Dictionary definition (s):
~ A disposition to feel that anything less than perfect is unacceptable.
It is good to strive for more… It is good to want to be better- to grow... A mentor once taught me that there only two directions in life: growth or decay- No stability.... He basically explained if we aren't growing then we are moving away from growth- it is constant- ever changing ... And this makes sense to me; however, I think we can learn to desire growth while still celebrating the growth we are achieving along the way. In the words of another mentor, "celebrate the wins.” I think for me it’s all about learning to find a balance of being present- in the moment- and completely content- while still taking action to grow…
Perfectionism is a curse- driven by the ego- it shows itself in mental patterns like "we aren't good enough” - “that isn’t good enough” - "this isn't perfect” - "it wasn't supposed to be this way” - "why would you say or do that?” -and, in my opinion, the all time worst, “I should, you should, we should, it should…” (Ever notice how the word, SHOULD, almost ALWAYS leads to feelings of guilt and shame?) Perfectionism is cruel- harsh- demanding... it's not only demanding of the self but usually and often others … In our society we often demand perfection of one another, expect it, and then we experience a host of unfair cruel emotion toward another when they don't deliver it. Not to mention, we beat ourselves up when we don't deliver it... The ego and the mind of a perfectionist will take any chance to bring itself down... It's tricky too, because it completely convinces us it's normal, natural, and obtainable - if we just try harder- seek harder… but truly it stunts our growth, especially if we become “stuck" and don't even get started… It creates these negative self emotions of doubt, shame, inferiority, insecurity, unworthiness, dissatisfaction and so much more, which all just bring us down. It creates stress- mental and emotional- which manifests into physical... It can prevent us from ever feeling truly satisfied.
I've often found myself afraid to even begin something (some call this procrastination) out of a deeply rooted fear I didn't have something worth beginning... a good enough idea- a good enough chance... or maybe I wasn't smart enough- pretty enough- thin enough- strong enough- capable enough- popular enough- skilled enough…or worth it enough… And the list goes on... This carries a heavy burden in our bodies and this burden can also affect those we love.
So lately one of my practices is just starting... Whatever that is - maybe it's a piece of art- a drawing- a blog - a workout... Maybe it's practicing the ukulele, or taking a new dance class, or practicing skill development for a new movement in the gym... Because most often- I find that once I break through that initial barrier and begin- everything flows from there. The trick thereafter is allowing whatever that something is to be perfect even in its beautiful IMPERFECTION.
Can we all be perfectly imperfect together and extend grace to one another in this experience?
Much love <3
"Perfectionism is simply putting a limit on your future. When you have an idea of perfect in your mind, you open the door to constantly comparing what you have now with what you want. That type of self criticism is significantly deterring." ~ John Eliot, Ph.D.
"Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order." ~ Anne Wilson Schaef
“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” ~Ecclesiastes 11:4
"Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love." ~Ephesians 4:2
Dancing... Words can't express how I feel about it ... How from the minute I tried it i felt like it was the one thing I had truly been missing all my life ... I think about it every day... I want to be better at it, way better, in many forms ... I'm terrible right now -and slow to learn, and that is OK... But what I'm learning most about the experience of learning is that no matter how slow the progress - there is still progress, as long as I keep showing up and wanting it... And every step of the journey is fun and exploratory.
