ON SELF-LOVE PRIMING FOR MORE EASEFUL PROGRESSION & GROWTH
“and he said: you pretty full of yourself ain't chu
so she replied: show me a person not full of herself
and I'll show you a hungry person”
Nikki Giovanni, “Poem For A Lady Whose Voice I Like”
‘Nobody is perfect!’
I am sure you have heard it before. Every time it comes my way I want to fight it, not only due to my intimate relationship with it as a woman and artist but also because I work with people to change how they view and express themselves in order to live life to the fullest. I witness again and again how these beliefs get in the way and how deep they run. Anything that you say to yourself repeatedly become a mantra, a message to your system, but mantras are only helpful if they are constructive.
This particular societal mantra is well-intentioned and is supposed to help us not be too hard on ourselves when we make mistakes or choices that don’t turn out the way we intended or when we are trying to live up to high or ridiculous expectations. It might offer some relief, yet I experience it as deflective, dismissive and unhelpful at best and as a cop-out or excuse (to continue acting in irresponsible or destructive ways) at worst. It never offered me any solace and it perpetuates a belief that we are somehow incomplete beings.
I will break it down.
Nature is Perfect
Walking through a forest I do not look at the different trees and go – 'that’s an imperfect or flawed tree', I simply appreciate the diversity and beauty. I might describe the trees as bent, or majestic or small or tall, dark or light or see how one might not have gotten enough water, or perhaps too much. I might see a flower that has wilted, or turned towards the sun and begun to open up but they are all perfect and beautiful at any stage. It is the effects of circumstance in combination with who they are that has rendered them different.
Our problem with nature is not only that we dwell outside of it, but that we see ourselves as separate from it, even while walking through it.
- Katy Bowman
Why would we be any less perfect than nature? We are nature!
Would you ever call a newborn baby imperfect? A toddler? How about a younger child? A teenager? A young adult? An adult, or elder? Why would you be any less perfect now than when you were a newborn baby? You are just in a different stage of learning and growing; different as it relates to human development in general and your individual circumstances, values, beliefs and choices in particular.
Growing up I often experienced adults treating me like an unfinished human who with time would learn the great wisdoms of adulthood and then, only then, be complete. The truth is all children are already complete and whole and one of the greatest gifts you can give a child is to mirror that for them.
Perfection is built-in
We carry with us, in our design, the wisdom that allows us to learn and grow. Yes, we all make mistakes, but we do not make them because we are imperfect, it is quite the opposite. The act of doing something or the way we do it might not be the best for any given situation, but the function of it is perfect.
We know that the only way to learning and success, comes from failing. As Samuel Beckett wrote;
“Ever Tried. Ever Failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
This is an essential part of our design – it is how we learn – we have a built-in feedback system that allows us to build skills. To make that function something imperfect is like saying our design is imperfect. When we fail we become aware of new things, which enables us to actually succeed. How perfect is that?
The new mantra could be: 'you are perfect and see how that tells you what you need next.'
Owning our doing without being our doing
In no way does you failing make you a failure as a human being - it only proves you’re human. It is common that we attach our actions to our identity, which makes it harder to admit that our actions might need some changes and updates since it somehow equates us to being wrong, flawed, faulty or bad people.
I like to think of what we call flaws, defects or imperfections, just as effects of genetics and upbringing, rehearsed patterns, or responses to whatever challenges we have gone through.
In my experience calling them what they really are does the following;
Ultimately it enables us to take charge of our lives and be more empowered – if I am perfect then I can do something about my problems. If I am faulty somehow it is easier to doubt my ability to get through and become a victim of my circumstances. When I am already perfect, I do not have to be ashamed of who I am or what is happening to me, I can more easily ask for help when I need it as I can see it as part of my nature - part of my current perfect.
Wholeness is what we are really looking for
Perfection, as we often relate to it, is an idea or image that we as a culture always chase some version of - something we all feel we need to live up to. The destructive nature of this is that we feel like if we do not follow this or that idea of perfection, if we are not doing things ‘right’, we will not be accepted, loved, cared for, or respected. I believe that this search for perfection has everything to do with wanting connection, to feel whole, loved and like we belong.
The problem is that the image we chase is always in the future - it is a future perfect, and often not our own and it will always exist there and make us act less like ourselves and more like what is expected or desired of us from the outside. To break this pattern we need to find ways to exist here and now, in who we are. We are whole. Peel off the judgement talk and begin to highlight your perfection, begin to reveal what is already there.
As we come home to ourselves and feel whole again we also connect to the knowledge of our perfection. The things that has made you feel bad about yourself will not be important anymore, they will lose their power over you. As we witness our perfection the story we tell ourselves will also change.
Our beliefs and stories literally shape our bodies, actions and lives and when the they are lodged in our muscles and tissue via habitual patterns it is most often not enough to say to the system: “it’s ok - nobody is perfect”. At least not if you want to take action and change something and feel better in the long run. For active forward moving self-love we need to acknowledge the perfection here and now, even the perfection of chasing an idea of perfection as it alerts you to look at what you need and want. From there you can change the way you move and respond with greater ease, clarity and authenticity.
When perfection is already a given, when fully yourself, you can focus on choices and change from a place of true response-ability and empowerment. When you surrender to YOUR perfect there is nothing that stands in your way.
This is the new mantra: Everyone is perfect - how are you perfect?
PS. This theme continues - check in again August 13th for THE 5 STEPS TO EMBRACING YOUR PERFECT!