I was unhappy about this, since I have deadlines like everyone else. And a part of me was thinking things like:
(Notice how the anxiety escalates.)
So I spent the day just hanging out: watching videos, reading Jane Austin for the umpteenth time (as well as some less-enobling literature!), watching television, and taking a walk. And I made sure my self-talk was even more compassionate, understanding, and forgiving than usual.
And guess what: Wednesday was fine. And Thursday. And today (Friday) almost certainly will be. In fact, the last couple of days have been phenomenally productive.
I didn't know at the time that I would rebound so quickly, of course: I could only have faith in the process. However, the speed of my recovery was proportional to the strength of my commitment to self-compassion.
I see this with my students and coaching clients all the time. The turning point is almost always when they realize—intellectually, emotionally, and deep down in their bones—that, not only does perfectionism not work, it's counterproductive. It's when they commit to expunging even tiny residual amounts of perfectionism from their thinking that they turn the corner and start making fast progress on their writing and other work.
But the foundational technique is self-compassion. (more…)