Kintsugi is a Japanese art where lacquer and gold powder fill in cracks in broken pottery. The piece is considered more valuable as the breakage is part of the object’s history.
Growing up in a broken home, I often blamed myself for other’s distress. I tried to be perfect so everything would be OK, and over time, developed OCD. When I achieved my goal of getting into medical school, this perfectionistic pattern fueled my impostor syndrome. It was only a matter of time until everyone found out I wasn’t ‘good enough’ to be there.
No surprise, I became a child psychiatrist. It never occurred to me that my specialty choice was about understanding my childhood and learning how to ‘fix’ myself. With endless clinical hours helping others heal from trauma, there was little time to process the triggering aspects of the work. I never slowed down to care for myself and continued to give from a place of depletion. Aren’t good doctors supposed...
Singer Kelly Clarkson had her appendix removed only a few hours after hosting the 2019 Billboard music awards. The headline on social media? “Not All Heroes Wear Capes”. I admire Kelly Clarkson and her work ethic, but I wish, “Kelly Clarkson took care of herself today” would get as many retweets!
Our society hasn’t paid much attention to self-care. Now we have record numbers of people being treated for anxiety disorders or burnout. We read about the problem but still value that professional who can do it all.
Last month a journalist who wanted an expert to comment on the definition of self-care contacted me. Her take was that the term is now so prevalent that people may indulge in unhealthy behaviors under the guise of self-care. The example she gave was a spouse getting upset over a partner’s nights out away from the children. Getting together with girlfriends to whine over wine is fun, but is it self-care?
For me, the first...
Bright yellow and black buses flew through my development this morning, the buzz of back-to-school. Smiling children and sleepy teenagers accept their summer is over. The days are shorter, a few leaves turning. These colors and sounds are a reminder of change; actual bees will soon disappear as they prepare to hibernate.
Bees remind me of anxious thoughts buzzing in my head. “Be careful, do it this way.” “Be sure to get it right.” “Be-ware, you’re running out of time!” Maybe this year I’ll put perfectionism to bed for the winter with the bees?
I once said, “If I was a perfectionist, I’d be perfect”. Like most perfectionists, I believed hard work and high expectations made me successful.
Perfectionism and honey bees are sneaky. Honey bees’ stingers are shaped so you don’t feel them entering your skin; the sting comes after the bee finishes. The sting of perfectionism comes when our self-compassion meets the...