If Wholehearted living is the best way forward, where exactly does one begin?

Learning to live wholeheartedly is a life-changing practice but what does it actually mean to live wholeheartedly and why would you want to?

Well it quite literally means living life while being ‘authentically you’.

In an interview with Oprah, Dr. Brené Brown discusses two qualities wholehearted living folk have in common.

What’s so striking about wholehearted living, as discussed in this video, is the significance of being one hundred percent authentic at all times.

Oprah explains:

“The opposite to being authentic is laughing at jokes that you don’t find funny or pretending you’re comfortable when you’re not.”

Many of us do this, just to fit in and to feel accepted.

It’s impossible to be true to yourself when at the same time, you’re faking who you are, simply because you think that people will judge you negatively.

Why do we do this though? Is it because we don’t think they’ll accept us just as we are or just as we choose to be?

Whatever the reason, what’s the best remedy?

Quite simply, the best remedy is to avoid spending any more time than absolutely necessary with those kinds of people. Those of whom judge and criticize you, leaving you feeling like you have to change who you are to gain their approval.

In-authenticity is very contagious! Just look around at how many people conform to a group’s behavior so they can be part of it.

However, just because it’s contagious, this doesn’t mean you have to catch the in-authenticity bug yourself. Enter Wholehearted living!

There is so much more to wholeheartedness than having the confidence to just be true to your feelings, values, wants and needs.

wholehearted living quote

Here’s the thing ….. ‘wholehearted living people’ have learned to let go of perfectionism.

Why? Because perfectionism equates to a lack of self-compassion. When you’re too hard on yourself for things not being quite as perfect as you’d like them to be ( regardless of whether you think that it’s a well-intentioned attempt at self-improvement) it literally damages your own self-worth.

It’s definitely not the same as striving for excellence (which is of course a wonderful thing to do) but rather, a fear-based cognitive process… a 20-ton shield as Dr. Brown puts it, that says,

“If I look perfect, do it perfect, work perfect and live perfect, I can avoid or minimize shame, blame and judgment.”

Again – it really does boil down to a fear of not being accepted by others isn’t it?

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Here are just a few effective points to consider and ways to help you in becoming aware of perfectionism ( awareness really is the first step ) and then avoiding it.

The results of which will leave ( to name just a few ) you feeling much more joyful and much more relaxed in what would otherwise have been stressful situations.

What’s more, the liberating feeling that comes with the freedom of becoming your authentic SELF will astound you, so consider this:

1. If you find yourself procrastinating, think about why?

Usually we procrastinate rather than risking doing something “wrong” or imperfectly. Just think of the immense relief and pride you will feel when you do the thing (to the best of your ability) that you’ve been putting off.

2. Whether you believe that you are a success or a failure, consider this:

You are a work in progress and failures are essential lessons that teach you how not to do things next time. It’s about embracing the failures and being at peace with them.

3. If you find yourself being highly critical of others, recognize that the people in your life are mirrors:

“Be a reflection of what you’d like to see in others. If you want love, give love. If you want honesty, give honesty. If you want respect, give respect. You get in return what you give.”


Remember that you reject in others what you reject in yourself. So instead of noticing and fixating on the flaws, notice what is good in people.

Yes, practice will make progress here and it’s not always going to feel so easy but in doing this, it will teach you to see the good in yourself, too!

4. When you find yourself making too big a deal out of trivial annoyances, your days can become a series of meltdowns. Take back your personal power!

Don’t let something outside of you dictate how you are going to feel and react! Feel the feeling that the those pesky thoughts have created.

Don’t get attached to further thoughts, simply observe the sensation until it leaves and let it go peacefully.

5. If you’re a sensitive type ( and thank goodness for this human quality ) and often tend to take things personally, really try to view absolutely everything as a valuable lesson.

Criticism is an excellent form of feedback; and, it’s not actually always about YOU!

6. If you carry lots of shame and guilt about the past around with you, like times when you didn’t perform as others expected (leaving you feeling horrible) you to, try showing yourself some kindness and compassion.

You did what you did because of what you knew at that time. You can’t undo it but you can start today, with awareness, to create a shame free future.

Anne Wilson Schaef reminds us:

“Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order.”

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