DEAR HARRIETTE: Lately, everything has been feeling like too much. I’m a perfectionist, so I’m used to trying to be the best at everything — the best grades, friends, family, etc. My friends keep inviting me to have fun, and I feel a compelling need to say yes even though I’m exhausted, because I just want to keep up this perfect facade.
Even though it’s summer, I’ve gotten a jump start on studying for my AP courses for next year. I feel like I’m going to burn out, but I also feel like the world may collapse if I’m not perfect at everything.
I need to learn to let myself take a break, but I don’t know how to. What should I do?
DEAR PERFECTIONIST DRAMA: You are a perfect candidate for therapy. I strongly recommend that you seek out a therapist who can help you walk through your behaviors, emotions and sense of urgency and help you choose to make decisions that can positively impact your future. Perfectionism is a way of living for some people, but as you are experiencing, it can be exhausting and is ultimately elusive.
Get some help to sort through your life and strike a better balance with your interests, responsibilities and desires.
You may also consider taking a yoga class and doing some breathwork. Learning to breathe deeply and slow down your system can help you relax. When you feel growing stress, you can engage the breath, immediately calm yourself and recenter.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My 25-year-old daughter showed up visibly drunk to our family dinner.
I know that she is a grown adult, but we were at dinner with her conservative grandparents who don’t condone alcohol consumption at all. She was loud and a bit sloppy, and I didn’t appreciate it. Out of respect for the elders in her family, I think she should have at least tried to appear sober.
Is it wrong to say something to her about her behavior, since she is now an adult?
Drunk at Dinner
DEAR DRUNK AT DINNER: You must speak to your daughter — when she is sober — and point out what happened at dinner. Because she was drunk, there is a possibility that she will not remember the evening.
Ask her what she recalls. Before making accusations, get her to replay the evening to the best of her recollection. Then tell her you want to share your perspective. Describe how she was behaving and how people in attendance reacted to her. Be sure to spend time telling her about how she interacted with her grandparents and how inappropriate her behavior seemed to you.
Yes, you can point out that her grandparents do not condone alcohol consumption, but the issue is bigger than that. Being drunk in the first place is where your daughter crossed the line. She was no longer in control of herself and her decisions, and that lack of discretion proved embarrassing and disrespectful. Ask her never to do that again.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to [email protected] or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.