“You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” ~Brene Brown
We are all perfectly imperfect just as we are.
Yes, it’s true. Sometimes hard to believe, but always the truth. Believe me.
I’ve always recognized that I am a perfectionist.
I was the little girl who wanted to know how to play the piano at my first lesson, how to roller blade the first time I tried, how to do the splits at my first gymnastics class.
I’ve always wanted to do it right the first time.
On the one hand, I appreciate my intention to do and be my best at whatever I do, but on the other hand, I see how this mentality has often paralyzed my efforts and prevented me from daring and learning to be brilliant.
The one practice I’ve committed to in my life, where I’ve been willing to be less than perfect, and continue to embrace each day, is yoga.
The meditative quality, the healing breath, the invigorating movement all resonate with me and remind me to just be where and who I am, in each moment.
It’s been fifteen years now since I began my yoga practice in an effort to release the tension in my neck that was triggering chronic headaches during my first year studying at UCLA.
I felt transformed after my very first yoga class and just knew that I would grow and expand with my practice.
In the beginning, most of my transformation was physical—feeling more relaxed, open, energized, and flexible. In recent years, my practice has guided me to expand my perspective, and I find myself open to understanding life anew.
I’m discovering new ways of being and of seeing the world.
Just two months ago I had a revelation.
I was communicating with a life coach who is an incredible listener, endeavoring to understand why I was constantly feeling challenged in my relationship with my husband. Together, we realized that I was creating the same expectations of perfection for him as I had carried for myself since childhood.
A memory surfaced: me, around twelve years old, sharing my report card with my father.
“Why are they not all As?” he questioned unapologetically.
I glanced at my grades, noticing that I’d earned six As and one B+, and said, “I did my best.”
“I expect all As next time,” he firmly instructed.
“I’ll do better,” I submissively acquiesced.
And this stuck. The need to do better than my best. The desire to be better than myself. I wanted my father’s approval. I wanted my father’s love. I wanted my father’s attention. And so, I worked even harder and earned a 4.0 GPA each semester.
But you know what? It was never enough.
I never felt enough. I never could earn the love and attention that I desperately craved from him.
I needed to look within myself.
Now, some twenty years later, I’m still struggling with my tendency toward perfectionism.
This insight is life changing: A chance to understand myself better. A reflection of how and why I choose to think and act the way I do. An opportunity to acknowledge that I’ve associated being perfect with being lovable.
Now, without judgment or criticism for myself or my father, I have the choice to change.
I can choose to shift my perspective and tell a new story. I choose to embrace a new truth…
Imperfection is lovable.
With this knowledge, I see my relationship with myself and with my husband, my children, my family, my friends—with life itself—in a new light.
We are perfecting.
And who wants to be perfect anyway? How boring that would be!
The most fun is in the growing, in the expansion, in the learning and becoming ever more who we are.
I release the compulsion to be perfect, to constantly achieve, do more, handle every task on my to do list immediately.
I allow myself to be more present, to be in the moment, to remember what matters most: love.
I can let go of always doing and instead let myself be. I can stop rushing around handling tasks, and allow myself to stop and smell the roses with my daughters, kiss my husband, call a friend, stare in wonder at the beauty of our universe.
I am worthy of love, I know I belong, I recognize my life has meaning, and I give myself permission to take it easy andjust be me.
I embrace this truth:
I am good enough. I do enough. I have enough. I work enough. I love enough. I am beautiful enough. I am smart enough.
I am enough.
Can you say this to yourself and really mean it? Practice. Notice how it feels.
I give others space to be imperfect without being critical.
I allow myself to be me.
I allow myself to love me just as I am.
I allow myself to love others just as they are.
Whenever I begin to lose focus of this reassuring truth, when I start to feel overwhelmed by all the “shoulds” and judgments in my mind, I sit in stillness in my meditation space.
I read the words I’ve etched on my chalkboard wall:
I am enough. Surrender. Live and Let Live. Imperfection is lovable. Be human.
Immersed in the sensation of my breath, I choose to focus my mind on these powerful truths. Soon, I relax into the comfort of knowing that all is well. And I begin again the journey of self-love and acceptance.
I am grateful for being where I am, for all the wisdom and love so many gracious and kind people have shared, and for the powerful practice of yoga that encourages self-awareness and growth.
I am grateful for the opportunity to recognize the perfection in our imperfection and to use this wisdom to infinitely improve my interactions with the people I love the most.
Our minds are powerful. Our thoughts are powerful. Our love is powerful.