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 Acceptance VS Insecurity- finding the balance 
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Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:45 pm
Posts: 185
Post Acceptance VS Insecurity- finding the balance
I apologize if this post is a little all over the place. Hopefully, it makes sense.

I was curious what people's thoughts were on acceptance VS insecurity.

This can be applied to things like filming, martial arts training, etc. On the one hand, insecurity and lack of satisfaction can drive someone to train harder, work towards something better, etc. But on the other hand, setting unreachable goals sets you up for constant failure if you're really never ever happy with yourself or your achievements.

Going too far in either direction is obviously bad because being too accepting or giving yourself too much comfort can cause you to be lazy and not strive for anything, but being too hard on yourself can also cause you to self-destruct or give up all together.

Obviously, there needs to be a balance, like almost anything in life. I'm curious how people on the board find that balance for themselves.

I hope that made sense.

Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:50 pm
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:51 pm
Posts: 1572
Location: Dangerland
Post Re: Acceptance VS Insecurity- finding the balance
This is something I struggle with a lot, being a consummate perfectionist by nature. As you mentioned, there are certain merits to being exceptionally driven: stronger motivation, more of a likeliness of fine-tuning subtle skills, a more discerning eye for judging your own and others' performances. I've also never been so demanding of myself that I was unable to "settle" or be satisfied with the skill level I've attained in a given discipline. But in certain aspects of my life--in fact, the ones I most care about, as far as my own goals are concerned--those perfectionist tendencies have caused me to continually doubt myself and excoriate my own abilities or sense of accomplishment, and this can ultimately be more damaging to your confidence and ability to perform than spurring.

I think the destructive side of perfectionism can be reduced to a single element: expectations.

Once I had finally settled on a major during my third year of college--English, with a concentration in applied writing--certain expectations of what level I was now supposed to hold myself to became very overwhelming. It started with minor insecurities: my vocabulary isn't big enough, I don't know enough synonyms for a given word, there were too many comma splices in my last assignment, I should be able to come up with a more creative idea. But eventually those insecurities burrowed deep and took root in my subconscious, so that dissatisfaction and self-scolding became a part of my nature. Now, whenever I reach a certain obstacle or feel like I should be capable of doing more, I tend to be much harder on myself mentally for it. Sometimes it's the compulsion I need to cause me to try again, just one more time, and I end up succeeding. But other times, most of the time, it proves to be more grief than is necessary, and ultimately insecurity becomes instability and your craft suffers for it.

This is what happened, very strikingly, to my martial arts/acrobatics training. Early last year I was so frustrated by my inability to land a certain technique that I attempted it relentlessly, recklessly, out of anger, and paid the price with a severely strained patellar tendon that took me the better part of 2011 to heal. If I had just had the patience and the confidence to step back and say "this isn't working right now, I'm too tired, I'll come back to it later," I wouldn't have experienced such a setback and would probably be able to pull off much more difficult moves by now. Instead, I'm just now relearning my old moveset, which is much more of a challenge, and there are likely moves that I'll never be able to do. And I ache when it rains.

The bottom line is this: if you're a strong enough person to use your dissatisfaction as fuel to improve, then these insecurities shouldn't be an issue. But if you're anything like me, always expecting too much out of yourself, and letting those expectations impair your performance, then it can be infinitely more advantageous to recondition yourself to approach everything as a playful challenge, relax, and always try to enjoy yourself, no matter what you're doing or how seriously you take it. Flexibility and resilience are the name of the game. Give yourself unlimited chances to fail, learn from it, come back and try again. Otherwise, your fear of incompetence will become so overpowering that it will prevent you from even trying just so you don't run the risk of emerging unsuccessful.

Rather be forgotten than remembered for giving in.

Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:24 pm
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