I am jumping off the Self-Improvement Band Wagon! Everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with messages that we are not enough as is. We need fixing, and should be on a constant quest for self-improvement.
Amongst all this promotional jargon, a very important message is left out: We are imperfect beings… and that’s okay.
Some believe perfection only lies in God, others in Buddha. Some believe the Messiah will be re-incarnated one day in a perfect earth-bound being; others believe this perfect being will be the second coming of Christ. There are the believers that Angels are pure perfection (hence the halo and wings) or if we just try hard enough, we may even be able to achieve a state of Nirvana. But even that “option” requires life-times of reincarnation and then after achieving this state of perfection, or one-ness, you ascend the earthly physical realm.
Not to mention the airbrushed, primped and primed actors and models that are held up as measures of our short-comings.
So the ideals that are held up for all of us to attain, are truly unattainable. We are set up for failure from the start!
Any of these options and many others left unmentioned are extremely rare occurrences. We are talking one in 7.02 billion (!) if we even “get” one perfect being in this century.
So why are we striving so hard for the truly unachievable? What if we set ourselves up for success instead? Imagine the societal shift that could occur! We could consciously decide to emulate the characteristics of those we admire but not at the sacrifice of who we are and what we are capable of being.
We often correlate the self-improvement craze with external appearances. But it goes deeper than that; it can eat away at the core of who we are. I think this is what affects me the most. We constantly question our own intents and purposes… am I good enough Parent? Mate? Employee? Friend? Volunteer? Etc.
I witness friends and family members wage daily wars on themselves… filling their days with self-judgment and self-doubt. And let’s face it, why wouldn’t we? When we are inundated with messages of perfection, it can be very difficult to counteract that with positive, affirmative self-talk.
But what if we just tried? What if we turned the mute button on society? What if we started celebrating all the unique qualities that make each one of us like no other… perfect, one of a kind crystalline snowflakes?
What if we started telling ourselves (and others) how proud we are to be Imperfectly Perfect Beings.
What if we let go of all the “shoulds” and instead of listing our daily defects of character we want to get rid of or change, we started a running tab of all our superior qualities we want to cherish, nurture, expand on, and grow?!
In the book Drop the Rock, the author states: “Self-acceptance is more important than self-abuse. I cannot abuse myself into spirituality by shaming and ridiculing myself. I cannot open a flower with a sledgehammer- only God opens flowers.”
By constantly berating ourselves internally for all the ways we feel we come up short, we only keep our eyes and minds focused downward. We start to stumble over our own road-blocks because the more you focus on something, the more likely it is to propagate. Do you really want to fertilize the soil of you short comings?
Try looking outward, walking forward proudly as the person you are… the person you are meant to be. We are all created with a unique blueprint that serves ourselves and the Universe. And once we start to recognize and celebrate all the qualities we already possess, we can help those grow. Nurture the things you like about yourself, your “Signature Strengths.”
You don’t need to change your characteristics, you only need to change your attitude towards those traits.
There is a process of freeing yourself from self-scrutiny by turning your “character defects” into “principles of daily living.” For example, if you are feeling fearful, pray for faith; if you are feeling complacent, pray for action; if you are feeling resentful, meditate on forgiveness.
We are all two halves of a coin. Our light sides and our shadow sides. We spend far too much energy trying to get rid of or hide our “shadow sides,” instead of recognizing and celebrating that these versions of ourselves are all part of our whole selves…. once we integrate both sides, we will feel balance.
And you will be able to look in the mirror with a knowing smile, “I am an Imperfectly Perfect Person and I love the all of me!”
I was inspired in part to write this post by the following blog post: