I fell out of the loop for a moment,
caught in a swirl of perfectionism.
Suddenly I remembered that
it’s not about being perfect,
it’s about showing up authentically
in the perfection of this moment…
and so I came back.
The way my emotional system works,
I am a failure,
unless I am perfect,
but I am never perfect,
therefore I am always a failure.
Recently I have begun challenging this assertion.
(Thank you therapy!)
I have begun toying around with the idea of
Good enough mom:
Look, my children are still alive!
Good enough yoga teacher:
I show up to class on time, sober!
Good enough neighbor:
There is no trash in my front yard!
Good enough meditator:
I show up to my cushion every day!
I like this idea of adequacy.
It’s so much more human than perfection.
Just one step forward,
just one little action.
Write the goal down;
you don’t have to know how.
Just breathe. This doesn’t have to hurt.
Yes, it may take some hard work,
and yes, there might be some setbacks,
but this is life.
Infuse love into everything you do;
and some day (hopefully) far in the future
when it’s time for you to leave this body behind,
you’ll know this world is better
for your having passed by this way.
Perfection is a myth.
Just make a little progress, bit by bit
and it will be a life well-lived.
I believe everything is a test
and I think I should pass
every test with flying colors.
But how can I do well on the test
if I haven’t learned the material?
It’s important to admit
when I’m in over my head,
to see when I’m not prepared,
to ask for help when I need it.
There are no short cuts.
In the school of life
we can’t skip grades.
In an effort to cope
with the overwhelming change
I dropped into a cycle
Working on myself
is something I can control.
If bad things are happening,
it’s because of my mindset,
my perspective needs tweaking,
obviously I haven’t done the right work
or enough of it
for it to count.
There comes a point
when all this work becomes exhausting,
pointless, fruitless, a waste of time.
Then the work becomes trusting,
surrendering, letting go,
opening up to what is,
being right here,
Let me set down this burden
of always trying to be better.
Let me breathe
and love this little creature
that lives within me,
this self that tries so hard to be good.
Tired, working hard to be prepared
for a workshop I’m teaching tomorrow
and those old scoundrels jump into my brain,
The Perfectionist and the Critic.
They let me know all sorts of things:
You should’ve had this done by now.
You don’t have enough authority to teach this.
It’s going to be a flop. They’ll want their money back.
Why aren’t you more organized?
You don’t have anything worthwhile to say.
You should just give up right now.
And I say:
Thanks guys, really appreciate it,
everything you said is really helpful,
and I’ll be sure to take into consideration
what you shared with me…
I’m going to get back to work here.
I don’t have time to wallow in self-doubt.
I have lives to save.
I had a talk with the perfectionist today
I said, Thank you for all you’ve done.
I know you’re wanting to keep me safe
I’d like to try something different now.
I want to try motivating myself
with kindness and encouragement.
So would you be willing
to stop warning me about looking foolish
or not getting it right?
I’m ready to step beyond fear,
ready to tap into the unused potential
hiding behind the shield of perfectionism.
Something in me has been waiting far too long.
It wants out.
The real me, the whole me,
wants to come out of the closet and
step into the light of day.
The real me wants to laugh and sing and dance…
So, really, o perfectionistic one,
thank you for wanting to keep me safe…
Let’s try something different now,
beyond what I once thought I was…
I’ll start with just being who I am.