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Nevertheless, your choice of the first guiding virtue to work on will depend on what type of perfectionist you are. For example, if you are an achievement perfectionist, then adopting and working on unconditional self-acceptance as your guiding virtue can help you overcome the self-destructive tendency to belittle yourself when you fall short of doing a perfect job. Table 3.1 matches each of the ten types of perfectionism to a set of guiding virtues that includes one or more potent antidotes. Breathe. Use the four-seven-eight breathing technique described in this chapter. Repeat for at least five minutes or until the anxiety decreases or passes. Pray. Concentrate on specific times you have felt God's love. Remember times when God delivered you from difficulties. Thank him for these times. Praise him for his constant love and providence. Ask him for the grace to believe that he is right here for you in this moment in the same way, loving you, providing for you, and delivering you just as he always has. Make connection. Is there someone who could give you a hug? Go to them. Don't talk about your problem ... yet. Just tell them you are feeling out of sorts and need some help pulling yourself together. Relax into the hug. Focus on matching their breathing.

Sync your body to theirs. If possible, stay in the hug until you find yourself exhaling spontaneously. That lets you know your "calm down" nervous system is fully engaged. What does that mean for you? If the people surrounding you are negative and practice overindulgence, then you are living in an environment that will eventually drain your willpower. If eating out is your main source of recreation and a daily occurrence, then you will have more challenges creating a successful environment for maintaining a healthy food plan. If your life is completely off balance with too much stress and work, then practicing self-care will become more difficult. So the first thing you need to do when you feel your self-care engine is running dry is to stop and assess what is going on. You can't just power through it with willpower. You need to find where the block, distraction, or disconnect is in order to find out why you are going off course. The key is never to beat yourself up. You need to acknowledge that you are just passing through a temporary rough patch. Just recognize you need to stop, assess, and recharge your self-care engine. Somehow I'm better at remembering to check than I am at remembering to put it down in the first place. If I go back to bed and can't remember that I checked, I get up and go back and check. So now it's strategy, rule, and habit, and I do pretty well. But it started with that sudden shock - she was falling in - and that powerful image. We do have trouble remembering, and learning a new habit is hard and slow, but sometimes apparently a shock or a vivid image can speed things up. We need to be careful that we're not using ADD as an excuse, maybe for something we just don't want to do, or don't care about, or are just lazy about. That just puts more unfair burden on our already overloaded significant other.

We are responsible for trying to do something about our ADD problems; it's a lifetime's work. This is like someone with alcoholism. They are not responsible for being alcoholic, no one ever chooses to be, but they are responsible for doing something about it. Same thing. So if, for example, you are an approval perfectionist, then you can overcome your demand for approval by adopting authenticity and unconditional self-acceptance as your guiding virtues and working toward them. You have now identified your guiding virtues for overcoming your perfectionism. You will have help in working toward these goals as you study the chapters that cover the specific perfectionism types. Congratulations! The guiding virtues you have identified are your lifelong aspirations. Indeed, many perfectionists go through a lifetime not even realizing what they need to change in order to live contentedly in an imperfect world. You now have the definite advantage of knowing what to shoot for. Now that you have gotten your body and brain back under control, you are ready to respond (rather than react) to the situation that hijacked your fear system in the first place. What is one small step you can take to make the situation even a little bit better? Do not look for what you can do to resolve the whole situation once and for all. Just look for one small, even tiny, thing you can do right now to make a small improvement. Do that thing. Or, if nothing can or should be done at this time, look for one small thing you can do to help you refocus on making the rest of the day as pleasant as possible despite this troubling situation. Do that thing. Identify one simple step you can take to effectively respond to the problem situation. This process will allow you to, one step at a time, take control of your anxiety and respond more thoughtfully and productively to life's stressors.

The more you understand the different factors that work together to create our experience of anxiety, the more avenues you have to address and overcome it. Now we are going to briefly explore how your thought-life can also be a significant contributor to your level of anxiety and begin to look at different psychological strategies that can help anyone experience greater peace regardless of the level of anxiety they might be experiencing in their lives. One of my inspirations for the stop, assess, and recharge strategy is my dear friend David, a two-time cancer survivor. He is a walking miracle who exemplifies taking action after getting knocked down. I asked him how he manages to get his self-care back on track when he's had so many life-threatening health concerns. When you are that sick, you start putting your life in the proper perspectives, he said. I've learned to stay focused on my life's real meaning, mission, and purpose. My cancer and surviving it has made me laser-focused on self-care and helping others that are experiencing the same things I have. Cancer is all around us in the way we think; some of the internal feelings or someone's attitude can be as deadly as cancer. And any contrary events around you can mimic a cancer if you allow them in your life. Today, David shares his inspirational story as he travels nationally teaching people how to get back on track on their self-care journey and get focused on the great things that really matters in life. He explains, Carolyn, I was blessed to be healed of my cancer. I made a promise to God that I would help others, and I've been delivered from my illness. I'm talking about life partners or spouses, but these things can apply to our bosses, friends, colleagues, teachers, or any others in our lives. Our ADD behavior has effects all around us. A new book, The ADHD Effect in Marriage, by Melissa Orlov, has many good ideas for a couple handling the ADD problems in one partner. Her tips include letting the ADD person take responsibility for their life and problems and treatment. That way the nonADD spouse doesn't become a parental figure, or a nag or critic. Then the couple needs to sit down together and do problem solving, come up with strategies for improving the things that impact the non-ADD partner. They can work as allies.

As briefly discussed in the introduction, great thinkers throughout history have provided incredibly potent and uplifting wisdom for overcoming various types of perfectionism. As you will see, these great ideas can help you build a plan of action for working toward your guiding virtues, and, consequently, replacing your self-destructive perfectionistic habits with constructive ones. In this section we'll look at some helpful examples. The eighteenth-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant admonishes us not to treat persons, whether ourselves or others, like objects. How do we treat people as objects? We use them, and when they are no longer useful, we discard them! For instance, when that pen of yours runs dry, you think it's useless, throw it away, and get a new one, right? But people are not objects to be used for this or that purpose and discarded when no longer useful. Unlike objects, people have the ability to rationally decide for themselves how they want to be treated. This incredible capacity for rational self-determination gives you (as well as other human beings) an unconditional worth and dignity that clearly distinguishes you from a mere object. Although we often don't realize it, when something happens to us, it impacts us on several different psychological and emotional levels at once. Let's pick a simple illustration. Suppose you text a friend and you don't get a response. As a result, you begin to experience some degree of anxiety. From a psychological perspective, the first layer of experience is the event itself. You texted a friend and didn't get a response. As a result, you are aware of a feeling of nervousness and dread. But why? Most people answer this question by simply describing what happened, as if that explains everything. "I just told you!