Are you being tortured with imperfection too?
Lately I’ve noticed myself harshly judging myself, playing the comparison game and feeling like a failure in multiple areas of life. Yep, full on, being extra critical of all that is seemingly “imperfect.” Do you ever slip into this mode?
We all do it from time to time.
We’re so conditioned by society, the personal growth industry, and even our inner circle of friends, family and mentors about what the ideal is or “should be.” And, it’s easy to fall short of perfection. In fact, it’s inevitable we will.
The Big Lie…
We hear “all you have to do is XYZ (or fill in the blank),” and then… we’ll make a gazillion dollars, have the perfect body, attain enlightenment or live happier ever after. Ha! I notice there are dozens and dozens of things that shape my life. And it’s insane to think I can do them all… all of the time. And if it is, I haven’t figured it out yet.
I still fall prey to taking inventory, and beat myself up for coming up short. Judgment is harshest when it’s an area that flowed better in the past, but is falling way short today. Ah, the humility of humanity.
Admitting this is actually liberating!
Contrast Provides Perspective
This morning I had a very contrasting experience during my final asana in yoga class. After contorting my body, holding luxuriously long poses in a “hurt so good” way, and releasing wound up muscles, I was lavishing in that euphoric feeling of calm in every cell of my being. Ahhhhhh!
As I rested in blissful, relaxed awareness, I realized that everything I’d been brutally judging myself on, hadn’t changed one iota. Yet, here I was…resting in ecstatic stillness. Fancy that!
Yet, my house is still a mess. Business and bank accounts…same, same. To do list… identical. All the areas of life I was being judgy with…the parenting department, “workouts per week” department, balancing work vs. mommy presence, writing, sleep or lack there of, glowing social life (yes, I meant that sarcastically), aging face and body, and on and on and on… all the same. Exactly the same.
With one exception… my mindset and connection to inner peace had shifted! Good to notice.
Making Peace With Imperfection…
This is the invitation.
The confronting challenge.
As I walked in my home, sure enough… I could feel the tug to slip back into “inventorying evidence of failure and imperfection.” Dog hair accumulating on the floor. Eeeeesh! Remnants of the “morning rush” (aka: getting 5 years old twins off to school), dishes in the sink, crumbs, etc. Laundry baskets calling out, “Fold me! Fold me!” And that was before I entered my office.
But, I was committed to making peace with imperfection.
So I stood there… breathing.
I consciously focused on strengthening the connection to those euphoric feelings of peace still fluttering elusively inside. Closing my eyes helped. I chuckled. But, if I wanted to make peace with the mess, I had to see it to “be with it.” I truly wanted to find alignment with “what was” before me. Breathing. Relaxing. Noticing. Present to the tug-o-war of peace vs. perfection.
What Are You Focusing On?
Are you focusing on measuring and evaluating what’s wrong? Are you focused on that part of you in your core that is pure awareness and peace?
What’s most important in this moment? When I choose that “connection to my calm inner core” everything flows easier. Not perfect, but easier.
Are you focused on doing the things that strengthen this connection? Yoga/workouts, quiet reflection time, and sleep all help me have more access to calm core. What helps you?
Be Generously Compassionate With Yourself
I’m still working on this one. Kristin Neff’s book on Self-Compassion is an excellent guide, and one of the books I’m reading currently.
If you’re like me, you’re the kind of person who strives to create and live your best life. Sometimes that constant striving leads to unnecessary suffering. Stopping and dishing out self-love and compassion brings us back to that more powerful place from which to create from.
Lighten up! Humor is your friend.
As I puzzled with the inquiry of making peace with perfection, I spilled my veggie smoothie on myself. Oooops!!! Let’s just say… laughing helped me not skip a beat.
I’m reminded to lighten up, and not take imperfection too seriously.
Get inspired… and make adjustments.
If something is not working, make a commitment to improve it. By the notion of “Being with Imperfection,” I don’t want to suggest that you or I should become apathetic to actively participating in shaping and improving our lives. Being numb and calling it peace is not the goal. Feeling alive and connected to your calm inner core more often, is the aim.
From a place of calm connection, you’ll naturally allow that organic stream of inspiration to flow. I’ve got another voicemail into my house cleaner. And I’m ready to get creative to make room for the things I value most, but have let slide lately.
The Serenity Prayer sums this up best.
How Will You Dance With Imperfection?
Undoubtedly, you’ll have perfect moments here and there… even if it’s as simple as watching the dog gleefully chase the ball, enjoying a hug, or snuggling up with a favorite book. Enjoy those moments immensely.
And undoubtedly, you’ll find yourself judging what’s not quite right. We all will. We’re all human. The question is, how will you dance with imperfection?
Will you harshly judge and spiral downward, or will you challenge yourself to make peace with the imperfection? Maybe you could even find joy in the imperfection?
Delight in the rich aliveness of life that is here for the taking in each unfolding moment. Open yourself up to more of it. Be kind and compassionate with yourself. Find the humor. Strengthen that connection to your calm inner core. Make inspired adjustments. Embrace your humanity.
I’m going to work on these things. How about you?
Join me below and tell me how you dance with imperfection. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Until next time…