Its changed my entire perspective on music... I have always loved music - as far back as I can remember -many types in all forms throughout different stages of life... And like most, I've obviously memorized the lyrics of not only my all time favs, but most songs I hear often... However, I listen to music now with more awareness then ever before, more intention... I hear it for so much more then the words ... I'm able to truly hear beats and allow my body to connect to it in a rhythmic way, unlike ever before. I used to think that people were either born with rhythm or they weren't, and now I know this isn't true. Obviously I do believe that yes, some of us are born to do certain things and we have innate gifted abilities... But I also believe that we all have the capacity to learn whatever we set our hearts on... Maybe we won't be world famous doing it or the best of the best - but we can sure get damn good ... It's all about the commitment and energy we put into it... My first night at Ellington I couldn't hold a beat if someone paid me, since then I will find myself in my car daily - flipping through various types of music while in cruise control practicing my steps to different beats! Laugh if you will - yes I laugh @ myself... But it's those little things that make me better ... And I'm a firm believer that when we are practicing being better at anything in life - that it just makes us a better human in general - because growth breeds growth - and when we can start to apply our experience of growing, learning and being better in one area of life we can often transfer it to many other areas of our lives as well... The act of daily disciplines and the impact it has on us is transferable to any skill, habit or practice we are trying to improve!!!!
So off on a tangent I was - but bringing it back to dance - ugh, have I mentioned I just love it - adore it in every way- wish I could do it everyday- want to learn different styles - I love the way I feel when I'm dancing - free!!! Free of stress, free of worry... I laugh - endlessly - it's the only place in my life I have truly learned to laugh @ myself for messing up ... Of course it didn't start this way- I worried - how silly I looked - what if I messed up then I wasn't fun to dance with - blah blah list goes on- but then I started realizing it didn't matter and refocusing on why I wanted to do it to begin with and it all changed ... Now It's a safe place for me to be ME - the real me unleashed - I can be silly - goofy - laugh -mess up - try something new - look silly doing it - but that's ok- explore my body -and learn to move it in ways I never had before - which on a side note I believe allowing our bodies to explore movement makes us all better humans- our bodies were made to move and they are beautiful gifts !!! So yea - it's pretty rad - it can be artistic and free flowing or proper and specific. No matter, it takes creative energy ... Especially partner dancing for the lead - and it takes the ability of the follower to LET GO of a need to control and just go with the flow.
I love it, and the more I do it the more and more respect I have for dancers and their strength, body control, awareness, movement abilities, and shear beauty ... They are athletes and artists all at the same time... They can move their bodies through space in ways some of us can't even fathom... The more I practice the more sore I get in ways I've never experienced through all my years in a gym... It's challenging in a new way and great!
I encourage anyone who has never tried dancing in some form or another to explore it - maybe partner dancing where you follow specific steps is better for you, or maybe you will find yourself gravitating to a more free flow, solo, expressive form of dance ... Or a combination of the two or even all of the above ... or maybe it is just grooving in your own way in your undies behind closed doors @ home by yourself ;-) Perhaps you have a hidden talent or suppressed passion you weren't even aware you had!! What have you got to loose? Our bodies were made to move!
I'm so blessed and grateful to have legs and feet that allow me to dance and move ... And a soul that allows me to groove <3
Why do we do it? Have you ever asked yourself? What good does it bring ... Giving life to something through spoken word... Does it make the problem, ache, pain or situation go away or change? Does it provide solution? … Or does it make it more real? Perhaps even bigger deal then before the compliant? Does it really make us feel better ... Or worse? Do we complain if we have no one to complain to? Is it serving our best interest?... Most likely not, so then why do we feel the need to do it just because someone is around to listen?
Now I'm not talking about situations where we have a confidant that we go to when we genuinely need to vent or sort something out in our head, or seek council on solutions ... I'm talking everyday general nonsense, no solution oriented complaining "oh I'm so tired, oh it's cold today, oh this weather sucks, jeez it's been to hot, blah blah blah…” I’ve noticed lately that it’s an especially popular form of communication amongst strangers, perhaps as a way to relate, but can't we begin to relate to one another regarding all the greatness…the glory... the beauty... the blessings…the fortunes? Because perspective truly is everything, and what we focus on we give life to…In the end it becomes our perspective and our reality.
I went on a solo adventure this past weekend ... And as I was on my long hike up hill all of these thoughts and questions started running through my head....
