Tag Archives: perfection

PERFECTION

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Hello all!  Today I want to talk about the topic of perfection.  As codependents and love addicts, we have striven for perfection constantly, only to be disappointed when our expectations were not met.  Whether it was someone else we were trying to impress or just ourselves, we were hard on ourselves for not executing it perfectly.

We don’t have to be hard on ourselves.  Nobody in this world is perfect!  We seem to hear that from people all the time, but the struggle is in understanding and really believing it.

We look at other peoples’ lives, especially with social media, and they seem to have it all – jobs, families, houses, vacations, and happiness.  But there is so much of peoples’ lives that we do not see, and each person has their struggles.  Truly, nobody is perfect. Continue reading

Why You’re Perfect Just The Way You Are.

shutterstock_123704254Less than two years ago, I was lucky enough to be living in walking distance to a Barnes and Noble. Somehow I would always find myself attracted like a magnet to the often shamed and typically avoided self-improvement aisle. My friends used to joke that my walking into my then-favorite section was like an alcoholic walking into a liquor store: I would literally go through book by book for hours on end, searching for some hidden secret that I thought might help me do a little better at this whole thing called life. These were my “self-help” binges, and I would exit those aisles more utterly confused than when I walked into them. Still, upon first whiff of that delicious Barnes and Noble scent, I was unable to stop myself from going back for more.

I must be missing some kind of guidebook everyone got when they were born, I would think to myself as I scanned each book in my favorite section. If only I could find the answer somewhere in one of these books, I would have it all figured out.

I came across many-a-book that would instruct me to love myself unconditionally, and I was told that if I could just give myself unconditional love and gentleness, I would have the peace I was looking for. I would repeatedly fail to understand what that meant and assume this implied I was failing life in general, only to love myself a little less as I sadly trudged away from the self-help section.

I would search and search, and I would find nothing I didn’t already know or nothing that could really give me what I wanted. Why? Because what I wanted was to be accepted just as I was, not if only I could love myself. This could only come from me, not from “passing” the exam called “life” with flying colors because I spent my whole life in the self help section of the book store and got all the answers down.

Although I’m slightly sober of my self-help section habit (okay, I did make one trip there the other day) I’m still finding I’m walking away from many a “spiritually minded” article or magazine with the same feeling of inadequacy I used to get from reading Cosmopolitan, or hanging out in that darn aisle of the book store. No, I don’t feel like my abs are too flabby or like I don’t have enough sex appeal, but I do feel a little bit like I’m “not spiritual enough” or like my limited kale intake doesn’t grant me access to some kind of higher plane of living.

So let me just say, I’m deciding there aren’t any rules. I’m deciding I’m good enough right where I am (and I get to decide that every single day.) In a world filled with rules and instructions for how to let go of rules and instructions, I am always granted the choice to accept myself, warts and all. No matter what I might be struggling to quit, hang onto, or pick up, I can embrace myself right where I’m at, well before I get to whatever final destination I’m heading toward.

After all, I may never “arrive” there anyways. I might as well enjoy the ride.

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How to Own Your Flaws Like a Champ

Freedom“Hi, my name is Yael and I’m a flirt. It’s embarrassing for me. I don’t like it.”

Believe it or not, this was progress.

This is the conversation I had with myself in my room several months ago, before I fell asleep. A fairly revealing talk with my best friend left me thinking. As she had (multiple times) before, she told me that I’m a “flirt.” That “everyone” knew this and it was just a part of who I was. This offended me, so I ignored it – like we all ignore things what we wish to avoid and pretend never existed…ever. But I soon came to realize that “avoidance” is a silly and detrimental thing.

Surprise! None of us are perfect. We ALL know this, yet we have trouble looking at ourselves once we realize that we, in fact, aren’t perfect (whatever “perfect” means). We all have qualities that need fine-tuning or adjusting. To ignore them is to do ourselves a disservice. So let’s empower ourselves and get to tuning!

