Week Thirty-Nine

My Favorite Bit of Information From The Week:

Perfection and Sisyphus

I recently found this Ted Med on Perfectionism and how it is affecting our mental health and it really hit home for me. 

Here is the breakdown of the talk: “Social psychologist Thomas Curran explores how the pressure to be perfect — in our social media feeds, in school, at work — is driving a rise in mental illness, especially among young people. Learn more about the causes of this phenomenon and how we can create a culture that celebrates the joys of imperfection”

Perfectionism Definition: “Perfectionism is broadly defined as a combination of excessively high personal standards and overly critical self-evaluations” – From Curran’s study listed below. 

I am definitely guilty of struggling with perfectionism and I can personally attest to its connection with anxiety and depression. The minute I begin to think I am unworthy or “not enough” my depression and anxiety double and I spiral out of control. I loved hearing this Ted Talk this week. It reminded me that I am not alone, that I am enough, and that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I hope it does the same for you. 

At the end of the talk, he gives a charge to change this negative habit of perfectionism and offers ways to be proactive about changing this hindering way of thinking in our culture. Some of my favorite recommendations of his, and two of my favorite quotes from the talk, are as follows: 

  1. Supporting Children Unconditionally When They Fail
  2. Changing Our Language Around Perfectionism
  3. Changing Our Standards and Goals for Ourselves 
  4. Therapy is an option to help with perfectionism (affordable therapy options are listed at the bottom of this E-mail under “Resources”)

Favorite Quotes From the Talk: “In a chaotic world, life will often defeat us, but that’s O.K., failure is not weakness”, and: “If we want our young people to enjoy mental, emotional, and psychological health then we will invite them to celebrate the joys and beauties of imperfection as a normal and natural part of everyday living”.

He acknowledges that it will be hard to make these changes, that we are in a habit and habits are not easy to break. But in the last minutes of the Ted Talk, Curran mentions the Greek myth of Sisyphus as a warning to what happens when we don’t change our habits, or at least our thoughts about them. And it sent me down a Sisyphus spiral. I loved that story as a child, but I was unsure why. Kate as an adult hears it now and I see the image of a person stuck in their rut, constantly moving their boulder up and down a hill is something I can relate to. Sisyphus is not such a great person, he is a murdering and tricky human who enjoys inflicting pain – and I think I now see him as a person stuck in his internal habits as well, not just the physical. He does not change or accept his circumstances at any point, he is simply stuck. I like this warning for myself. I also love this story because it reminds me that, even if I never make it out of my ruts, I have the power to choose to enjoy them. We are masters of how we see the world. 

If You Feel You Are Stuck In A Rut: I can understand listening to the Ted Talk and, as opposed to feeling uplifted, feeling frustrated, or even hopeless with your given condition in life, especially if you deal with mental illness along with your perfectionism. If you feel trapped and a victim of your circumstances, I recommend this post from the blog Brain Pickings by Maria Popova on Victor Frankl, Austrian Psychiatrist and holocaust survivor. I think it pairs nicely. 

A Beautiful Animated Retelling of Sisyphus: For those who don’t know the story or wish to see a beautiful retelling.

Andrew Bird’s Song Sisyphus: if you are still craving more Sisyphus.

For More of Curran’s Work: I really recommend the footnotes of his Ted Talk and also his study with Andrew P. Hill  which he mentions in the talk. It is dense, but fascinating if this is something that you want to go deeper with.

Update On My Show:

Weekly Updates: Some great feedback on the new script and…. a save the date for One Woman Hamlet’s Fundraiser!!! October 26th 2:30-5:30PM at Yoga Loft Chicago! A huge thank you to Yoga Loft for their generosity and for hosting us. Please check out Yoga Loft’s website to see their amazing class options! Please save the date and tell your friends, family, enemies and strangers to do the same! More information to come next week!

Fundraising: The project is free for audiences and therefore is completely independently funded – any support is appreciated! If you have already donated, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, you have made it possible to get this far. And if you are not in a place to give a dollar right now, thank you for being here and being a part of breaking the stigma on mental health. Much love!If you would like to donate to my show, share this project with a friend, or find out more about it please check out my gofundme here.

Please check out the One Woman Hamlet Website: www.onewomanhamlet.com

AND! my update Video.

Many, Many thanks: Margo Siwak and Joe Siwak for the design of the logo, and to Jillian Best and Bill Best for the Website creation and Design! I feel very blessed to have such beautiful humans in my life.

Ways to Support: If you would like to donate to my show, share this project with a friend, or find out more about it please check out my gofundme here: https://www.gofundme.com/one-woman-hamlet

Thank You: Thank you VERY much to all who have donated thus far, making this project possible. 


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