What is Beauty? Beauty is in the Heart of the Beholder

What is Beauty? Beauty is in the Heart of the Beholder

One day at a retreat - I was quite young at the time - I was in a group, and we were asked to fall deeply still and find a restful place within. Then, when we opened our eyes, we saw a projected image of a beautiful peach-coloured rose...

Living A Guilt-Free Life

Living A Guilt-Free Life

What is guilt? Most people know the answer. It's the feeling of responsibility for doing something wrong, or having done something wrong in the past. I would say we all have this feeling of guilt. It's universal. We've all made mistakes, sometimes big ones. And feelings of guilt are too often the result.

11 Ways To Stop Procrastinating—For Good

11 Ways To Stop Procrastinating—For Good

Most of us feel guilty or lazy when we put things off until a later date or time, but procrastination is normal and happens to everyone. The key is not to eliminate the word from your vocabulary, but to find ways to work and rest smarter so that tasks get done.

When We’ll All Get There

When We’ll All Get There

Many of us spend a great deal of our life rushing to get places. In the process we do clumsy things, get embroiled in impatience and irritation, and sometimes cause accidents. In our haste to get somewhere, we miss being somewhere, and never seem to get anywhere.

The Truth Can Be Scary: Admitting When You’re Wrong

Admitting When You’re Wrong: The Truth Can Be Scary
How am I going to break them the news? This is not going to be easy. I will admit that I was wrong, but I decide to put it off until I get there, hoping that once they see our brave faces, some of the sting will be gone. I will bring it up after dinner but before...

Male Imposters: The Secret Shame and Fear Of Not Being Good Enough

Male Imposters: The Secret Shame Of Not Being Good Enough
Although Imposter Syndrome (IS) has traditionally been seen as a female phenomenon, there isn’t an awful lot of hard data to confirm that women actually do experience this more than men. The reason that it is seen as a female condition is simply that the phenomenon was first discovered using research on women and it is a stereotype that seems to have stuck.

This Moment Is This Moment: It Will Never Be Like This Again

This Moment Is This Moment: It Will Never Be Like This Again
The ancient Greeks spoke of two kinds of time, or two experiences of time: chronos and kairos. Chronos is what we now call clock time, objective time. In music, chronos is met­ronome time. Kairos is timeliness, the opportune moment that surges out from our experience, something that cannot happen at any time but only at this time. Educators call it the teachable moment.

Do You Have to Choose Between Being Spiritual or Practical?

Do You Have to Choose Between Being Spiritual or Practical?
Do you ever think that you're not good enough to act compassionately? Not quite holy enough, so maybe you would rather leave that sort of behavior to the saints and sages, the ministers and priests. After all, aren't these the people who are in charge of communications with God?

Can We Avoid The Changes and Challenges That Happen In This Crazy World?

Being Masterfully Human: Passing Human Mastery 101
Who said that if you lived consciously nothing bad or challenging would ever happen to you? Who told you would never get sick, have a lover leave you, have a loved one die, have a car accident, or make a bad choice, huh? Who ever said that walking the spiritual path would be a piece of cake, easy as pie?

What Is Imposter Syndrome? Do You Have It?

What Is Imposter Syndrome? Do You Have It?
Welcome to the world of the Imposter Syndrome. It is a secret world, inhabited by successful people from all walks of life who have one thing in common – they believe that they are not really good enough. They might be men or women, young or old. And imposter beliefs are not always related to work; I have met ‘imposters’ who feel they are not good enough parents, husbands, wives, friends or even not good enough human beings.

Give Your Gifts, Even Imperfectly

Give Your Gifts, Even ImperfectlyI'm officially coming out of the closet! Here goes: I, Barry Vissell, besides being a counselor, author, doctor, and workshop leader, am also a musician!  There, that wasn't so hard. So what makes me hesitate to announce this beautiful, musical part of me?

Choosing Wisely During Your Day...

