Pressure, perfectionism and grace


Many of us feel under constant pressure. Stressed, busy, and overwhelmed. Almost everyone we meet is, as well. We read about it on social media. Text our friends about it.

Some of us have major difficulties – financial, health, loss.

But, many of us have made small, normal setbacks and deadlines into huge, stressful things. When we think of to do lists, it’s always too much. We don’t think we have time. Plus we are sure we aren’t enough. We feel the tightness in our chest and feel queasy in the stomach.

Much of this stress is self-imposed by our expectations and what we tell ourselves.

When you look at your to do list are you seeing all the actions you gratefully get to do because you have a job, or health or family? Or are you filled with dread because you are telling yourself it all has to get done today and done perfectly.

One thing when we look at our to do list is to notice not everything has to be done today. Maybe we’d feel better about ourselves if we got it all done (hello, ego). But, pushing it out another day or two may not do anything terrible.

Most of the tasks on your to do list aren’t things that don’t impact your life or the business you are in. (If you have a bunch of those on your list, maybe ask why.) So instead of looking at tasks on your list, think about the bigger picture, the goals, the values, the gratitudes these mean.

I get to talk to my Declutter Group because I have my own business and work from home and get to help others. I am calling the doctor because I have a prescription that works for me. Plus I value health. I need to do my monthly financials because I made an income and I received some great services I paid for. I also want to live in financial integrity.

What if instead of saying, “I’m busy,” when asked how you are, you say, “I am happily productive.” Or, “I am pursuing my goals.” What would feel freer to you to say instead?

Think of yourself as having a richly layered life instead of one full of pressure and busyness. We can look at our full lives with joy or see them as burdens.

Most things are not a 10 on the ‘need to worry about this’ list. But, because of constant self-pressure we start seeing every little thing as a 10. That’s when life starts to feel super hard.

How stressed do you get when life doesn’t flow smoothly? There is traffic? Something breaks? Stuff that happens to everyone in a normal life. Do you get testy often with your family? Do you say, “I just can’t handle one more thing.”

We need to break out of that. Give ourselves and others grace when mistakes are made. Ask for deadline extensions. Meditate before or after work to remind you that your thoughts aren’t necessarily correct. Ask if your stressful thoughts are helpful or could you think about something another way. Walk in nature. Breathe. Give yourself extra space and extra time. Move slower. Do a less than perfect job purposefully on something that doesn’t matter that much.

Be the one person you know that isn’t crazy busy. Or at least think of yourself as less busy and more blessed.


  • Julie says:

    Thank you, this is so true. So much is about perception. We live better than royalty did even 100 years ago!

  • Beth Dargis says:

    That is so true, Julie!

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