Life does not have to be perfect


photo by Jenny Ingalls Nelson

Dear Perfectionists,

This one’s for you.

?, Lara

Wonderful is what we want and trying to be perfect is the only way we know how to get it. We set our bar impossibly high thinking that once we hit that goal, get that thing, reach that weight or have that success, life will be wonderful. Then we actually do hit that goal, get that thing, reach that weight and have that success, and are still left wondering when the wonderful comes. When do we get to feel wonderful? Clearly our bar wasn’t set high enough, so we raise it, and the cycle begins again.

Oh cycle of striving, how familiar I am with you. You gave me some great things – lots of nice shoes & bags and the ability to buy and re-buy a wardrobe to keep up with my ever changing body – but you never gave me wonderful. No matter how high I raised my bar, I was never able to hold on to that elusive feeling. I got glimpses of it and thought I’d finally found it; things were finally perfect, but it never stuck around.

I’ll be turning 38 in a few months and have been settling into wonderful for only a couple of years. On the outside, my life looks mostly the same. I didn’t lock myself in an ashram for 2 years, I swear!

What I did do was stop. I stopped the constant need to be doing, going, striving, criticizing, judging, deflecting…

I stopped the external focus.

I also started. I started listening, practicing stillness, saying no, slowing down, speaking my truth, practicing kindness…

I started looking inside.

Looking inside scared the shit out of me. What if there’s nothing there that’s valuable or worthy or lovable? At the end of the day, that’s the biggest fear, right? What if we let our most authentic selves be visible and become unlovable? What if the mask is the only thing people love about us?

That’s what kept me in the cycle of striving for years. I thought that if I could achieve some BS idea of perfect, then I’d love me. Turns out, the opposite is true. Perfection is fatally uninteresting and completely unachievable, so I was actually blocking my ability to love myself by striving for perfect.

Wonderful came when I started to love imperfection. It was scary, and at times still is, but even when it’s scary, it’s still wonderful.

Wonderful is real and messy and challenging and alive. It’s a sense that no matter what happens, I’m OK. I’ve got this. It’s acknowledging that life is never going to be perfect for anyone, and really knowing that perfect is an illusion. Wonderful is the stability and calm that comes from inside, even when things are messy.

…and all of those people who I feared only loved me for the mask? Turns out they love me even more in all of my perfect imperfection.

Thanks for being on this journey with me.
?, Lara

 

CLICK TO TWEET Loving the perfectly imperfect is what really makes life wonderful.

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