Years and years of self-analysis, frustration, shamelessly crying, and over-thinking have led me to a place where I know how to “edit” myself pretty effectively and relatively painlessly. Here are some tips I’ve learned that may help you achieve a place of calm and self-acceptance:

  1. Find your cave. It doesn’t have to be a cave. It can be your bed, the corner of your room, your favorite lawn chair, or even your local ice creamery (I mean…why not). It mostly just needs to be a place you call your own—one you feel blissfully comfortable in. This is your quiet place. Your place to think.
  2. Get comfortable. We’re about to do some fairly uncomfortable things, so don’t make the situation worse. Use the restroom, make sure you’re properly hydrated, and put on some sweat pants.
  3. Reflect. Think about your daily actions. Try to hone in on the things that didn’t feel right or perhaps upset you.
  4. Analyze like you’ve never analyzed before. Try to look at those little bits more carefully and figure out where they are coming from. Is this a recurring pattern? Is it triggered by something else? What can you do to reverse this? What does it make you feel?
  5. Let it all out. Now that you’ve picked yourself apart, you’ve got to organize! You can’t let these thoughts continue to stew in your brain and transform into a frightening monster you’re likely to run away from (because we’ve been running for far too long). To do this, you should write it down or say it aloud. I personally prefer the latter (though I do write quite frequently as well). When you say your issue out loud, it’s almost as if you are transforming it into an entity that is outside of your self. You hear it from a distance, and it becomes less personal, less internal, and you start to warm up to the idea that it can and should be worked with. The same goes for writing, or really any expressive tool. Once it’s out there, in the open and out of your head, it’s manageable. It’s more concrete. It’s a real, tangible thing you can handle.
  6. Put your thinking cap on and brainstorm. At this point, you should try to think of solutions for your problem. You don’t have to do this alone if you feel comfortable enough discussing it with a trusted other (but always trust yourself, first and foremost). Think of ways you can change the aspects of yourself that are weighing you down. If you come up with something, I suggest trying to put it into a short, witty mantra so you can carry it around with you in your head, all day every day. If you don’t come up with a solution, it’s not the end of the world. A lot of the time we won’t. It’s important to acknowledge that merely getting it out there in the open is beneficial in itself. The solution will come with time.
  7. Hop on to the flip side. Get positive! Just like you were once required to do when editing someone’s rough draft in high school English class, it is pertinent that you point out some flaws you may want to address (or keep as part of your quirky bits of flair), but ALSO, and very importantly, make note of the things you really like. When you analyze yourself, you need to also praise yourself for and reflect upon your positives. The things you love about yourself and that others love about you. This creates level-headedness, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Things that suffer when we acquire a tunnel-vision-focus on our personal flaws. You’re awesome. You’re great. Be patient with yourself. You wouldn’t throw out a car just because it needed a few routine maintenance checks—that would be silly. So why would you treat your self-esteem and self-confidence like that? Don’t do it. Just don’t do it. You deserve better than that!

Like most things in this world, it comes back to balance. Treat yourself with care. Do not beat yourself to a pulp with your flaws, and do not raise yourself up to the highest peak with compliments. Do not be afraid to make adjustments you really think will better you as an individual, but do not be too hasty to alter all the little things within you that make you, well… you. This process takes practice, but that practice will lead you to a comfortable place that no amount of avoidance could ever get you. I’m still working to get there, but I can’t wait.

 

Wordplay Wednesday: Perfect

p2
Look over here
I’ve walked in the room
Turn all your eyes onto me
You may need to squint
I know that I shine
So brightly
That you cannot see
That I’m here for the show
And I’ve made my appearance
The lights flash
As you all scream my name
I’ll smile and try to prove
To you that everything
Is perfect
It’s the only reason I came

Note: I wrote this in 1996 when I was 20-years old, heavily invested in the bar scene and trying to control the outsides to feel better inside. So grateful that I know now that doesn’t work:)

 

Past Wordplay Wednesdays:

