Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.
A friend of mine was talking with our yoga teacher before class and I heard this advice from the instructor.
“Just go in there and give it 60%”
Isn’t it all about “100% effort, 100% results??”
Yeah, well, this is where yoga reminds us to hold dualities comfortably.
Sometimes, you just need to be good enough. For those of us who happen to be perfectionists (yoga, particularly Bikram, seems to breed many of those) some days we need to remember it’s a win that we even showed up. We need to give ourselves a little break.
I’ve been reading the work of Brene Brown lately – I swear that woman speaks to my soul. She talks about the connection between perfectionism and shame. We are perfectionists because we are worried that if people find out we are flawed, we will be deemed unloveable and unceremoniously rejected.
I don’t tend to think of myself as much of a “type A” person but I seem to struggle with perfectionism in the hot room. I want to be thought of as a good yogi. I want to be accepted into the yogi community. I often feel too shy to tell people that I write a yoga blog because I worry that they will say “You? You write a yoga blog? But I just saw you fall out of Standing Bow three times. How are you qualified to write about yoga?”
So, yeah, I guess I would be one of those perfectionists.
When we think about giving it 60% – accepting something that is imperfect – it tends to make us nervous. But what really happens when we decide to be happy with “good enough”? What happens when I don’t have to be flawless, all the time?
When I accept those realities, it opens up space for so much more acceptance. Love. Kindness. Gratitude.
After all, I don’t expect everyone else to be perfect. Why should I be?
This is not about laziness or being too soft on yourself. Shockingly few people have that problem and I am certainly not one of them. This is about being compassionate to yourself, because that opens up the likelihood of having more compassion for others.
Maybe try it. Just once. Go in with the expectation that you are going to have a fine class. It’s going to be completely okay.
You don’t always have to move mountains. Maybe sometimes you can just sit there, with your open, brave, honest heart – and they will come to you.
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