Fortunately, we can apply the six-step method discussed in the introduction! I must not make mistakes. Therefore, if I make a mistake, it will mean I'm worthless/a failure/a screw-up. I've made a mistake, failed, or otherwise fallen short. Therefore, I'm worthless/a failure/a screw-up. It should now be evident how you can defeat your own purposes and cause yourself a whole lot of stress by buying into the "must" in premise 1. Once you accept it, it's all downhill from there! Think about something you believe you have recently done wrong, some perceived failing, mistake, or shortcoming that you have been really down on yourself about. Try to describe this thing you think you've done wrong in as few words as possible in your journal. Also write down how you are negatively rating yourself for having done this thing, and sum it up in a few words, such as "a failure," "a screw-up," or whatever best captures your own self-downing language. Cultivating emotional attachment involves learning how to both communicate your feelings and listen empathically. Empathic listening requires you to make conscious connections between the feelings another person is describing and the analogous feelings you have had in similar situations (while being careful not to make it all about you). When you do this, you are attempting to give yourself a glimpse of their inner world so that you can respond accordingly. For example, if your friend says, "I was so excited when I got the promotion! I really wasn't expecting it." We tend not to do well with advice, supervision or bossing, which may revive our feeling that we are basically incompetent. If we can somehow improve on this reaction, some of the advice or suggestions could be helpful to us. That's a hard improvement to make, though. I have let my wife know that I don't respond well to supervision. She doesn't always respond well to my letting her know that; after all, she is only being loving and helpful. I do think that she is getting better about this.

She sometimes manages to phrase her suggestions in a way that helps me not react so negatively. So why is rejoice such an important word? Rejoicing means to feel or show great joy or delight. It is about happiness, delight, and celebration. Too often in our world we forget about rejoicing in our life. We get so caught up in the mundane that we forget the profound: we are alive and life is a gift. As my own trainer, Jocelyn, shares about rejoicing, I rejoice when I get out of the bed and put my feet on the floor. That is when I rejoice, because I am alive, healthy, and blessed to be on this side of the ground. I have had the incredible honor of meeting incredible people who rejoice in their lives. All of them have transformed their lives through self-care. All are committed to helping others, just as I know you will help others as you embrace your deep beauty and self-worth. Their stories cross all ages, spiritual beliefs, and cultural backgrounds. The common denominator is that they demonstrate that when you rejoice daily, you will discover that the highest form of love and peace is within you. Let me share some of their stories and words with you. Last month we dealt with a habit my wife had recently developed which was bugging me. At night she putters arounds in the kitchen at the last minute while I retire to the bedroom. Once I turned off the lights on her by accident. So she got into the habit of saying in a desperate voice, "Don't turn out the lights!" as I went into the back. Every night. Finally I asked her to try an experiment for one week.

I asked her to not say, "Don't turn out the lights" and to see what happened. She tried it and hasn't said that since and I don't turn out the lights. Now enter the brief description of your action and the rating of yourself in this reasoning template. Enter the filled-out template in your journal.1. I must never [what you did that you are down on yourself about]. Now you are in a position to see just why your achievement perfectionism rests on irrational premises. This will entail two substeps. I often put things out where I'll be sure to see them because if I can't see it, it doesn't exist. I might need to remember to take something with me, or there's a bill I need to pay, or a book I want to be sure to start reading. My wife doesn't like clutter. She neatly puts it away. Then I not only don't know where to find it, I forget that it exists at all. So I request of her that if something I've put down somewhere bothers her, to ask me to move it, rather than moving it herself. If I put it somewhere else myself, at least I have some chance of finding it, if I can remember. And I can use my cards for that. Stopping your musturbation--letting go of the must in premise 1--is clearly the key to giving up your habit of achievement perfectionism. And here is one good reason why your demand for perfection can be refuted: if you or any other human person must not make mistakes, or at least not stupid ones, then none of us would ever make them, because if something must not be, it just doesn't happen! But of course we all make mistakes, even stupid ones! That should be enough to show you that your must is contrary to the facts, and therefore plainly irrational. Psychological connection is the connection we feel with others when we admire them for certain skills and traits and wish to imitate and be identified with them.

Marriage researchers Drs. John and Julie Gottman refer to this as a "fondness and admiration system," and it is a fundamental building block in what they call a "sound relationship house." You might empathically respond by first intentionally calling to mind a time you received unexpected recognition, remembering how you felt, and then saying, "Oh, my gosh! That's amazing, you must have felt really proud of yourself, and grateful to be appreciated like that." If you did a good job connecting your experience and feeling to theirs, your friend will probably respond with a slightly surprised look and say, "That's exactly how I felt! I'm really grateful to work at a place that recognizes how hard I worked on that account." For Reflection: What is one simple thing you could do to strengthen your emotional connection with a person who is important to you? Elli is a single mother of two boys, ages fourteen and fifteen, one of whom has special needs and requires specialized care. She also is an International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness professional, personal fitness coach, and motivational speaker. She helps other parents who have children with special needs to take care of themselves. She helps her clients transform their bodies and attitudes by rejoicing daily and embracing the life they were blessed with. I asked Elli how she manages to be a supermom who understands life's challenges and thrives regardless of circumstances. Carolyn, it is my deep-rooted faith, unwavering Christian beliefs. I rejoice daily and I am thankful to have been blessed with two amazing sons, she says. The love I have for my sons gives me the strength, stamina, and grace that I need to raise my boys in a loving and empowering environment. I got my wife's help with the lost keys problem because I was bugging her to help me find them. Frequently. If I had recognized the key losing as a problem, I could've asked for her ideas, and we could have solved it sooner. She's gotten used to the idea that I can't find anything and usually will offer to find something for me when I start looking. And she doesn't seem to mind it when I ask for her help after I've given up on looking for something myself. Which is pretty often. This is working together on the problem. You should now see that the "must" in premise 1 is irrational.

But old habits are not easily broken, and I suspect you are still inclined to damn yourself when you mess up. So let's refute premise 2: if you screw up, then you are a screw-up. Ponder this bit of logical wisdom: "What's true of the part is not necessarily true of the whole." Suppose you have blue eyes. That does not mean that you are blue. Likewise, just because you made a mistake, failed at something, or did something that was inferior or second rate does not mean that you are a mistake, a failure, inferior, or second rate. You might as well conclude that you are blue! Indeed, inasmuch as we are all imperfect, we all screw up--which, according to this twisted logic, would mean that we are all screw-ups. This is plainly absurd! Mutual fondness and admiration help affirm us in who we are today and challenge us to be even better people tomorrow. For instance, in the movie As Good as It Gets, Jack Nicolson plays an anxiety-ridden, obsessive-compulsive, verbally abusive misanthrope who tells Helen Hunt's character, "You make me want to be a better man." He is acknowledging the psychological attachment between them that makes him want to be more compliant with his psychiatric treatment, so that he could be worthy to be her friend. This drive to improve ourselves out of admiration for another and the desire to be associated with them sticks around even when that person can't be near us for a time. Elli is tiny and young but a rising entrepreneur playing in the big pond of South Florida. In high school, she was a Silver Knight recipient, joining a select group of outstanding students who excelled in academic and community service. Health is at the forefront of her life. She is a practicing vegetarian, an avid gym-goer, a lover of outdoor activities, and a frequent meditator. She believes in the power of information, education, and community service. She lives her life by three rules: Be kind. Stand for the weak, the sick, and the unseen, for they too have a say in our future. It's harder if we don't have a partner, although in some ways it's easier. But we can get some help with these things from friends, colleagues, or even bosses.