Change

One in the Same

Competition

Please

Elephant in the Room: How Do I Find the Right Man to Marry

Beneath the veil lies my darknessDear Cora,

I just celebrated my 27th birthday in April. I’m finally at a point in my life where I have a great job and can help support my mom and our family. (We’re Guyanese and staying close to family is very important). I’m really happy except for one thing – I want to get married. I want to start raising a family of my own, but I have the worst luck with men. My last serious relationship was years ago when I was still in college. I’ve dated a few guys since then but nothing has panned out. I’ve even had my mother try to arrange a marriage for me, but there was no spark and I couldn’t do it. When I do find a man I’m interested in long-term he doesn’t seem serious about dating. Sometimes I worry that I am too picky so I’ll give guys a shot who I don’t think I have chemistry with, but it’ll turn out my gut instinct is right and they aren’t the guy for me. I’m worried that if I don’t find a good guy to settle down with soon that I am never going to have the chance to start the family I want. What’s your advice?

Thanks,
Single gal

~

Dear Single Gal,

Oh, honey. The first thing we need to address is that 27 is way too young to start practicing your spinster routine! In my eyes you are a baby adult, only just beginning to get serious about long-term plans and taking complete responsibility for yourself. It sounds to me you are quite the capable young woman (key word: YOUNG) with a kind and compassionate heart. Guyanese or not – supporting your mother and family is a noble task and I tip my trunk to you, lady.

As for the husband, I think your trouble finding one comes from the fact you’re looking for one in the first place. We often feel compelled to find a life partner by a certain time in our lives so when women hit 25 and are still single they go into rabid husband-hunting mode. The problem with that is when you are only looking for a husband you stop being present. You look at every man that comes into your life through a lens of “Can I marry this person? Would he be a good dad? Would he remember to take out the trash? How serious is he about settling down?” and you forget to look at them as a whole person. If they don’t fit the mold you have prematurely set for the rest of your life then you move on without really taking stock of who you’re dealing with as a person and you don’t ask the much more important questions – Is he kind? Does he respect me? Does he make me laugh? Is this someone I can be best friends with and love for the rest of my days?

You won’t find that person with a checklist of “husband” attributes. You find that person by paying attention, being present, and allowing yourself the chance to get to know someone without the pressure of your entire future bearing down on the situation. Even if you don’t say it on a first date, most people can feel the wedding hungry vibes radiating off of you and it’s a clear signal to them to run. It’s the same thing with “the spark” you’re looking for. Is that a real thing? While the movie “He’s Just Not Into You” is pretty problematic with its message to women – one of my favorite parts is when Alex (Justin Long) explains to Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) that “the spark” is made up.

(Warning: Some language, NSFW)

I don’t really think it’s a man-made conspiracy as an excuse not to call a girl, but it speaks to our obsession with fairy tale scenarios. If you’re expecting the perfect guy to walk in and say the perfect things then whisk you away to your dream life – you’re going to be waiting for a really long time. Life isn’t that clean and simple, relationships definitely aren’t. They are complicated and messy and never perfect, which is what makes them enriching and powerful.

So my advice, Single Gal, is to stop looking. Relieve the pressure. Open your eyes and be present. I have a feeling when you let up on yourself – and the guys you meet – it’ll be much easier to see the guy who probably isn’t perfect, but who is perfect for you.

Best wishes,
Cora

* * *

avatar-NO-BKCGRNDSubmit your questions, troubles, and predicaments to Cora via editor [at] intent [dot] com or in the comments section below. The Elephant in the Room advice column will be published every Friday – a blend of humor, compassion, and wisdom specially tailored for our Intent audience.

photo by: AMELIA SPEED

Deepak Chopra: If the Universe is Perfect, Why Aren’t We?

If nature and the Universe work together in perfect synchronicity, and we humans are part of nature, then why are we not perfect?

In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra explores the seeming imperfections in nature and in humans’ own behavior, and how this relates to the overall perfection of the Universe.

Nature and the Universe are pure synchronicity, pure expression and organization. This doesn’t mean light and dark, pain and pleasure, good and evil need not exist – paradox is as natural as order, after all. But human life, and life in general, are often unnecessarily messy, flawed, and chaotic. Instead of identifying with the soul of the Universe, we identify too often with logic, with our brains and egos. If we can return to an identification with the larger universe, we will reclaim a life of equanimity.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and check out Deepak Chopra’s book, The Ultimate Happiness Prescription.

