Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Price of Perfection

I have been unable to put into words what I've been feeling these past few weeks, but I think I’m starting to understand something about myself: how important it is  to NOT be perfect. I have struggled with perfectionism all of my life. I have striven to do the best and be the best at everything I do. If I put my mind to it, I can achieve it has been a worn-out mantra in my life--and possibly the root cause of my chronic pain.

Well in the past three or so years, I've not been able to keep up with that level of perfectionism.  It has a price, and it’s being paid in pockets of pain, samskaras, within my body and mind. In fact, a couple of months ago, my therapist said to me, “You are having a hard time learning how to be human!” When he put it that way, I could see the absurdity of it. Yes, I was having a hard time learning how to play the fool, learning to accept defeat with my National Boards, learning how to let go of the insignificant day-to-day stuff that we all seem to pack into a day, learning it's OK not to have all the answers. But what I’m finding, if I’m patient and try not to force situations to unfold the way I expect them to, is unexpected gifts unfold all the time. I'm not talking about the material gifts, but the gifts of the mind, body, friendships, and most importantly, gifts of the heart.

In my post Compartmentalizing Feelings I talked about being able to be present with every interaction I can. As a teacher, a traveling one at that, I meet many people. If I slow down enough to really give every person I meet my full attention, I find that there are beautiful gifts to be found in each one of these people. To deny myself this gift is a shame. I often get harried when I experience interruptions in my day and may not be able to give a person my full attention because of a time crunch or a deadline. And unfortunately, if my behavior, as a result of these interruptions, is not a reflection of my soul (inner guide, spirit, fill-in-the-blank...), this will affect how I live my life day-to-day. And in essence, be stored in my body and mind to be dealt with at a later time...this I will try to be more aware of as it happens.

Case in Point:
As I was finishing up this blog post, Jeff was putting dinner on the table. I just needed five more minutes, but already we were an hour late getting to the table on time. So I turned off my computer, and said, "Jeff, I've been working on this post for two weeks now, but I can't post it 'cause it's not P_____. Ah, the P word. I actually caught myself saying it, and decided that, perfect or not, this needed to be posted. Regardless of the imperfections. Which I'm sure are many....alas, it is OK, just as it is. Namaste.

1 comment:

Rolando Garcia said...

I know what you mean, Amy, but there comes a point where trying to be perfect takes such a large chunk of your time that you just give up. Still we have been taught that mantra "do your best." But it's impossible to do that for everything. I was once told that my striving to be perfect interfered with my creativity. I was given the advice that I should try to be more irresponsible. It has been hard. but I think I have gotten better at it!