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Breaking Free: How to Overcome Self-Hating Perfectionism and Embrace Self-Acceptance

I changed everything. Everything.

Kirsten Johansen

I only set out to find the source of my insidious and nearly debilitating suffering and stem the flow. Turn off the faucet. But, as a trusted guide and mentor Cheri Huber explains, it's not like turning off a tap; it's like ripping out the plumbing. Demolishing self-hate, that is. It required an extensive remodel because it was hiding everywhere like toxic mold. As I began the hazmat-level clean-up, I focused on dispelling all the rumors, myths, and lies that self-hate (a conditioned voice) had been feeding me since my early childhood.

Surprising things began to happen and are still happening. Some are dreamy and wonderful; some are challenging and frustrating and induce a primal scream or cleansing blubber about which I have no shame. There is no shame in crying.

Maltese Island of Gozo with view of countryside and Mediterranean Sea
View from my terrace in Xaghra, Gozo

I recently spoke with a lovely Gozitan gentleman, sharing how I came to be on this tiny island with a name that means JOY. As I explained that my dream is slower to build than I imagined, he summarized things in true Maltese fashion, "It's hard."

Yes, it is hard to change everything. Sometimes, it feels too hard, or resistance works its jab and has me slumping on my stool in the corner, hoping my trainer flings in the terrycloth and stops this misery. But, no. This is my life. If I don't fight for it, then who?

So, up I go. There is JOY to be had, and it will take some fancy footwork, endurance, strategy, and sheer refusal to throw in the towel.

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