Big Idea: Perfectionism is rooted in fear, not the desire to pay attention to details.
According to Brene Brown, “When perfectionism is driving us, shame is riding shotgun and fear is that annoying backseat driver.”
It’s human nature to judge, to classify, to compare. It’s how our brains simplify their work load to use less energy. However, when we compare to ideals in our journey toward perfection, that leads to feelings of inferiority. In the end, we are afraid of what we’ll find on the other side of comparison.
Perfectionism is holding yourself to an outside ideal that can’t ever really exist because the world is constantly changing. Inferiority is the discrepancy between two internal concepts: the ideal self and the real self.
Either way, it’s an emotion that occurs when we hold ourself to a higher (unreachable?) standard. Some people are more susceptible and I believe a lot of it has to do with our upbringing which is based on societal standards.
The trick is to do your best - and that means do your day’s best, not your best best, every day. Then, give yourself grace if the results don’t match whatever standard you expected to meet.
With little kids, everything they do is amazing. What happened as we grew older?
This week, try this: Check out this list of 7 Crucial Things You Can’t Be Afraid to Do and see how you feel. If you are like me, you started hearing that annoying little anti-joy voice in your head getting louder with each one. As Tony Horton, the trainer of P90X, says, “Do you best and forget the rest.”
Quote: "At its root, perfectionism isn't really about a deep love of being meticulous. It's about fear. Fear of making a mistake. Fear of disappointing others. Fear of failure. Fear of success." ~Michael Law
Educator Resource: Art Therapy in the Classroom - 25 Ideas. As an artist myself, I find a lot of therapy in practicing art, and I know that everyone finds it calming no matter what their skill level. I recently witnessed hundreds of teachers making little paintings of snow people, and everyone was fully invested. I firmly believe art should be in school.
Dad Joke: What's the leading cause of dry skin? Towels.
I hope you get pie and avoid the spiders!
Big Idea: Exercise should not be underrated as a tool for your mental wellbeing.
The other day I was scrolling through Instagram and I saw a video interview of a psychologist about the importance of muscles in mental health. She said that when you contract your skeletal muscles (the ones you can control), they release a ‘hope molecule’ that increases your sense of wellbeing.
I then listened to the whole episode of The Model Health Show and am now ready to go down the rabbit hole of the effects of exercise on mental health and how modern adults and kids are too sedentary, and this lack of movement is the ultimate physiological cause of the spike in mental health issues.
One guest (Dr. Kelly McGonigal) said that there are two equally effective treatments to amp up the reward system in your brain: going for a walk and surgically implanting an electrode in your brain. Which would you rather do?
Being the skeptic that’s often preaching about looking at both sides of an argument, I tried googling various permutations of “Negative effects of exercise on mental health.” The only thing it could come up with is that exercise can sometimes be addictive and people can go overboard.
This week, try this: There doesn’t seem to be a consensus about how much exercise is enough, although there are several big studies that mention 10,000 steps daily which is I guess why FitBit keeps me stepping toward that goal each day. Maybe start by following another article today that mentioned 11 minutes per day.
Quote: "Exercise can not only ward off the ill effects of chronic stress, it can also reverse them." ~John J. Ratey, MD
Educator Resource: Indoor Games - There are 21 games ‘for youth and teens’ on this website that features some classics like Knots and Simon Says as well as some I’d others, like Messenger (get ready for a mess!).
Dad Joke: Why did the chicken go to the gym? To work on his pecks.
It's March. Get out and march!
Big Idea: Forgiveness is 100% for you and not the other person.
Ryan Wamser, my partner in crime in this SEL Hub thing, and I have been presenting an all-day workshop for administrators centered around Leadership Lesson from the Ted Lasso show. One of the lessons is about the power of apologies and forgiveness.
I’ve learned that they are two completely separate events, and an apology does not necessarily require forgiveness.
Forgiving is hard.
Forgiving means that you have come up against a ‘no’ - something died.
Maybe an expectation, an idea of perfection, or an understanding died and it caused pain. The person who caused the pain is responsible for the apology. But you, as the bearer of that grief is the one who has the choice to forgive - to be OK with the new normal and to be able to move forward.
And sometimes, you have to re-forgive. The time required to lessen the pain may be too long for one bout of forgiveness.
Regardless, being able to move on is freeing. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, not a payment to another for their apology.
This week, try this: The next time you have to apologize, please don’t ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness can’t be given and it can’t be forced. There is a difference between forgiveness and absolution.
Quote: "To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." ~Lewis B. Smedes
Educator Resource: Playworks - A nonprofit that believes that play is essential to learning. They have staff training, access to official Playworks Coaches, and be sure to check out their Game Library and find a Playworks near you. I was reminded of this resources by an attendee in one of my workshops this week. I had the honor of interviewing the founder, Jill Vialet, on the Teachers’ Classroom Podcast. Find it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.
Dad Joke: Scrolls were replaced by books. Now we scroll through books on tablets.
Big Idea: The opposite is also true.
Since Niels Bohr was a physicist, I’m sure he was thinking about truths like light and gravity.
What about in the realm of our emotions?
Think about the concept of ‘Tough Love’, where what’s loving is to hold people to a standard and expect their best. The opposite is also true, where the loving thing to do is to create space and empathy.
If the human race is ever going to get along, we need to understand that for what we hold as The Truth, someone else may believe the opposite to be The Truth. Who are we to say which is actually correct? Why can’t they both be true?
It’s sort of like pain. What’s joyful for me might be painful for others. Pick a holiday: for some people, they’d rather a particular holiday were struck from the calendar. Neither is right. Who am I to say that someone else’s pain (or joy) is not real and valid?
This week, try this: The next time you come up against a strong emotion, take a minute to examine its opposite and how some people may hold that as their truth.
Quote: "A deep truth is a truth so deep that not only is it true but its exact opposite is also true." ~Niels Bohr
Educator Resource: Educating Mindfully Conference - (EMCON) - Coalition of Schools Educating Mindfully (COSEM) is hosting their 5th Annual Educating Mindfully Conference (EMCON) on March 10-12, 2023 with a focus on healing, resilience, mindfulness, SEL, equity, and inclusion. COSEM is also hosting a Resource Showcase on March 9 that is free-to-all. Learn more and register at educatingmindfully.org!
Dad Joke: A piece of cherry pie costs $2 in Jamaica and $4.45 in Barbados. Those are the pie rates of the Caribbean.