Choosing Wisely During Your Day...Choice is perhaps our most vital freedom. We sometimes start sentences with “Given a choice . . .” In reality, almost every waking moment offers myriad choices. Many are small and inconsequential, whereas others are life changing.

Why Perfectionists Are More Likely To Develop Bulimia

Why Perfectionists Are More Likely To Develop Bulimia
Bulimia nervosa is a common and life-threatening eating disorder. About 275,000 Canadian girls and women will have bulimia at some point in their lives. They will eat large amounts of food, often secretly, and then prevent weight gain by vomiting, fasting or exercise.

Why Toxic Workplaces Are Feeding The Impostor Phenomenon

Why Toxic Workplaces Are Feeding The Impostor Phenomenon
Research suggests that around 70% of people will experience an illogical sense of being a phony at work at some point in their careers. It’s called the impostor phenomenon (also known, erroneously, as a syndrome).

The Best Rejection: A New Path, A New Direction, and The Real You

The Best Rejection: A New Path, A New Direction, and The Real You
When composer George Gershwin was developing his career, he contacted his esteemed role model Maurice Ravel and asked if Ravel would take him on as a student. Ravel, familiar with Gershwin’s work, rejected him, replying, “Why become a second-rate Ravel when you are already a first-rate Gershwin?”

How Perfectionism Can Lead To Depression In Students

How Perfectionism Can Lead To Depression In Students
The pressures of young adulthood coupled with the demands of university leave undergraduates at risk for depressive symptoms. In fact, nearly 30% of undergraduates suffer from depressive symptoms, which is threefold higher than the general population.

The Gifts of Helplessness and Vulnerability

The Gifts of Helplessness and Vulnerability
As it happened, our current litter was born yesterday, Sunday, on the last day of our mentorship retreat! If I could have planned the worst possible time for our Gracie to give birth, it would have been that day! We were expecting her litter starting in the next few days.

Getting the Upper Hand Over Impatience

Getting the Upper Hand Over Impatience
Are you thrown off by unforeseen complications? Are you frantic to meet deadlines or goals? Do you hate to wait? Are you a slave to the clock? Well, the price you pay is huge. First and foremost, your hurried pace and unease rob you of...

Only the Shadow Knows: Befriending Your Shadow

Befriending the Shadow SelfConformity is how we have been conditioned to participate in a false sense of security which results in us being out of integrity with ourselves. On a deep, unconscious level we are aware of this and this awareness largely informs our suffering.

Shame: It's Unhealthy, Self-Destructive & Extremely Toxic

Shame: It's Unhealthy, Self-Destructive & Extremely ToxicShame is an unhealthy and extremely toxic emotion that makes a person very sick inside. It plays out in families and in society in a self-destructive and violent way, and it is at the root of addiction as well as all forms of abuse. You can heal your shame...

Get Rid of Ambiguity and Feel Good About The Choices You Make

Get Rid of Ambiguity and Feel Good About The Choices You MakePart of your life isn’t work­ing. The part of your life I’m talking about is wherever dissatisfaction and doubt are making you spin in circles, feeling dissatisfied with whatever you have, or stuck in doubt about what you should do. Where in your life do you feel that way?

Real Beauty Doesn't Need To Be Retouched

real beauty 10 7
The giant global photographic agency, Getty Images, has announced it plans to ban retouching of images of models “to make them look thinner or larger”.

Criticism Leads to Anxiety, Fear, and Unhappiness

Criticism Leads to Anxiety and FearLiving with anxiety and fear creates unhappiness and despair in all our relationships. However, most of us suffer from too much anxiety and fear primarily because our communications provoke these destructive emotions through criticism, accusa­tion, punishment and humiliation. So reducing the anxiety and fear caused by...

Squirrels, Like Humans, Use Chunking To Organize Their Nuts

Squirrels, Like Humans, Use Chunking To Organize Their NutsFox squirrels are a lot more organized than we thought—storing their stashes of nuts by variety, quality, and possibly even by preference. A new study is the first to show evidence that squirrels arrange their bounty—at least 3,000 to 10,000 nuts a year—using “chunking”...

