On Perfection

What does it mean to be perfect, anyway?

12+ years of school conditioned us to be graded by others, to feel valuable because they have deemed us worthy. And unfortunately, the ruler we learned to measure ourselves by has nothing to do with our own goals or values.

A friend recently said to me, “perfectionism is not the quest for the best - it’s the search to prove that the worst exists within ourselves; to prove we’re not yet worthy of happiness, love, abundance.”

It’s natural to want to do out best, but when we’re demanding perfection from ourselves, what are we asking for? Aren’t we really just insisting that we aren’t yet content with whoever we are, however things are? I used to not do anything unless I thought everyone approved of it .. you can imagine how paralyzing that was for me, because it is truly an impossible task. Not only did I set myself up for failure, but ultimately, I was always the one who was left unsatisfied.

So does to attempt to be perfect really mean to fail to realize you already are enough? To subscribe to the delusion you are somehow insufficient, incomplete, as you are right now? There are countless billion-dollar industries making daily profits off of the millions of people trapped in this delusion. 

Just the other day, I was taking a Bikrim yoga class. Even though I know it hurts my knees to straighten them completely in standing poses, when the teacher instructed me to do so, it seemed to prove too great a challenge to resist her request. Now my knees hurt and it takes strength and consciousness to be easy and loving with myself, to take space for rest and healing. And it reminded me of the truth that each person's "perfect" is entirely unique to them.

The part of us that wants to obey and excel at the impossible standards created by others internalizes those voices. Sometimes, they become louder than our own hearts. It is an act of spiritual courage to say, “I am enough, as I am.” This realization is our return to wholeness.