You are your purpose.

purposeHe asked: “Why would you do that?!” Oh, did it hurt. There was no make-wrong in his question, no accusation, no attack. Only puzzlement. “Why would you try to change others? Why would you want to force others to grow? Don’t you know that everyone is where they are, working with what they have, however they can? I thought you would know that.”

She asked: “How can we make others understand?! How can we make them see? If we could just do something, catapult them away from Earth and up up up to the moon so that they could see the world as it is and then something in them would click!”

I listened to her and I remembered his question: why would you do that? Why would you want to force others to grow?

And I felt ashamed of myself for having tried, for having tried to make others see, for it was not out of compassion that I’ve done that. It was not to serve others, and it was not to help them. It was to make them. It was to change them. It was forced. It was an attack. I was an attacker.

And so when she asked, “How can we make people see, how can we make them understand, how can we make them change?” I said:

“You know, I found the easiest and by far the fastest way to change people, to change the world: when I see, when I understand, when something in me clicks, then the world becomes a wonderland and people are lovely and delightful.”

That is all I need to do to shift the world and change everyone — see, understand, realize — myself.

A One-Year-Old’s Perspective of Perfection

Part one of this piece revealed some of the raw truths of parenting from the parent’s perspective. Now let’s see how a one year old feels about it.

Mommy & Daddy

Perfection is overrated, and a total myth in parenthood.

Truth.

Before my son was born almost seven years ago, I proudly stated he would watch no TV, eat only organic, drink only breast milk until one year of age, be in Spanish immersion classes, dress super cool like his fashionista mama…the list goes.

I had daydreams of my own self along the lines of super working mom, up before dawn to practice yoga or workout, succeed in my son sleeping through the night as soon as possible, have my family life and work life perfectly balanced and be able to give 100% to both…again the laughable list went on and on.

And then he was born.

Around one year of age a typical day looked like this, from his perspective:

Hmmmm, the sound of ONE bird chirping, must be time to get up!

Mama!!! Wahhhhh!!!

Where is she? That one day she was up early ready to come get me in her funny tight clothes all sweaty. I wonder why that hasn’t happened again? Maybe I need to scream louder, or make a different sound.

EEEEEKKKKKKK! Eek eek eek eek!

Where the heck ARE they? Maybe they left. Maybe that lady is here who puts me to bed sometimes. Why does she come over and Mommy and Daddy leave? Why would they ever want to not be with me? Why does that lady come over so often??

Mama!!!!!!!

Finally, what took ya so long ma? Geeze, you look tired. You have slept two whole hours since I saw you last, you really should get more sleep.

Mmmmm cottage cheese and apple juice in Mom and Dad’s bed, my favorite. Oops, I spilled the whole bowl. Maybe if I mush it around with my spoon it will go away. Nope, ok , licking it up should work. Ah there, clean as a whistle! They won’t even notice the hard spot on the sheets as it dries.

Oh my favorite, a bottle of milk. This cold milk from the weird white container doesn’t taste the same as that sweet warm milk I got a looooooooonnng time ago. I am talking long. Like six whole months. I wonder why I don’t get that sweet warm milk anymore from mama? Why did she just kinda stop giving it to me one day? Huh.

Sponge Bob is on, YES! Oh, nope, she caught it…darn it WHEN will I be allowed to watch that high quality show? OK, Wonder Pets will do for now.

And another episode.

And another…actually it’s the same one I just watched! Does she think I won’t notice!?

Wow va va voom! Mama is all dolled up! I wonder where she goes dressed up like that? She’s back now, getting me all dolled up. Except I hate these pants. She and Daddy keep saying all these words that make them sound like crazy people in weird high pitched tones. They’re smiling and poking at me, must be a good thing. Maybe if I poop now, it will mess these pants up and she will have to give me better ones.

It didn’t work. Mama also isn’t smiling anymore. I hate these pants too, plain jeans ick. Pooping again will SURELY bring out the good pair I like, and maybe a little spit up too. There, now THAT’S what I call an outfit! Actually, if I poop one more time, she will send me to play with my friends at that place she takes me to in my PJ’s, she’s done it before! I don’t know why they try to put me in all that fussy stuff anyway.

