My Addiction to Guilt that was Masquerading as Perfectionism and What Helped me Uncover itFeb 01, 2023
The pandemic was challenging for all of us. What I did NOT see coming was how challenging 2022 would be for me. In hindsight, I asked for it. I even somewhat planned for it, knowing my empty nester status was likely to get an upgrade I was not ready for. I could have fought it, but that just prolongs the suffering. If I’ve learned anything after coaching nearly 1,000 women toward their own healing it’s to allow the shitty feelings to surface, and face them.
I decided to go all in and leave social media so that my favorite flavor of distraction and self-sabotage would not prevent me from getting to the root of my general unease and dissatisfaction with my life, even though it was actually very good. I had everything I had once dreamed of because I consciously created it as so, but something felt off. I wanted to explore it.
To add fuel to the fire, I was attracted to a weird-looking green stone necklace at a crystal store one day. It was ugly, but I kept finding myself drawn back to it. I walked over to the books and one on moldavite nearly leaped off the shelf at me. I bought them both and left to learn more.
So here I was, preparing for my daughters to reach new pinnacles of independence, void of the distraction of social media, wearing my moldavite necklace 24/7. The first time I put it on I felt the charge go up my right leg and then through my body. I had crazy dreams, uncomfortable moments with people I love (Mirror Theory), and A-ha moments even Oprah would be proud of.
I replaced social media with meditation and contemplation after finding The Gene Keys and printing my chart. The unfolding and awakening were in full bloom.
In hindsight, I think I was at a point in my life where I could think about myself. I had spare time for the first time since becoming a mom. I also wanted to be a bigger spiritual example for my daughters when it comes to unpacking my own stories, taking ownership, and transforming fear to love.
And I did. For one whole year, this doer of all the things with a love language of Acts of Service did very little of anything. I sat and felt. And it changed my entire perspective on life.
I let my house go. I relaxed about food and drink. I read more books and moved far less than normal.
And I felt immensely guilty about it.
One of my Gene Keys is 42 with the shadow of expectation. When I wasn’t fulfilling the high expectations I had of myself and started to feel guilty about it, I started projecting that expectation onto my husband. The word expectation really feels like disappointment to me, and it’s a convenient way for my ego to keep me from realizing it’s ME I’m disappointed in.
It’s not easy to realize you are disappointed in yourself. It’s much easier to point the finger at someone else.
So what does all this have to do with perfectionism? That’s the kicker. It took me a full year to figure out all the layers myself.
The loop I found was such an ingrained story of my life that even though I could see it from a detached observer position, it took my own SisterCoach guiding me through the shadow of expectation for me to find the layers below it. It was actually a day later after my session with her that I had the A-ha moment.
We found, in my ancestral lineage a birthday no one celebrated. It was where disappointment originated. As a result, I was maintaining two outdated stories:
- Instead of realizing I was actually disappointed that my daughters had grown up and their childhoods were over, I kept my focus on something being wrong with my relationship with my husband. It was easy to find problems because I was creating them. It kept the focus off what actually needed to be seen and felt.
- NOT keeping up with all the things I believe a mom and wife should do led me to feel extreme guilt. It covered me like a blanket. It was a very old friend that felt like me. I realized that guilt had been propelling me all these years! It kept me pushing for constant growth and expansion. It had a positive intention that had gone awry and exhausted me.
The moldavite and increased meditation helped me uncover that underneath distraction, comparison, and competition were disappointment, but that was emotionally entangled with perfectionism. In the past, I would have stopped there and worked on those two types of self-sabotage...but this time I was aware enough to keep going.
I was getting more comfortable in the darkness.
As I continued to embrace stillness and received a few private SisterCoaching sessions, I began to see that guilt was flying under the radar as the true, core addiction.
The more I saw my emotional addictions for what they were and how they were created as solutions to past pain, the more I found peace in being. I could enjoy the stillness instead of feeling guilty about it. It led to a huge release of life-long perfectionism and a massive transformation of guilt. The session lasted approximately 50 minutes.
Who knew self-sabotage had so many layers? It was definitely hard, but all lasting meaningful change is. Don't let the Tik Tok moldavite naysayers scare you. I would do it all again.
So, at the one year mark I took the moldavite pendant off and placed it deep in my drawer away from where I sleep. My life has been less moody, chaotic, and revelatory, and that’s ok.
I had one hell of a year of self-discovery. It led my sister and I to build a new collective for women, where true connection and collaboration are all that exist. Watching our SisterCoaches support each other like she and I do has literally made 2023 for me. And it’s only February!
As a result of my discovery, I also created "Guilt Free Mondays." Change can be hard, so instead of trying to focus on change every day, I am using one day a week to catch and release guilt, then taking the tools I create into the rest of my week. It has already helped me find great value in just being here, which is flowing out to my family and friends too. They don't have to do anything for me to love them and find great value in them. Just being them adds value to my life and this world.
I am shooting for progress over perfection.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi! I'm Jamie Dooley. I'm a multi-passionate creator and thought leader in two realms that are important to me; oral health integration, and coaching & healing for women. I vulnerably share my own imperfect journey within, to inspire women to begin theirs.