Last updated on July 14th, 2022 at 11:03 pm
Last weekend, I finally “let go” of something inside of me that was still determined to turn me into something I’m not. Here I am, a woman in mid-life with the personal mission of achieving enlightenment in this lifetime for the sake of all beings (that’s the “Bodhisattva” vow I have taken for my life), and I am still concerned some days about having a “perfect” home, “perfect” body, or “perfect” career.
Hardly enlightened thoughts! And what does “perfect” even mean, exactly?
I am reminding myself, daily, that I have followed my heart, as best I know how, and used my gifts to give back to society. I am evolving and growing, all the time, and there is no “perfect” me, really, just me now, and who I am becoming.
I needed to remind myself of this lately because I was second-guessing some earlier decisions and had to remind myself that as a result of making another choice, I was able to create so many other amazing things in my life, from writing to completing a draft of my book, to teaching in India with my spiritual teacher. It feels like those were the “right” steps on the path at the moment, and they were somehow leading me to where I need to be now, as well.
I sincerely believe that we are always led to the path of our highest fulfillment and success, at this moment, starting from wherever we are now. Opening up to the next steps on the path requires us to be willing to love and accept where we are now.
After all, all the stories in our minds about how life “should” be or how we should somehow be different, better, whatever, are just that–stories. It’s one thing to reach for a goal or a dream and to do something, take inspired action, to make our lives more of what we want to experience on this planet. We may try and fail sometimes, yet we can always start again.
It’s something else entirely to beat ourselves up for wherever we are. And I also find we’re more likely to make positive changes when we stand in acceptance of this moment. I feel like I am finally, at a deep level, coming into more acceptance of all sides of me. If I try to be a saint, I have to accept it that there is a “sinner” somewhere in me too. We all have light and dark within us.
I am also learning to accept it that any “failure” is temporary and a stepping stone to success. All successful people experience some “failures” along the way and learn from them to grow. One would think I would have come to this acceptance long ago, but whether through ego or learned behaviors from my past, or whatever the case is, I always still had a hard time accepting “failure” in myself.
5 Suggestions for Recovering Perfectionists
If you still sometimes have a hard time accepting yourself, and where you are, here are tips that may help:
1. Remember that no one on the human plane is “perfect,” free of mistakes. Life is a process of figuring it all out as we go. That’s true for everyone.
2. Ask others what value you add, if you’re having a hard time feeling it yourself. We often do so much more and are so much more, and give so much more, than we give ourselves credit for.
3. Remember in the end that your job on this planet is pretty simple: just be yourself, since you are the only you all of the time. If you can love yourself and give your gifts, while accepting your own humanity and imperfections, that’s the greatest gift to the world.
4. Forget about yourself by focusing on others or a cause that is greater than you. When we give our lives to a greater purpose, it doesn’t matter anywhere what we perceive our own limitations to be. We often find the energy to step up and do things much greater than we ever imagined we could.
5. Find ways to laugh at yourself and to just have fun, wherever you are in life. Life is much happier when we can “lighten up,” and especially not take ourselves so seriously.
Wishing all women, and all beings, everywhere, great happiness and joy, and the peace that comes with loving and accepting who we are, as we do our human best.
Lisa P. Graham is an inspirational writer, life coach, TED motivational speaker, and globe-trotter whose passion is to help others to find happiness and meaning in their daily lives. A political activist at heart, Lisa would like to empower more women to run for political office as a way to create positive change in the world. You can find her on her website or watch her TEDx speech on YouTube.
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