Saturday, October 19, 2013

Handling disappointments

Sometimes things just don’t work out the way we want them to.

For example, a project I have been toiling over at work is not yielding the desired results. I’ve invested many hours in it, including many after the normal business day is over. Despite my best efforts, I can’t seem to make the progress I want. I was working myself up over this situation: I wasn’t sleeping much; my mind was racing; my mood was sour; and I felt quite dismal.

Just recently I spotted that I am trying to be exceptional, a condition Dr. Low warns us to not try to attain. I have an exaggerated sense of responsibility to this project. Although the results are disappointing, I must acknowledge that the situation, on balance, is average: Not every project I work on will have stellar results.

I am practicing internalizing these concepts, and for that I am endorsing. I understand them intellectually, but my perfectionist streak pushes back. I am reminded of the everyday saying of Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Although this situation is disappointing, Dr. Low would remind me that such everyday trivialities are never “dangerous.” With this in mind, I am finding some peace in the situation.


Tim said...

Perfectionism is a source of stress. Reminding yourself that you can sometimes let go and accept you've done your best can certainly help.

James White said...

I think the only dangerous things are those we give toomuch attention to. We have to live our life, and is good to do our best. But nobody can do best at absolutely everything.

Kevin Dass said...

practice makes permanent...
expect less so we don't get huge disappointments but only joy when it over delivers..

CA B said...

I too am very driven by this 'picture perfect' mindset that always haunts everything I do. It is something that is ridiculously hard to overcome. I am a dance instructor, photographer, writer, and lover of all things artsy so whenever I work on...well...pretty much anything in my life, I find myself anxious and disappointed in my work. I always second guess edits, I never feel like my teaching or choreo is strong enough (and at times let myself believe even my assistants, who are young teenage dancers, look at me and think, "really lady?" I am always way too far in my head, but I am slowly challenging myself to think outside of the box. Most of the things we do in life are subjective anyways...which means there really in no answer, no perfect. It all depends on WHO is looking at it and how they PERCEIVE it. You will forever be overly judgmental of your works if you don't step back and see the progress you've made. Maybe think back to projects you did when you first started your job. I would have to believe that you have come a long way. We grow, we change, we adapt to the world around us. Don't forget that you will always be learning and growing. You will make mistakes. You will hopefully in turn learn from those said mistakes. The most important part however, is that you stop and give yourself a second of praise. Realize you are amazing and that so many people and projects would go untouched if not for your presence. Go forth and let go of your 'picture perfect' idea and do you comes from the heart, not from an anxious, beastly place hidden somewhere in your body!

I hope this post leaves you with peace in your heart. :)

Brian M said...

"Perfection" is a poor strategy. Basically a perfectionist has only one way to do things.

When obstacles come up, they don't have any other options but to do that same thing. They will keep doing it over and over which leads to frustration, etc. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result.

What is required is flexible behaviour. The person with the most flexible behaviour controls the situation.

Be open minded. Accept reality as it is and don't expect is to change just because you want it to. By accepting and surrendering to what is, you see things differently and it opens up more potential doors of opportunity.

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Justina Morgan said...

I am very new to Recovery and hope that I am posting my comment in the proper manner. I have been dealing with an anxiety disorder to one degree or another for most of my adult life. However, four years agos I lost my beloved husband to cancer. He was only 58 years young and had been diagnosed with melanoma just six months prior to his passing. Needless to say this devastaing change in my life, and the resulting major changes in my families lives, has brought my anxiety to new and frightening levels. I have tried individual counseling and even was referred to intensive outpatient therapy, without much success. I am hoping and praying I can hang in with the meetings as I do find the overall process and information overwhelming. Also, I find myself becomning anxious listenting to the others examples of their situations. Is that a normal reaction ? I find myself waking up in the morning feeling anxiety before I have even spoken with anyone. What is that about ??? I am desperate and would welcome suggestions. I am fearful at this point for my emotional and physical well being. As a widow I do not have a stable financial situation, so I cannot afford to buy many of Dr. Low's books. Help Please !!!

Carly Susanne said...

Hi Doug. I wish you every success in your recovery. I suffered terribly with anxiety, but I'm so much better now. X

Doug said...

Dear Justina, Please talk to your group leader about your feelings. It can be distressing sometimes to hear other people's examples, but you should endorse for bearing the discomfort. If you cannot afford to purchase Dr. Low's books, many libraries have them. Attending meetings is one of the best ways to learn the method anyway. Recovery training takes time, but endorse yourself for starting along the path to healing.

Dear CA B, I greatly appreciated your comments. Thank you for sharing them. They brightened my day.

And thank you everyone else for taking time to read my blog and share your thoughts. Endorse!

Kevo said...

I was wondering if anyone had any success in taking Magnesium for panic attacks. A family member recently suggested this.

Anna Seaside said...

Hi Doug,

I recently stumbled across your blog and have found it so inspiring. As a teenager, I have found it quite difficult to deal with my anxiety and reading your posts has definitely helped me to see that I am not alone in this.

I also suffer from what could be called 'extreme perfectionism' and, while it can be good for achieving good grades, it can be absolutely devastating when I do not. I will feel terrible about myself for the rest of the week and my self-esteem plunges massively.

When I was little, I had school shoes with a velcro strap. For some reason I had it ingrained in my mind that the strap had to to be perfectly placed on top of the velcro so that none of it was showing. I became obsessed with this and would literally spend half an hour trying to get the strap just right, refusing to do PE as I would have to take them off and then spend another half an hour strapping them again.

That was when I was 5 or 6 or something, and now that seems utterly crazy, but the perfectionist streak has always stayed with me I think and my anxiety definitely still exists. Thank goodness, though, it has got better, and I can only hope that it will continue to improve in the future.

Goawayanxiety said...

I've been trying to get over anxiety for a long time. There's only been a few effective ways for me... It's really hard, to the point it takes you into depression.

There are quite a few methods to help you.