Car seat time! Wonder what I get to listen to today? NPR again? BORING! Oh good, she changed it. I can kick my legs to this for sure. I am glad I get to listen to the good stuff and not that silly kid music.

Mama?

Mama? Where did you go?? It has been like YEARS since you put me in the car in this car seat!

Mama!!!!!!

I don’t know where she goes for so long but she comes back with all this stuff…bags, food, a cup in one hand for her, a cup in another for me. How does one person carry so much? Must be a superhero skill. She sure does suck down whatever brown stuff is in that cup. Maybe she should put it in one of my bottles. Then it wouldn’t spill all over every day making her scream those weird words that Daddy says she has to stop saying soon. I think I will try to say one. “Ffffffuuuu.” Too hard. I like saying “mama” better, she gets so happy when I do.

I wonder what she packed in my lunch today? I like the food she mushes up in the kitchen the best, but sometimes I get something called Lunchables. My teachers give me a weird look when they take those out of my lunchbox and give them to me, huh, wonder why because they taste sooo good.

I don’t want her to go. I like this place but it isn’t the same as home. I know if I cry then she gets a tear in her eye, but I don’t want her to leave. I feel better when I get sassy to suck on, she knows that. I get sassy, she kisses me, and says every time “Honey I love you, and remember, Mommy and Daddy ALWAYS come back.”

Someone is petting my face as I nap. MOMMY! I love this part of the day. She’s so smiley, I am so happy, and we go home. Mommy and Daddy always come back. I love my Mommy, my Daddy and my life just as it is.

Yes, tongue-in-cheek. But seriously, let’s do this together.

Let’s forgo pursuit of perfection for the knowledge we are enough, just as we are, in the eyes of our little ones.

Let’s forgo shaming ourselves or other moms for not making it to 12 months of breastfeeding (or for not doing it at all!) and instead revel in the knowledge that love is the best food of all.

Better yet, let’s actually let our kids see we are perfect in our imperfection and that messy is beautiful when worn with integrity and authenticity.

 

Bathroom reading

 

 

6-year-old Boy Declares the Word “Perfect” to Be Extinct

By Jennifer Pastiloff

“Mom, why isn’t the word ‘perfect’ extinct since nothing is perfect?”
Will Sherwood, age six

Perfect (adj.): being entirely without fault or defect : flawless <a perfect diamond>

I was teaching yoga to my private client, and I told her that her body was perfect.

She then told me something that her six-year-old son Will said, and I realized the error of my ways.

It is brilliant, and I will now borrow it and use it in class. Quoting Sir Will, of course.

He’s just learned the word “extinct” at school. He comes in and says, “Mom, why isn’t the word ‘perfect’ extinct since nothing is perfect?”

My point exactly, Will! Why hadn’t I said this yet? (Because often six year olds are smarter, more observant, and more honest.)

He made this deduction himself after the constant reminder from his mom that no one is perfect.

As I often say in class: Perfect people are boring people.

I even said it on Good Morning America! (Aren’t they though?)

All jokes aside, at some point I forgave myself for not being perfect. For many years, I struggled with an eating disorder and the feeling that I had to be/look perfect. This nearly killed me, in many ways. I still struggle with this in times of stress, if I am being one hundred percent honest, which I am committed to being. But it’s a silly notion, this extinct idea of striving for perfection, isn’t it?

I am now committing to not being perfect. Because of this commitment, I made my new tagline:

There is no getting it Right, there’s just getting it Awesome.

Conforming absolutely? Ick. Who wants that?

Excellent beyond improvement? Blergh. Yawn.

To be clear, we are perfect. Perfectly imperfect.

Here are some examples of being perfectly imperfect: I can’t hear well so I wear hearing aids. My nephew has Prader Willi Syndrome and Autism, and he is perfect as he is. My friend Emily has one leg. I never booked a job when I was pursuing an acting career. I am extremely disorganized and quite messy.

It’s this idea of perfection as something outside of ourselves; as something better than ourselves; as something someone else has decided. The idea of perfect as something unattainable.

