Some days I wish I were an emotionless Vulcan. Today is one of those days.
This morning I received an email from a “friend” that included a testimonial for my new book. When I saw his email sitting in my inbox, I was excited. “I wonder what amazing things he’s going to say about it,” I thought to myself. All the other testimonials I’ve received for the book have been stellar.
But when I opened the email, my heart sank. It was full of destructive criticism.
I didn’t necessarily disagree with some of the points he made, but his delivery was callous and cold. The critical words hit me like a punch in the face.
My initial reaction was to get upset. I shed some tears. I blamed myself.
I completely disregarded the fact that the e-mail was from a person who is famous for his obsession with domination and control.
I ignored the facts and instead got angry with myself for not being perfect. “Why can’t I just do better?” I asked the Universe. “When am I going to get it right?”
Immediately I received a vision in my mind of a picture that I drew when I was eight years old. The crayon drawing featured a unicorn galloping across a rainbow. My mom loved the picture so much that she used to carry it around in her purse to share with others.
“Was your drawing ‘perfect’?” the Universe asked me.
I smiled as I pondered the question. The drawing was far from perfect. In fact, the rainbow was severely jagged and the unicorn looked like a deformed elephant. But amidst the juvenile imperfection of my work, something beautiful shone through.
My mom knew how to see the beauty in my artwork, as parents often do. She could sense the perfection beyond the imperfection. My drawing wasn’t flawless, but she knew I had done my very best.
I thought about the unicorn drawing in relation to my book. Had I done my best? Without a doubt. Am I happy with the results? Absolutely. Is there room for improvement? Of course!
On our spiritual journey, there is always room for improvement. Divine beings never get it “perfect” because the very word “perfect” implies a sense of completion. How can infinite beings get something “perfect” if we are unfolding forever?
My book isn’t perfect, but it is awesome. In the words of one of my readers, “it’s going to kick ass and change lives.”
So as a recovering perfectionist, let me offer you a word of advice: don’t try to be perfect. Your imperfection is what makes you perfect.
The secret to a happy life is learning how to see this kind of divine perfection in ourselves as well as in others.
You don’t have to be perfect to be awesome.
You just have to be yourself.
Karen Bell is a blogger & spiritual superhero from London, Ontario, Canada. She loves getting tattooed, petting greyhounds and practicing Anusara yoga. She is the author of A Beginner’s Guide to Affirmative Thinking.
hot on elephant
Elephant Journal’s Holiday Gift Guide 636 shares A letter to the Anger that refuses to Leave Me. 555 shares Waylon’s favorite Ethical Gifts. 10 shares Join: Elephant’s Winter 2017 Academy. 28 shares Trevor Noah just won my Respect. 2,557 shares Year of the Fire Rooster 2017: What to Expect. 852 shares December Forecast: Letting Go of 2016 & Leaning into 2017 with Love. 6,683 shares These Tweets (and Retweets) actually Happened. 1,384 share How to Say Goodbye to that almost-great Love. 1,566 share For the Women who are Trying to Do & Be Everything to Everyone. 3,185 shares