Ok, let’s be honest. How many of us have been chasing perfection for as long as we can remember? Trying to be the perfect wife/mother/daughter/sister/friend? And how many times have you actually achieved that? Have you ever or was this just a game you played that gave you another opportunity to make yourself wrong? For me, this used to be a game I played very well. I sometimes still catch myself. What I now understand is that by trying to be someone else’s idea of perfect, I did a great deal of damage to myself. So today, let’s talk about that.
A few days ago was the anniversary of my sister’s accident and death. It was a hard day, I suspect that it will continue to present a challenge whenever April 16 rolls around. That day, I worked until I couldn’t concentrate, then I allowed myself some time to feel what I was feeling and just be with that. This was a challenge because the gremlins in my mind are very good at reminding me of everything that needs to be done and throwing guilt at me for not always being in work mode – at least until the work is done. In my world though, the work continues to come and so is never completely done. (Very grateful for a successful business whose services are in demand.)
The following morning, it felt like a great idea to take my dogs to a beautiful park we have here in London, Springbank Park, for a very long walk. The purpose was purely to get out in the sunshine and fresh air and enjoy the walk. What happened? Almost as soon as we got out of the car and onto the path, I saw a group of other women walking – obviously for exercise – and a little voice inside my head started to nag at me that I wasn’t walking fast enough to raise my heart rate enough for a “work out”. It took a few minutes for me to realize what was happening and as soon as I did, I told that little voice to shut up. Remember, my purpose was not exercise, it was simply to be outside and enjoy the weather and the companionship of my dogs and allow my body to move and breathe. My nag kept after me for a while, but I steadfastly refused to pick up my pace. When the dogs wanted to sniff something, I paused and let them sniff. When someone approached from behind, I felt no need to stay in front of them so I wished them “Good morning” and let them pass. After a while, that little voice got the hint and left me alone.
That may sound a bit off topic, but consider this. Does everything we do need to have a purpose? In my world, that was the case for many, many years. I rarely indulged in spending time purposely alone, and certainly not doing anything just for me. In my mind, that was selfish and as I strove for perfection in my actions, in my behaviour, in my selflessness, there was no room for me, for my “self”. After all, why would anyone want to spend time with someone like me (the real me, not the face I put on for the world)? Wasn’t the entire purpose of being here on earth to strive for Christ-like perfection? If I talked about what’s amazing about me, wouldn’t that make me an arrogant jerk? Only arrogant jerks toot their own horns, right?
Here’s what I failed to consider. We are all enough. Sounds like such a simple statement, but if you’re me a couple of years ago, it’s incredibly profound. How about this one? Our flaws are part of what makes us unique and special and beautiful. What?! You can stop the bus right there my friend. A couple of years ago, that statement would have likely caused me to laugh in your face or possibly my head to explode.
We are all created with a certain number and combination of amazing gifts, talents, abilities. Most of us can accept that. But many of us don’t see them. I am simply me. When I looked in the mirror, I saw the same face I’d been seeing for 40 years. I didn’t see a person with a gift for communicating and an ability to touch other people deeply with my words. I didn’t see a person who can be a bit mischievous and loves to laugh and play. I didn’t see a person who cares deeply and completely and sees the beauty in others and wants to help them celebrate it. I did not see the gifts that make me me. I saw the person who, no matter how hard she tried, could never quite meet the mark. I saw the person who had put on piles of weight without even realizing it. I saw the person who was unworthy and undeserving because of decisions I had made many, many years ago and had never quite forgiven myself for.
All of that has now changed. It isn’t that I don’t see my flaws, it’s that I can now see my gifts. I now understand that NO ONE is perfect and everyone is just as screwed up as anyone else. We all have baggage, we have all made mistakes, we all get scared, and every single one of us is simply doing the best we can.
If you believe that we have been created exactly as we are, doesn’t that mean that those “flaws” were purposely included? What if there is absolutely no perfection anywhere at all ever? What if our flaws are the things that help us learn and give us the opportunity for growth? What if being you is exactly what our world needs you to be – flaws included?
Consider this, my friend. What if you, and everyone else, is perfectly flawed to be precisely who we truly be and therein lies the perfection? And what changes in your world by accepting yourself exactly as you are, forgiving yourself where necessary, and beginning to look for the beautiful gifts that only you possess in precisely the combination you have?
Recently on Facebook, I saw a post that went something like this:
“Never regret your scars. They simply prove you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.”
Who you are is amazing and beautiful my friend. Scars and flaws and all. Rather than striving to be the perfect wife/mother/daughter/sister/friend… are you willing to strive to be the perfect you? Perfectly flawed and awesome in your beauty? I hope you’ll consider that… Until next time.