Deeply ingrained but unrealistic standards of excellence drive us to impossible goals. We fall short of our standards and feel guilty because we have failed. Self-defeating cycles of striving, abuse, and failure drive us deeper into our despair.

Learning to accept ourselves just as we are is:
• The first step to achieving satisfaction.
• The second step is to see ourselves as a work in progress.
• The third step is acknowledging our growth and our goodness of heart.

We’ll always have ways to improve. Stopping once in a while to appreciate ourselves and how far we’ve come makes the process more satisfying.

Satisfaction is a feeling. Achievement will not necessarily bring us satisfaction, cultivating the feeling will.

We will continue the cycle of impossible goals and inevitable frustrations unless we acknowledge our true gifts and use them. Then and only then will we experience ourselves at our best.

—Excerpted from The Ultimate Hand Book: Self-Care for Bodyworkers and Massage Therapists, by Maja Evans