How Everyday Language Casually Stigmatizes Obesity

How Everyday Language Casually Stigmatizes ObesityObesity is a highly stigmatized condition. Those with obesity are frequently subject to prejudice and ridicule at home, school, work and even from health care professionals.

So Many In The West Are Depressed Because They're Expected Not To Be

So Many In The West Are Depressed Because They're Expected Not To BeDepression is listed as the leading cause of disability worldwide. Yet research shows depression is far more prevalent in Western cultures, such as the US, Canada, France, Germany and New Zealand, than in Eastern cultures, such as Taiwan, Korea, Japan and China.

The Illusion of Control: Seeking Security

The Illusion of Control, article by Dennis Merritt JonesWe have little control over the future. And the future is where we tend to look for our security, seeking the assurance that everything will be all right. The illusion is that we have control over many variables in our daily life and that...

Overcome the Procrastination of Perfectionism and Get Things Done

Overcoming Perfectionism and Getting Things DonePerfectionism is an insidious demon that must be fought with every weapon you’ve got. Here’s what’s so tricky about perfectionism: it (sort of) turns procrastination into a virtue. Because it’s good to have high standards, right? And it’s good to expect the best from yourself, right?

Two Powerful Ways to Transform Self-Criticism

Two Powerful Ways to Transform Self-CriticismBeing too self-critical is rampant in our society. We beat ourselves up over real and imagined imperfections. Whenever we criticize ourselves, we compound the issue. We turn one problem into two -- there's the social blunder, a poor financial decision or disapproving glance in the mirror -- and the demeaning self-loathing that follows.

How To Step Away From The Judgment Trap and Choose Inner Peace

How To Step Out Of The Judgment Trap and Experience AcceptanceAcceptance of your fellow travelers has the power to change the journey for everyone you meet today. Its power isn’t restricted to just the interchange between two indi­viduals. It permeates the encounters both of these individuals have with...

Twenty Years From Now . . .?

Twenty Years From Now . . .?
In my younger years, I focused on unimportant issues, punctuated by worry and anxiety. My perfectionist attitude and fear of making mistakes forced me to assure everything was in order, often making unimportant events a priority, for I was concerned about how my life looked to others. I am not proud of my focus, but it is the truth.

How Fault-Finding and Judging Others Is A Missed Opportunity

How Fault-Finding and Judging Others Is A Missed OpportunityIn order to stop pointing out others' faults, we have to work on our underlying mental habit of judging others. Even if we don't say anything to or about them, as long as we are mentally tearing someone down, it's likely we'll communicate that through...

How To Give Up The Struggle to Be Special and Feel Special

How To Give Up The Struggle to Be and Feel SpecialCom­parison is one of the ways the ego solidifies itself — either by making us feel special or small, which are two sides of the same coin. Thomas Jefferson captured this in one succinct sentence: Remember that no one is better than you, but that you are better than no one.

Hiding Behind The "Me" You Let Others See?

Putting Up a Front: The "Me" I Let Others SeeMan, am I good at putting on a front. I’m guessing most of you, if you were really to take an honest look at yourselves, could probably relate. Now, when I say “putting on a front,” I’m talking about the me I let others see versus the me that’s underneath that exterior, the guy pretty much no one knows...

4 Ways to Build Confidence and Quiet Your Inner Critic

4 Ways to Build Confidence and Quiet Your Inner CriticContrary to popular belief, you are more than your accomplishments. And conversely, you are more than your failures. Attaching your self-confidence to the outcome of your actions is like attaching it to the weather...

Is It Time to Let Go of Our Human Quest for Perfection?

Falling Short: A Human's Quest for PerfectionThere is a nearly universal form of perfectionism hard-wired into human nature. It is the belief that we are “falling short” of what we should be. It is the habit of feeling somewhat disappointed in ourselves. Here's how we can move past this...

A Closer Look at Unworthiness

A Closer Look at UnworthinessDo you ever feel unworthy to receive good things in your life? It’s not an easy question to answer. Some of you are in touch with your feelings of not deserving. Some of you are not. I dare say that feelings of unworthiness are present in most of us...

Are You A Replacement Child? Challenges and Letting Go

Acknowledging My Replacement Child Challenges and Letting Go
No mother, no parent, can prepare for the tormented experience of the death of a child let alone begin to heal, even slightly, without help. Like many children born to fill a void in a family, I grew into a chubby, anxious little girl, with my desire to please not only my mother but also everyone.

What Are The Benefits of Giving Up The Need To Be Right?

What Are The Benefits of Giving Up The Need To Be Right?Often, we just can’t forgive. Although we may want to completely let it go, the debate in our minds and the emotion tied to the event are too strong, especially when the offense has occurred repeatedly over a long period of time.

Why You Should Make a Fool of Yourself at Least Once A Day

Making a Fool of Yourself at Least Once Every DayHow many times have you had a good idea only to keep it to yourself for fear of looking like a crackpot? Well, this fear of appealing foolish is crippling. Worrying what other people think squelches our joy, our fun, and all those good ideas our planet needs.

Why Are Young Women Without Wrinkles Using Botox?

Why Are Young Women Without Wrinkles Using Botox?The battle against wrinkles has lasted for centuries. Long before surgical facelifts, people ingested powders and potions, stretched their faces using thread and tape, and rubbed their skin with Crisco, acid and animal blood to fight the signs of aging.

Imposter Syndrome: If They Really Knew Who I Am...

Imposter Syndrome: If They Really Knew Who I Am...A very common example of the ubiquitous nature of the critic is the phenomenon of “imposter syndrome” — the feeling that you don’t deserve to be where you are in life. It’s estimated that 70 percent of people have imposter syndrome.

Do People With Autism Make More Logical Decisions?

autism 10 17Decisions are based on the way choices are framed. This is because people use emotion when making decisions, leading to some options feeling more desirable than others.

Can We Stop Living the Never Enough! Story?

You Are Enough! We Are Enough!We are currently living in what I call the Never Enough Story, a cultural myth characterized by ideas of separation, unworthiness, and scarcity. It is a culture that indoctrinates each and every one of us to the idea that we are separate, on our own, and there is never enough to go around. 

Lightening Up: Laughing at the Absurdities in Our Life

Lightening Up: Laughing at the Absurdities in Our LifeSelf-care includes a healthy dose of humor. If you’re not laughing every day, it’s time to start. Laughter creates powerful chemicals in the brain that act quickly to reduce stress and tension and lower blood pressure...

Letting Go of Control & Following Your Spiritual Impulses

Letting Go of Control & Following Your Spiritual ImpulsesAs a species, humans love control. We want to control our environment, physical and emotional safety, financial security, and self-image. Yet this same passion for control gets us into trouble as individuals and as a species. If we do not exercise wisdom, control can easily become addiction, tyranny, and repression. We find ourselves rebelling against...

Purplewashing: Denying or Repressing Uncomfortable Emotions

Purplewashing:  Repressing Or Denying Uncomfortable EmotionsPurplewashing  is a term I have coined to describe the tendency people have to gloss over, repress, or deny uncomfortable emotions, usually by “spiritualizing” the situation or by “being nice” about it. I call it purplewashing because it is similar to...

Lil' Kim And The Unbearable Whiteness Of Being

lill kimThis week the world saw – via that new, visual means of wildfire gossip-mongering known as “trending on social media” – Lil’ Kim’s new face and hair. For anyone who doesn’t know Lil Kim, she isn’t a teenage Instagram model – born Kimberley Jones in 1974, she’s one of the most successful female rappers the world has ever seen.

Silencing the Inner Judge and the Inner Critic

Silencing the Inner Judge and the Inner CriticOur concepts of ideal and perfect are always changing. The evaluations and judgments we make unconsciously in every second of our lives that jump-start our emotions and bring us much anxiety and stress....

