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>
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.
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.