It was an intense upward journey... Challenging to say the least, as I was dealing w some physical discomfort in some ways ... But for the most part I wasn't even acknowledging it, because I was too busy acknowledging the vast rich beauty I was surrounded by in every direction, focusing on the breath I took in and exhaled with every step... But as the aches worsened, it momentarily became more present in my mind, and that is when I found myself lost in thought over all these questions, asking myself IF I had someone with me would I feel the need to express my discomfort or could I hold my tongue and keep it to myself, letting it go, while continuing to reflect on the glory all around…and expressing to my body the appreciation I had for how hard it was working for me, and what it allowed me to accomplish and enjoy on this lovely day … The later was such a better option, at the time my only option, thank goodness, because it led to this level of awareness I get to write about today. In my aloneness with a need to get back up to camp, was left to simply be aware of the aches, accept them for what they were, notice they weren’t inhibiting me from moving forward, let it go, and continue on my journey gratefully.
However, upon pondering the complexities of my crazy mind, I recognized that if I did had someone with me in that moment, I might have spoken the discomfort out loud, bringing more life to it, ultimately resulting in making matters worse…Why? Because i complain. Wow. I am a complainer. Am I really? About what?… I ask myself, am I? Why? What good does it do? What is it serving? Not me, at least not in a positive way, nor anyone I might be with in the moment. I continue to ask… Would speaking a complaint do any good? Would it fix a problem? Would it lessen an ache or intensify it? Could the other person actually help me? OR, by speaking about my issues am I bringing life to it, and perhaps even creating awareness of someone else’s struggles, aches or pains as a result, making their journey more uncomfortable as well?
Is complaining about something I can't change adding value to our lives? No. Would it be an uplifting topic of conversation? No. Would it provide any solution? No. So then why do it? Just because we can... Until we can not…
Alone on my journey I could not, and quite frankly that was ok...more then ok - it was great - it was positive… it was peaceful - it was more comfortable, because it didn't escalate the problem...it was calming - joyous even... It allowed me to focus on everything else more satisfying around me - it shifted my perspective - altered my soul ... So again, I couldn't help but analyze then why I would in my past, throughout my life, and even up to that moment, feel the need to express an unnecessary negative out loud if given the chance, just because there were ears to listen?!? What is it about complainers? ... What need does it fulfill? Is it an attempt to bond over our mishaps, our issues, our pain? When we speak out loud we bring life to something - we intensify it - make it greater - it becomes our mind’s focus - and our thoughts are indeed our reality - so why give life to something we don't really want in our reality? Why speak out loud and give any level of dedication to something that won't lead to solution? Is it just for the sake of being heard? Having someone "understand"? Hoping they have some ailment or struggle or annoyance of their own to relate? Ugh maybe!!! BUT, to me that just sounds unappealing and unproductive…
In my upward journey I realized that I do NOT want to be the person who brings life to the negative, who complains just to be heard, who makes something a bigger deal then it has to be. Nor do I want to take away from an opportunity to bask in something great, to be in gratitude of all the amazingness I am blessed with and surrounded by, and who inspires and uplifts others on their journeys…Nor do I want to weigh other people down with negative when they have enough of their own crud weighing them down, enough of their own struggles they are growing through... I want to add value to the lives of those around me, not suck it away. I want to bring good vibes and positive energy, not negative nancy nonsense.
I know that the act of un-learning complaint could be a more rigorous upward journey then my solo hike the other day ... But it's a task worthy of work!!! I challenge all my friends, my confidants, my people, my clients, my co-workers, and anyone else in my life to call me out and hold me accountable any chance they get…Hear me complain? Remind me about my goals, my journey ... Unlearning lifelong habits is a tough feat for all of us ... So it takes all the support we can muster- so support me if you will... And let me know if I can support you too, because I would LOVE to !!! <3 <3 <3
"I know for sure what we dwell on is who we become” ~Oprah Winfrey
“What you're supposed to do when you don't like a thing is change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it. Don't complain.” ~ Maya Angelou
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. ~ Ephesians 4:29