The Beauty of Imperfection
Elizabeth Gilbert said, "Perfection is just fear in fancy high heels." OR something like that. I don't remember, but I remember hearing it, and getting the gist.
And boy, do I get it. I've been fighting the perfection monster avidly for a while now. Since I first realized how wrong it was to insist upon perfection of your self, let alone someone else. I would never insist upon it with anyone else, so why am I doing it with myself? What makes me so great that I think I can rise above all others and attain the unattainable. It's egotistical.
It's also ugly. A perfect piece of art or jewelry or plate of food bugs me. These days, the art of the ordinary and seemingly imperfect is everywhere. It's why we love the art we love. The characteristic crack, the informal smudge, the asymmetrical lines, the simple storyline of a struggling family. Give me idiosyncrasies or give me nothing. "It gives it character," we say many times.
SO why be so hard on ourselves if imperfection leads to character? Of course, we can't go around acting like total asses, saying negative comments, and shoving people on crutches. But must we be embarrassed of our truths? Must we be shameful of supposed failure? Must we hide our beautiful quirks?
For instance, I was, am and always will be super super sensitive. And strange. I used to be highly imaginary. I had imaginary friends, played with socks, made stuff up in my head. Which is exactly how a little girl should feel free to act. But someone told me it was weird. I became ashamed, and poof, imagination banished.
We have to insist upon each other, instead, that we all be ourselves. As "weird" as it looks, as different as it looks, insist upon the perfectly normal imperfection of others.
In my classes and workshops, I like to insist that while not hurting yourself through misalignment, you've got to find your own version of a pose. This pose, I will show you to do it effectively so that it does it have the appropriate effect on body, mind and spirit and does not harm you. But otherwise, it's yours. Don't look at anyone else. Just try. If you lose your balance and fall, there is no room in this practice for self-judgment. That is the beauty of yoga.
I'm not saying mess up on purpose or act ridiculous. I'm just saying let it fly. Accept who you are, the way you do things, your failures and successes, and just be real. Be authentic without this ungodly, hateful pressure to amount to some thing that doesn't exist. Perfection doesn't exist. There's no such thing. On the mat and off the mat. It's not real. But you can be.
As a yoga teacher and nutritionist, I find myself judging myself too much. I shouldn't be having a piece of candy, it's sugar! Are you crazy girl! What if someone sees you! You know what? I don't care. There are habits in place in my life that keep me shining. But I can taste a skittle when someone offers it to me. I can drink a Coke when my stomach feels weird. I can have a piece of cake at a party. Sometimes I drink a little too much. Or eat a little too much. I celebrate these things. I am not perfect. I am an extremely healthy person, who happily loves the experience of all. And tries to help others achieve this.
My only 2 goals: to experience the fun of life. And learn as much as I possibly can.
I can only get those things done by being the completely imperfect version of myself.
Don't resist your personality. Pick and choose your vices. Let your innocent vices be your treats and not everyday life. And work on the stuff you know you deserve to change.
For instance, I don't smile as much as I want to. And I get angry easily. And I can be jealous and competitive. I also have some selfish blemishes dotting my personality (for some reason, sometimes I don't like to share food, it's odd). These things are not idiosyncrasies, they are dark spots of my personality that can lead to harm and a closing off of a potentially great experience that I will miss out on. That's not good. So I must work on these things.
But the other crazy goodies? The boyish, toddler-like handwriting? The lazy, quick cooking? The incessant strong desire to always have a good time? These things stay. Forever.
Imperfection. On and off the mat. Let your colors fly!