Ever read a book and wonder to yourself, “Is the author secretly living in my house because this book fits me to a tee?!”
Full disclosure: I was fortunate enough to be part of the launch team for the book. Cool experience. My first time doing anything like that. Interacting with the authors, other readers, and seeing the process from behind the scenes was completely awesome.
When I got my pre-release copy in the mail, it felt like Christmas. I tore open my package, sat down to read the beginning chapters, and was immediately interrupted by my children. Ah, well, that’s life of a mom. When I did get some free time later to read it, I dug right in. I took my pink highlighter and immediately regretted that my highlighter lines weren’t straight enough on the page. Perfectionism much?
If there were one word to describe this book, it would be Authenticity. Kathi Lipp, a favorite of mine since seeing her at MomCon several years back, and Cheri Lipp both honestly and openly share their struggles in the pages of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life. I found myself laughing when I related to their struggles. I found myself encouraged as I saw how they worked through their struggles. I also felt a bit less crazy knowing that other women struggle with similar issues that I struggle with.
What are their struggles (and mine)? Well, they struggle with the four main instigators of what they term “Try-Harder Living” : Perfectionism, People-Pleasing, Performancism, and Procrastination. What do these bullies try to do?
Although each bully has his own special weapon, they all share one common goal: to convince you to pour all your energy into creating and maintaining an image. This image is based on who they say you should be. Their criteria, of course, change from day to day. This keeps you dancing to their demands, right on the edge of burnout.
Wow. I know these bullies. I’ve got the bruises from their punches. I spent the last year in counseling because of these bullies. Oddly enough, I can’t begin to tell you how much of what my Life Coach (my little term for my Counselor) said that is repeated in this book.
God’s command to love ourselves recognizes that the degree to which we love (or don’t love) ourselves profoundly influences our ability to love others. We can’t give away what we don’t have. If we’re full of self-hatred, we can’t get love. If we’re full of fear, we can’t give respect. We can give only what we have. (page 51)
Wow. Powerful stuff. I worked quite a bit on self-acceptance this past year. Seriously, think about it, if you aren’t accepting yourself, then you are rejecting yourself. And rejection is painful.
Any time your thought or conversation starts with “I should be able to…” check to see if you’re setting up an unreasonable expectation for yourself. (page 157)
Yep, my Life Coach said that repeatedly. I know now to self-check my motives when I say “I should…”
We are not designed to please people. We are designed to please God. (page 236)
I could give you another 20 quotations from this book that just hit me… and reinforced concepts I’ve been working on this past year. The timing of this book was beautiful. I’m at such a better place than I was last year when I started counseling. But I’m still a work in progress and this book is going to stay on my bedside table so I can re-read a chapter or two as needed and work on my tiny acts of rebellion as I stand up to the bullies of Try Harder Living. And I’m quite sure I’ll have more to say here on My Puddle of Thoughts regarding this book in the coming days and weeks. Each time I flip through the pages, rereading, something new stands out to me.
Now, Are you being bullied?
Do you often hear a criticial inner voice?
Does the fear of failure keep you from trying something new?
Do you avoid saying no to anyone or anything?
Are you constantly trying to manage everyone’s feelings and feel like a failure when someone isn’t happy?
Do you suffer from Perfectionistic Paralysis? You know, a project feels daunting so you avoid it?
Is your to-do list constantly getting longer because you feel like you SHOULD be keeping busy?
Have you forgotten how to have fun?
When was the last time you really rested?
Are you defined by what you do?
If you can related to any of those questions, I would highly encourage you pick up a copy of the book. In fact, if you leave a comment on this post, I’ll select one person to receive a free copy of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life. I’ll give you 3 days, and then announce the winner.
You can read a sneak peak of the book by downloading a copy of Chapter 1 at The Cure for the “Perfect” Life website.
Meanwhile, if you can’t wait to join the rebellion against these bullies, you can find The Cure for the “Perfect” Life: 12 Ways to Stop Trying Harder and Start Living Braver by Kathi Lipp & Cheri Gregory at these fine retailers:
And finally, get some great daily encouragement on Facebook by liking Tiny Acts of Rebellion on Facebook or sign up for a Braver Living devotional and find other Braver Living tools at The Cure for the “Perfect” Life website.
That’s a lot of linky-goodness, so be sure to click on the links!
As the back of the book says: If you are crumbling under the burden of perfection… you know the expectations are unreasonable, even unreachable. And when everyone else seems more together than you, where do you turn for help? The truth is you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be brave enough to read this book.
Are you ready to be brave?