When I chose 2013 to be the year of acceptance, I wasn’t entirely sure what I really meant. I knew self-acceptance was a goal but I wasn’t sure how to get there. It’s a long way from “I’m not good enough (mother, wife, friend)” to “I’m worthy”.
Don’t get me wrong, I love myself plenty. But I tend to fall into the usual traps of guilt, shame, resentment, failure, anger, self-blame, etc. once in a while and it’s a dark place I’d like to learn to avoid revisiting.
As I wrote in my Acceptance piece, in order to grow, be more compassionate, loving & ultimately happy, I need to stop fighting my own self, accept who I am, own it and embrace it.
Self-compassion starts with accepting our faults and our own humanity.
I’ve done lots of reading on the subject of self-acceptance, imperfections and guilt and I’ve been getting some great insights and lots to think about.
I truly believe that the journey to “I am enough” starts with self-compassion and owning our stories. We have to be willing to give ourselves a break and appreciate ourselves for who we are, including our imperfections. We need to be kinder to ourselves first.
Letting Go Of Perfection & Embracing “Good Enough”
Letting go of perfection is the first step to practicing self-compassion. It’s the first step to eliminating guilt & self-blame.
As a kid, I equated being perfect with being loved, being worth something. I was a “good girl” with straight “A”s and a perfect attendance. I pushed myself, often in tears, through a music school because my father wanted me to be a great musician someday. It wasn’t my dream but I never skipped classes. I wanted to make my parents proud of me & love me. I didn’t want to disappoint them, let them down. Being perfect was easy back then.
It’s much harder to pull it off now.
So much what we do is perfecting & performing to make everyone around us happy. But at what cost?
Do I still confuse love, worthiness and perfection as I agonize over parenting mistakes (not good enough parent), beat myself up over failed career moves (not smart enough) or focus on my shortcomings believing that they’re behind all my troubles & failures?
Do I still hustle for approval as I do that dance we do when we don’t want other people see how incredibly imperfect & human we are?
Letting go isn’t easy.
Our perception is constantly distorted by the perfect lives we watch on TV or Facebook. We’re bombarded by those carefully edited images and stories and it’s hard not to compare our messy lives with these ideals, even if logically we know they’re fabricated for the show.
The reality is that we all struggle and fail sometimes. That doesn’t make us a failure or bad (parents, lovers, friends). It just makes us human. And we deserve compassion & love as much as anyone.
Imperfect is good enough!
I’m ok with not having more money, better career, bigger house, shinier cars, more polite kids, latest fashion & technology swag. I say no to feeling guilty when my kids are too loud, my dog doesn’t behave, my nails are not done, my attitude is not always peachy, my backyard is a mess, my posts don’t get many comments, my Instagram pictures “likes” or when we don’t get invited to the next party and my son doesn’t make the swim team.
I’m not apologizing for what I don’t have and who I am not. Yes, our lives are far from perfect but what would the light be without the dark?
We’re all doing our best and if we succeed, that’s great, if we fail, that’s ok too. We will be doing it all over again the next day, hopefully a little better. And that’s good enough for me!
My imperfections & inadequacies don’t define me. They just make me human. We all go through doubt, failure & suffering but rather than self-criticism, I chose self-compassion, kindness and a little bit of understanding. After all, I’d do that for others, why can’t I do that for myself?
“Owning your story and loving yourself through that process is the bravest thing you can do.” ~Brene Brown