minimal, I think the real risk is in getting your hopes up.

But the purpose of taking a risk is knowing there’s a chance it might not work and doing it anyway.

The perfect words

There are some cases when, if you don’t know what to say the best thing to say is nothing at all. But that doesn’t apply to every situation.

In fact, in some scenarios saying nothing is one of the worst things that you can do.

Sometimes we hold off from speaking up because we think that less than perfect is not good enough. However, the perfect composition of words shouldn’t always be the aim.

At times it’s better to speak up in the moment, to perhaps let someone know that you care instead of staying quiet. The alternative is to wait until what you have to say is closer to perfect but by then it will be too late.

Two types of perfectionists

When you think of a perfectionist, what comes to mind?

Almost every time it’s the type A personality who is incredibly organised and competitive. The sort of person who is particular and also explicit about wanting to get things right.

But there is a different kind of perfectionist too.

The second is the sort of person that procrastinates and fears their best will never be good enough.

Beneath the surface they seek perfectionism too. They have such high expectations that they won’t even try if they think they can’t meet them. This sort of person feels disappointed if they produce something that isn’t ‘perfect’.

The difference between these 2 people is that the first is willing to try.

The perfect time to daydream

Nobody is living their life exactly as they would like right now. But in this space of uncertainty, limited in person interaction and staying inside you’ll get a pretty good idea of how you want to live your life.

Ask yourself: What do I miss?

What do I want to do with my day?

And give yourself time to daydream.

Lie down maybe even sit outside in the sun if possible and just daydream. Daydream about your job, how do you earn a living, what is your working life like.

Daydream about how you spend your free time, the people in your life, how you dress and any other bit of your life that’s on your mind.

Then come back to your reality and think about how different the daydream is to your current life.

It’s not bad if they greatly differ but it might serve as a reminder that you’re not living the life you truly want.

Policing perfect

If you go on social media you’ll find an abundant amount of people policing ‘perfect’. They’ll criticise, comment and assume as though people aren’t human beings.

But the thing is, you can never please everyone and you will make mistakes.

And as great as the internet is, nobody needs 4658 strangers criticising them for something they said or did, even if it was wrong. Ganging up on someone is never a good way to get them to change their ways.

The internet and social media in particular is a great place to practice ‘just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’. Just because you can send a comment telling someone off for doing something that you don’t think they should have done, doesn’t mean you should.

Better yet ask yourself ‘is this useful or helpful?’, ‘what will I achieve by doing this?’.

Chances are you might find it’s actually better to say nothing at all.

Go with the flow

It’s hard to balance tense and triggered aspects of self with the softer more malleable bits.

My anxiety makes me tense and rigid but it also deeply influences the way I write. But my softer more malleable side deeply influences my writing too.

It is often through writing that my anxieties subside and I am able to go with the flow, follow the words and not worry about the order or things making perfect sense but to instead stay inflow allowing the words to pour.

To be able to follow the flow no matter how brief or specific is something worth cherishing. When you’re tense and rigid or feeling overwhelmed by life it seems impossible that there’s any other way, but there is.

The flow is always there whether you choose that path or not. You can go back to it at any point because the moment you realise that what you’re doing isn’t working or should be different is the moment the solution becomes available.