F U Perfection! Love, Whitney
I am compelled to write this because as I continue to teach people how to connect with their bodies, one of the biggest things that gets in the way is a striving to be good. And not just good, perfect. If this seems like a foreign concept to you, feel free to not read on.
Perfectionism is the myth that if you try hard enough, you can alleviate pain and suffering. Speaking from experience, I’ve thought: If I just make the right choice, I will be more lovable/more deserving of love. If I could do more with my body, then I would feel better. This relationship, this job, this family situation would feel better, if only I were different than I am.
That’s the bottom line.
If I were a better version of me, then my pain and suffering would be lessened.
Last week while I was away doing some CE, I had a huge realization. I have been chasing “neutral” for a long time. That’s another way of saying that I have been trying to make my body into an ideally aligned version of a human body. It’s problematic to attempt to line up a living human body with a 2D anatomy picture that has, for example, never carried children in or outside of the womb. That road is a long and disappointing road to well-being.
The goal of being in perfect alignment is a perfectionist trap.
Jenni Rawlings writes a wonderful article about the myth of symmetry in yoga and encourages us to think about balance instead of a perfected right/left reflection. Using nature as an allegory (one of my favorite past times) will show us how the lopsided is valued and revered. I don’t think that we look at a flower and think, oh, but if only the right side were as richly colored as the left.
Perfect is a fight that you will never win.
When you are trying to be perfect at anything, you will miss the beauty of your life.
The present moment is a gift. The now is where we heal ourselves and each other for old wrongs. Right now is where we can make choices and take actions, as a culture and country, that will heal decades of violence and injustice.
Saying F U to perfectionism means that you start small and keep going, one step at a time.
My good friend Annie told me told me that instead of going for the A+ effort, to just go for the B-. Perfectionism wastes so much of our vital energy. Nothing is going to fall apart if you B- it for a while.
And you will probably have more energy for now and the bright nows to come.