Putting More Joy into Your Everyday Life

Putting More Joy into Your Everyday Life“Live in the moment!” bumper stickers cry. “Live in the now!” self-help books declare. Movies like The Bucket List preach the importance of living life in all its fullness before your time on earth is up. And yet, “being in the now” is easier said than done, right?

Who's To Judge?

Who's To Judge?Ideally, we all want to be in a constant state of total unconditional acceptance. However, in your zeal to become 'unconditional' have you overlooked yourself? Have you been able to stop judging and accept the inconsistencies that occasionally cause you to fall short of the mark?

Breaking the Vow of Perfection and of Always Striving but Never Arriving

Breaking The Vow of Perfection and Always Striving But Never ArrivingMany people still operate with an inner belief that if they try harder to be better — the best, perfect — then everything will be so much better in all areas of their lives. So they take a vow: “I have to be perfect and will be critical of myself until I am.”

How You Can Change Your Inner Critic Habit

 Can You Change Your Inner Critic Habit?For the majority of people if they turned on a radio and the station was negative and critical, fearful, whining, or complaining they would turn it off. Most people would take control of the situation and choose something that would be more enjoyable and more productive. You may wish to take some time to tune in and really become aware of the background station that you are tuned into...

Why Not Give Yourself A Break About Trying To Be Perfect?

Why Not Give Yourself A Break About Trying To Be Perfect?In my daily work as a therapist/coach I've discovered there is one thing that we all have in common. We are all, everyone including me, so amazingly unkind and hard on ourselves. The truth is, I have never met anyone who is not super critical of themselves and who doesn't have unrealistic expectations when it comes to being a so-called "perfect" human being.

Perfectionism And Burn-out Are Close Friends

Perfectionism And Burn-out Are Close FriendsIt was Voltaire who said: “perfect is the enemy of the good” – and he should know. A strident critic of existential perfection, Voltaire spent much of his working life attacking the notion of a world imbued by flawless divinity.

"I'm A Loser": How to Handle Your Self-Criticism

self criticismSelf-criticism takes the form of blaming yourself (It’s all my fault), labeling yourself (I can’t believe how stupid I am), hating yourself (I can’t stand myself at times), doubting yourself... What is self-criticism good for?

Being You: Being True to Self

Being You: Being True to Self

Be yourself. Just be yourself. Well, maybe this is not so easy. Does the thought of being yourself, speaking your truth, and expressing your passion stir feelings of confusion or frustration? Does it bring up fear or anger? Were there times in your life when...

A True Perfectionist

A True Perfectionist

by Alan Cohen. A friend of mine declared, "I used to think I was a perfectionist. I found the tiniest flaws in everything. Then I realized I was not a perfectionist at all; I was an imperfectionist! If I was a perfectionist, I would see perfection wherever I look."


follow InnerSelf on


 Get The Latest By Email



Taking Sides? Nature Does Not Pick Sides! It Treats Everyone Equally
by Marie T. Russell
Nature does not pick sides: it simply gives every plant a fair chance to life. The sun shines on everyone regardless of their size, race, language, or opinions. Can we not do the same? Forget our old…
Everything We Do Is A Choice: Being Aware of Our Choices
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
The other day I was giving myself a "good talking to"… telling myself I really need to exercise regularly, eat better, take better care of myself… You get the picture. It was one of those days when I…
InnerSelf Newsletter: January 17, 2021
by InnerSelf Staff
This week, our focus is "perspective" or how we see ourselves, the people around us, our surroundings, and our reality. As shown in the picture above, something that appears huge, to a ladybug, can…
A Made-Up Controversy - "Us" Against "Them"
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
When people stop fighting and start listening, a funny thing happens. They realize they have much more in common than they thought.
InnerSelf Newsletter: January 10, 2021
by InnerSelf Staff
This week, as we continue our journey into what has been - so far - a tumultuous 2021, we focus on tuning in to ourselves, and learning to hear intuitive messages, so as to be living the life we…