Wednesday Wellness: Perfectly Imperfect

Why is it so hard for some of us to admit that we aren’t perfect? Why do we expect ourselves to be excellent at something we’ve never even tried before? As a trainer, I’m used to people saying to me, “Oh, I’m terrible at balance.” Or, “I must whine and complain more than any other client you have!” And I always assure them, no, you’re not terrible at balancing--that’s why you’re practicing. And no, you’re not whining and complaining; what you’re doing is hard because it’s new and you’re not expected to do it “right” the first time out. Yet we continue to have these unrealistic expectations and sometimes, if you’re like me, you can take it to an extreme and truly beat yourself up for not doing it “right” or doing enough of a given activity. (As though there was some measured amount and the “enough” police are on the lookout for me!)

In order to be perfect, it would mean we reached the pinnacle of what we are doing--there is no more room for growth and there is no error. Which is of course IMPOSSIBLE. When I meet a client for the first time, I try to assure them that I expect them NOT to understand what I’m saying, to ask questions and to make mistakes. Just like I tell my 8-year old daughter--homework is for learning and for making mistakes so we can keep practicing and learning. Training is homework. Life is homework. The challenge I have is in applying that to myself...

If you’re at all like me (anal retentive with perfectionist qualities, and in denial that you’re a perfectionist because you’re not perfect yet!), you struggle to accept that you are exactly where you are supposed to be at any given moment. And that life is messy. Not everybody shows up; not everybody does it my way; not everybody sees it my way; and each day is meant to be different than the preceding and following one. Grrrr....I’ve been a salmon swimming upstream my whole life fighting (literally) this truism of life.

It’s only been since I started “practicing” yoga (I love that we call it that!) about a year ago that I began to see the beauty of making mistakes, of falling down, of striving to be better for oneself but not necessarily to “prove” anything to anyone else. That is why yoga is a called a practice because we never arrive at a destination. Instead, we “practice” in order to do the act repeatedly so as to gain skill. And one day may be “easier” or “better” than the next, but we are taught to just let it be. Tall order for this girl! But I’m learning, slowly, gently, that it is indeed easier to be perfectly imperfect and at ease in my own skin, rather than itchy and scratchy because I never QUITE do it good enough.

I used to live my live by the credo, “I’m not enough.” You could truly fill in the blank with any word and it would describe me. As of late, I’ve adopted the motto, “I love myself the way I am, and still I want to grow.” --Jai Josefs

Try it on for size. Be perfectly imperfect. You might just find that you like it.

Written by Stacia Carney Body Firm Certified Personal Trainer