Gently Does It – Healing for the Over-Achiever

Posted On: September 8, 2019

For too long we have been told that we need to study hard, and work hard so that we can be earned enough to survive, succeed and gain respect. What if we push ourselves very hard and we still don’t see the results for reasons beyond ourselves e.g. seasonal, market forces, colleagues, sales cycle etc? What if we work so hard for so long that we begin to burn out, become increasingly sceptical and jaded about life, and find ourselves feeling unmotivated and depressed?

I’ve found that my clients are only taught to “push” harder, try “hard”, and do “more” that even if they want to, they don’t know what else to do. I’ve learned that the opposite can be even harder for them to grasp – to be “gentle” with themselves, to go “slow”, thread “softly” and to “rest” so we can go on a longer journey. We are so over-stimulated, over-sensitized, over-whelmed that we need to cut ourselves some slack, or suffer more severe consequences later.
What worked for me…
I have previously shared that when I started running workshops as a budding Sexologist ten years ago, I was so quick to criticize myself in the never-ending quest to improve that I was so drained of energy and it became increasingly harder for me to want to do any event. I knew if this continue I would stop running events for good! So I had to do something else! I decided to heal the perfectionist in me by:
  1. Quietening my inner critic,
  2. Delaying post-mortem of events,
  3. Celebrating and anchoring each win no matter how small.
  4. I would use such affirmations: “I’m proud of me for showing up”, “When I show up, I already win,” “Nothing is perfect. It’s a process. If I keep going, I can only get better.”

It obviously worked because I’m still doing what I do!

Later, I began working on the over-achiever inside me by “forcing” myself to take full-day breaks from work. When I started my practice, I wrote countless articles and worked day and night for two years, without a single day-off. I didn’t realise how it would take a mental and emotional toll on me as I did have plenty of pockets of rest. Full-day breaks gave me the sense of luxury, and self-created boredom allowed my inner child time and space to come out and play. I learned how to:
  1. Program my mind to let go with to-do lists (“You can pick all that up tomorrow”);
  2. Group activities together so that I am more likely to go into flow e.g. 4 clients a day was easier than 1 per day; and
  3. Engage in other positive self-talk so I stop the monkey-brain (“You’re doing great! Give yourself some credit. Go ahead pat yourself on the shoulders!”).
We are all on a journey or evolution. We cannot help but want to express more, live better, be happier – and this doesn’t need to come from a place of strife but thrive. We need to know the wisdom when to be “hard”/ “direct”/ “fast”, and when to go “soft/ “indirect”/ “soft”. So many people I know push themselves to be/ do more in their sexuality when our sexuality is our energy to nurture, cultivate and protect in order for it to thrive. When we respect, love, and honor ourselves, we will be better for it.
Compassion is knowing we need to be kind, gentle and loving to ourselves and others. Maturity involves the ability to take a step back and assess what is going on. Wisdom is knowing when to do what. May we be mature, compassionate, wise with ourselves and one another. May all be well.

About Dr. Martha Tara Lee

Surrounded by friends who were sexually inhibited and struck by dire lack of positive conversations around sex and sexuality in Singapore, Dr. Martha Tara Lee set out to make a positive difference in embarking on her doctorate in human sexuality before launching Eros Coaching in 2009. Today, she remains dedicated to working with individuals and couples who wish to lead self-actualised and pleasure-filled lives.

She also holds certificates in counselling, coaching and sex therapy, and her fourth degree – a Masters in Counselling in May 2018. In practice for more than 10 years, she is the only certified sexuality educator and certified sexuality educator supervisor by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) in Singapore. She is also a Red Tent Women’s Circles Facilitator from Star of Ishtar.

Often cited in the local media, Dr. Lee is the appointed sex expert for Men’s Health Singapore, and Men’s Health Malaysia. She was recognised as one of ‘Top 50 Inspiring Women Under 40′ by Her World in July 2010, and one of ‘Top 100 Inspiring Women’ by CozyCot in March 2011. She has published four books: Love, Sex and Everything In-BetweenOrgasmic YogaFrom Princess to Queen and {Un}Inhibited.

Martha works with individuals and couples in private coaching sessions, and conducts her own workshops. She takes prides in making sure all her workshops are also fun, educational, and sex-positive. This comes easily to her because even though she is extremely dedicated and serious about her work, she fundamentally believes that sex is meant to be fun, wonderful, amazing and sacred. As such, this serious light-heartedness has shone through again and again. For her full profile, click here. Email her here.

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