Warning! Accepting Your Flaws Might Lead to Personal Growth & Change.

Via on Jun 22, 2013

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If you want to meet your higher self, then acknowledge your worst self first.

I wrote a blog recently called Yes, I’m a Serious Yogi, But I Still Do These 6 Things

I’ve received dozens of comments and messages from comforted readers letting me know how uplifting is for someone to publicly own what many of us do in private behind closed doors. Less than a handful told me that I wasn’t a true yoga practitioner.

Here’s the thing—owning your flaws doesn’t mean that you’re not on a path to self-betterment. In fact, I’d argue that you’re farther along than most. Let me explain.

Do you have someone in your life about whom you could say that he or she will never change? Why?

Why won’t they change?

Because they’re ignorant.

If you want to let go of being an angry person, for example, then your first step is admitting that you have a temper.

If you want to eat healthier foods then you have to recognize that you eat crap.

And if you want to be a real yogi, then you have to want to change and grow and evolve. In short, you have to want to achieve yoga.

Do you know what yoga is?

Yoga is not a sweaty 90-minute class that leaves your muscles hard and long.

Yoga is not reading as many books by Iyengar and Patanjali as you can.

Here’s what it actually is: the cessation of the fluctuations of your mind. (You might find this especially interesting if you are reading Patanjali.)

Here’s what that means:

You’re present. (If you’re driving your car, you’re thinking about driving your car.

You’re also connected with the energy that permeates, that’s always surrounding you—essentially, with the swirling chaos that is life—without ever letting go of the reality that there’s a perpetually calm, serene, fluid energy that equally co-exists inside of you, underlying this changeability that encircles and, occasionally, that engulfs.

If you think that this sounds simple then you’re either one of two things:

1. Naturally and deeply gifted with your yoga practice, or,

2. Not attempting to practice yoga.

My money’s on the latter.

So what is a yogi (or yogini) for that matter?

A yogi isn’t made because she’s wearing Lululemon pants and has a monthly auto-renew pass at the yoga studio. She’s made because she wants to achieve yoga, to become better, to grow and to evolve both spiritually and with how she’s living and sharing her life.

That’s why I consider myself a yogi.

Every single day I practice becoming a better person; someone who’s honestly trying to make the world within which I live a more successful place.

Let me tell you, I’ve taken more steps backwards than I have forward.

I took a dozen steps back when I was slammed with post-traumatic stress. I was shoved backwards when my heart got broken. I was, thankfully, carried forward by a husband who loves me—and by my own will to bend not break.

I know that I’m breakable.

I know that I’m flawed, and imperfect. How does this make me anything besides what I am? (A mere mortal human being trying to walk the talk.)

If you think that yoga has to be one lifestyle with only a selection of choices (likely ones that you’ve read about rather than have experienced), then I feel sorry for you.

Those texts that you’re reading and holding onto and those people that you’re worshiping because of their wisdom and strength? They were written by people who walked through their own fire—who have done the work to get to that higher place that those of us on the yoga path want to also go—not by people who were afraid of getting burned.

So, yes, I am a yoga practitioner.

I’m also a drinker, a meat eater, a woman with an occasional potty mouth, and a hot head.

Here’s a laundry list of some other things that I also consider myself to be: a mother with a giving heart, a person with an empathetic soul, an athlete, an early to bed and early to rise sort, as well as a yoga teacher and writer.

Was that last list a little prettier for you to read? Did it fit more within your frame-work of what you want me to look like?

Luckily, I don’t care—I like me. I actually even like those other less than ideal personal attributes that I told you about too.

I remember when a close friend once told me a few extremely personal things about herself and she sadly thought that I wouldn’t love her anymore after she bared these revelations to me, but do you know what she had really done? She made it possible for me to love her.

Because love cannot exists unless you let me in.

Love cannot exist unless we’re vulnerable in addition to being pliable.

Love can only exist when we love, and accept, ourselves enough to be open to potential rejection and pain, and doesn’t this also relate to moving closer to your better self (towards “enlightenment” or the “yoga journey” if you like those terms instead)?

How can you grow if you don’t first realize that you’re a tiny seed with a shell to break through?

 

“Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

 

Like elephant yoga on Facebook.

Ed: Bryonie Wise

 

{Photo: via Steve on Pinterest}

 

 

About Jennifer S. White

Jennifer is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She's also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people that ever lived and she's also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor's degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer then make sure to check out her writing, as she's finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer's first book, The Best Day of Your Life, is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and on her website.

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5 Responses to “Warning! Accepting Your Flaws Might Lead to Personal Growth & Change.”

  1. jane says:

    Leave it to my little guru to put essence into a nutshell- an easy pill to swallow- concept to understand. Makes cracking open the seed a journey to be started rather than avoided. Let' grow!

  2. Leslie says:

    Jennifer: Im a yoga teacher in LA. Love this…Thank you. I will be sharing this with my students who have liked my page. VERY well written and said.

    • Jennifer S. White Jennifer White says:

      Thank you, Leslie! I value your thoughts and feedback immensely.
      It's nice to hear from another teacher that my thoughts resonate.

  3. Amber says:

    And now I LOVE YOU TOO! Keep it up, you radiant light! :)

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