I believe it is most certainly inside each and every one of us already. Let’s unite and give up this notion that it isn’t! Let’s take a stand!

A child’s laugh is perfect. A sunset blue and purple as a bruise is perfect. A good cup of coffee or glass of Cabernet can damn well be perfect.

Check out this poster one of my dearest friends Karen Salmansohn made:

In the comments section, please answer: Where in your own life can you stop trying to be perfect?

I will start. I can stop trying to be perfect when it comes to yoga poses. I cannot press up into a handstand in the center of the room, yet I am a successful yoga teacher. When I do certain poses I feel like a beginner. It’s okay. I am still a damn good teacher!

I can also stop trying to be perfect when it comes to comparing myself to women my age who are pregnant or already have kids, and I haven’t even begun to try. I can stop worrying and trust in divine timing. If it is meant for me, I will make it happen. I am exactly where I am meant to be.

Know this: I support you in your perfect imperfectness. At the core of us, at the root of us, at the very base and also the very highest, we are perfect. And that can never be changed. It is NOT outside of us. Not now. Not ever.


Jennifer Pastiloff was recently featured on Good Morning America. She is a yoga teacher, writer, and advocate for children with special needs based in L.A. She is also the creator of Manifestation Yoga® and leads retreats and workshops all over the world. Jennifer is currently writing a book and has a popular daily blog called Manifestation Station. Find her on Facebook and Twitter and take one of her yoga classes online at Yogis Anonymous.

Jen will be leading a Manifestation Yoga® weekend retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the Berkshires, Massachusetts Feb 1-3, 2013.

15 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 15

* Written by Xian Horn

High school-like situations may not end when we graduate (adult relationships, auditions, the workplace), but we can get much better at handling them.

These are the fifteen things I learned the “long” way:

They can keep puberty and daily life (at any age) from being the end of the world.

1. If your love interest (or employer) doesn’t notice, like, or love you “that way,” it does NOT mean there is something wrong with you. It simply means they are wrong for you right now.

2. How people treat you says more about them than it does about you. It’s not always personal or all about you.

3. Everybody has insecurities, they just manifest differently in every person.

4. Bullies and gossips are more insecure than their targets. “Haters” need your sympathy and prayers more than your hurt and anger.

5. Judgment (of yourself or someone else) clouds your clarity of a situation. This can lead to all kinds of misunderstandings and bad decision-making.

6. When you are secure you’re not so easily offended by what people say or think.

7. Envy is a waste of time: if something good happens to someone else, it means it can happen to you. If you can’t have what someone else has, you can have something else better for you.

8. The strongest person is not necessarily the person with the biggest muscles or loudest voice.

9. The beauty in someone else does not take away from the beauty in you. Trust that you have beauty, talents, and gifts—whatever company you keep.

10. You don’t have to do anything to be more beautiful, but you may have to put in work to feel beautiful everyday.

11. Rather than being perfect (flawless), focus being authentic or becoming whole.

12. Loving everybody does not necessarily mean making everyone your BFF. It’s okay to be selective about your inner circle.

13. People-pleasing is the easiest way to lose your authentic self. Don’t let others’ opinions or fear of rejection have power over your God-given gut instinct.

14. Standing for something doesn’t mean standing for everything. Be prepared to disappoint some for the greater good; be prepared to accept those who disagree.

15. The “oops” you have made are not mistakes or regrets per se; they are lessons to help you and/or others do better. It may even be a blessing in disguise. You may not see it now; it may take time to see what the lesson or blessing is. Be patient with yourself. Let your story unfold.


Xian Horn is a joyful half-Asian woman with Cerebral Palsy, serving as writer, mentor, and positivity activist. A member of an international network of extraordinary women, 85 Broads, she was heralded by founder Janet Hanson as an “amazing role model for all women.” With her personal stories and ongoing mentoring work, Xian Horn is invested in contributing positively to self-esteem and the collective self-image, especially for women. To support her True Beauty efforts for people with disabilities, please join Xian’s Facebook community and follow her on twitter here.

Photo by katerha.

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