I acknowledged that she was feeling lousy and was disappointed and discouraged. I persuaded her to do the math and she was able to see that she had still lost fifteen pounds, which is not a small feat. Then I asked her to name some of the ways she was still doing better than when we had started, and she came up with several. This story shows several examples of all-or-nothing thinking: three hours of exercise or none, slipping some is the same as back to square one, regaining some of the lost pounds means failure. Thinking in small steps, I asked her to get in fifteen minutes of exercise that afternoon and she agreed. When we have this historical record of flops, failures and fiascoes, we tend to become discouraged and demoralized. We get down on ourselves and we develop a deep sense of inadequacy and of shame. We feel that basically, at the core we are inadequate, a failure, worthless, and that is the true real self. We feel that soon we are going to be exposed and all the world will see it. That is shame. This shame is like a huge anchor that we drag around with us and it really slows us down. It leads to procrastination and it leads to not trying at all. It leads to depression. It leads to perfectionism, which leads to and reinforces all of those negative feelings. But if we can shift out of the all-or-nothing thinking and the perfectionism, we can begin to make a catalog of the things we have accomplished, of the things we are able to do well, and of the good things about us. That is worth doing occasionally. Just writing down our positives is an antidote to the shame. My handwriting is lousy, but I'm an honest person. I can't catch a fly ball but I'm compassionate to others. And so on.

It is not all-or-nothing. The brain is constantly making meaning of what is happening and generating thoughts. Thoughts affect whether you perceive an event as positive, negative or neutral. The more you think a certain way, the easier it becomes! You have choices in how you think and those choices can have a positive impact on the pain experience. Working at noticing and changing thought patterns takes time and practice. Set small goals and expectations for working with thoughts. Picture yourself watching your favorite female athlete win multiple Olympic medals. Imagine that she has stated that her purpose in life--her divine purpose--is to become the best in the world at a specific sport. Along the way, she gets there by winning national competitions, overcoming an injury, and beating her own personal best time. And after winning the Olympics, she goes even deeper and realizes her divine purpose is to inspire young girls to be their best. She becomes a motivational speaker and starts a nonprofit, all to fulfill that divine purpose of inspiring young women. Pain can bring about difficult emotions, such as sadness, anxiety and anger. It is normal to feel many different emotions every day. Sometimes it is necessary to seek help when difficult emotions stay for a long time. It is not always possible to feel good about things that happen, but there are many actions you can take to feel calmer. Some helpful strategies include: cultivating acceptance, calmness and gratitude. You have met people like this throughout your life. Maybe their stories are not so dramatic, but they have deep meaning. Maybe it is a man who starts a company that focuses on technology to produce food in healthier ways.

Maybe it is a husband and wife who take in foster children. Maybe it is a young man who joins the Peace Corps and brings new cottage businesses to impoverished communities. All have a sense of their divine purpose. The common denominator is that their divine purpose drives them to cultivate and master their unique gifts. It's incredibly inspiring to observe them as they radiate happiness and joy. I must always, or almost always, do well (in at least some things). I must always, or almost always, be right or do what is right. I must always, or almost always, get love or approval from (at least certain) others. I must always, or almost always, be treated well by (at least certain) others. Things in my life must always, or almost always, go the way I want or intend them to go. Out of 2,176 people, 1,011 responded "Yes/Probably" to confirm that they were demanding perfection in at least one of the listed ways. That's about 47 percent, which is a lot of people demanding that the world be what it cannot be: perfect! So you are definitely not alone in making unrealistic demands on yourself, others, or the world! The IC usually does a great job, but when it gets bombarded with too much information too fast, sometimes the process breaks down. There is an old gag that first aired on the classic television program I Love Lucy. Lucy and her friend Ethel are at work in a chocolate factory. Their job is to wrap the chocolates that roll past them on a conveyor belt so that they are ready for packing. The supervisor, fed up with them for having failed at every other job in the plant, tells them that if even one chocolate goes to the packing department unwrapped, Lucy and Ethel will be fired. It all starts out just fine. The chocolates roll past at a manageable pace, and Lucy and Ethel capably and confidently wrap each piece.

Suddenly the conveyor belt starts speeding up. They have to move faster and faster. Pretty soon, they are mortified to discover that they just can't keep up. In desperation, Lucy and Ethel start shoving chocolates in their mouths, stuffing them down the front of their dresses, hiding them in their chef's hats, hiding them around the room -- anything to prevent the chocolates from getting to the packing department unwrapped and costing them their jobs. The supervisor comes out and, failing to notice that their mouths and uniforms are bursting with candy, sees that the conveyor belt is empty, compliments them on their good work, and yells up the production line, "Speed it up a little!" One of my favorite quotes about divine purpose is by Maria Shriver: It's always inspiring to me to meet people who feel that they can make a difference in the world. That's their motive, that's their passion. I think that's what makes your life meaningful, that's what fills your own heart and that's what gives you purpose. To find your divine purpose, you need to be living in your own divine light. Are you living in your divine light or are you living your life based on someone else's opinion about you? I used to be that way. I was a people-pleaser because I did not want to hurt anyone's feelings. I ignored my own feelings because I wanted to fit in. At that time, I had no idea that I was not living in my divine purpose. I only knew that I did not want to rock the boat. Frequently life's circumstances will try to dictate how you should live your life versus living your life in divine calling, light, purpose, and peace. When you are living in the divine light with purpose, you will recognize those life-defining moments that change your life forever. Always remember, you were born with a special gift and a divine purpose to make a difference in the world. Start walking in your divine light with your purpose and mission. Embrace the divine light within you, which you are destined to live. And know that the divine light belongs to and in you because you are the divine light.

Fortunately, there is a healthy alternative to demanding perfection: developing the metaphysical security we have touched on. Metaphysically secure people are comfortable with these inherent, unavoidable imperfections in reality: You are not perfect--not even near-perfect. Other people are also not perfect, or even near-perfect. Justice and fairness do not always prevail. Other people will not always like or approve of you. Other people will not, nor are they required to, always agree with you, even on important matters. Other people will not always treat you fairly. Sometimes, especially when people struggle with chronic anxiety, the IC is like Lucy in the chocolate factory. The primitive brain/limbic system is throwing so much information at it so quickly, the IC just can't wrap each emotion in the correct package. Eventually it gets overwhelmed, labels everything "anxiety" just to get it over with, and goes fishing. Why does this happen? For some people it's because they have either lived through prolonged, traumatic events or at least experienced singularly stressful situations that left their nervous systems stressed and overwhelmed. For these folks, their IC gave up a long time ago. As a result, every time they experience almost any heightened emotional state (excitement, stress, anger, anticipation), it feels like anxiety. To quote Dr Wayne Dyer, a man who has inspired millions, With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.3 All-or-nothing is a not uncommon form of logical error, practiced by many people, not just those of us with ADD. Either I completed the task perfectly or it's a flop. I have to make all A's, or win the blue ribbon, or come in top of my class, or else I'm a failure. She either gives me every thing I want all of the time or she's worthless.