Perfectionism: Mapping the Vast Interior Part III/Going West

September 5, 2017 by Gail Nicholson, MA, LPC

This is a continuation of a blog about perfectionism that began with a posting March 21 2017:  “Perfectionism: Mapping the Vast Interior Part I/Facing East.” Read it and Part II/Heading South before starting Part III/Going West if you can.  So happy to welcome you all as we resume our journey around the Sacred Medicine Wheel, visiting the Four Directions and addressing the dilemma of being a perfectionist.

The cardinal directions—East, South, West and North offer a time-honored framework for accessing inner resources and ancient wisdom.  Utilizing this perspective helps with making career and life decisions, and dealing with mental states like perfectionism.

For Native Americans and like-minded, like spirited practitioners, each direction has a special meaning.  In Part III, we look West, where the sun sets and the day miraculously ends.  The West signifies endings and by tapping into the teachings of the West, we find ourselves in a prime position to let go of what no longer matters, is unfulfilling or unsupportive.

Working the Wheel, moving West, dear reader we explore our levels of emotional health and clarity, our sense of well being, our feelings about everyone and everything.  We consider the health of our relations with all others and the natural world; our urges and desires to do certain things.

We look at feelings we currently experience along with any need to feel differently about our lives, work lives and ourselves; to find meaning, creativity, help those around us and our planet.  Knowing what we want out of life and work life inspires us to develop actionable goals.  What will give you a clear signal of satisfaction and not a mixed or slightly confused orientation towards your dream?  Where is that feeling of self-confidence that lets you know what you want, make decisions and go for it?

What if what you thought or think will make you happy isn’t?  Back to our inner perfectionist—could it be this false self is clamoring for more of whatever and you don’t really want it or have it to give?  The perfectionist in us is rarely happy for long, and may criticize the part of us that is available to go out there and acquire or achieve something better.  This ever-demanding worldview tends to lower self-confidence and trust in the future, making exploring and investing harder.

Or the perfectionist in you assaults your very character or physical being, or relationship style, for basically just not being something other than who and what you are.  While we could all use some aspect of self-improvement, this approach can definitely affect your self-confidence.  If you’ve been made vulnerable by your internal critic, create safety for how you truly feel.  Come to know what you really want in life and work life.

Orienting yourself to the west, is an opportunity to let go of anything that is bothering you and interfering with your emotional balance.  So, should you find yourself clearing damaging, perfectionistic metaphors out of your headspace and minimizing contact with unsupportive people, know you’re making room for positive changes.  The psychic safe space created by doing this will help you reconnect with more of your every day experience in almost any situation. So if you can, (please try) stop with the judgments already and listen instead; validate, care, give permission to what’s always there inside you…be more steadfast with what you feel, as you can be with your thoughts, and you will better know what to do.

Watching the sun go down, winking at me through the trees one block down on a quiet Sunday evening in August, it’s a poignant moment.  Facing west, watching the glow of the setting sun, I sense a need to let go of specific things so that I can be more consistently in tune with my deeper personality, values and beliefs, my relationships, the stuff of feeling.

A person’s sense of direction can be experienced in a way that provides guidance, security and a sense of belonging.  Honoring the West offers an opportunity to connect with yourself and others more securely, and to understand your direction better by exploring how you really feel about things, how and what you value.

And if we can also begin to let go of our unrealistic expectations of others and ourselves, it tends to have an ongoing positive effect.  This sort of process allows us to open up and experience what’s worth caring about.  It’s own reward.

Please join us again December 2017 for the last in the series; “Perfectionism: Mapping the Vast Interior Part IV/Looking North.”  Time to work on those soft skills as we look to engage Spirit; listening, giving as well as receiving positive support…

 

Originally posted on Career Transition: The Inside Job