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January 27, 2011

The Pursuit of Perfection. ~ Jo Beth Richards

You’re not perfect and that’s perfect.

I am not perfect and neither are you, but I am beautiful and so are you.

As yogis we strive to be the best versions of ourselves, aiming for the highest level we can reach. Sometimes, while striving for the top, we fall—and fall hard. We make mistakes: we get angry in the traffic line, or lose patience with the ones we love.

And what do we do when this happens? We discipline ourselves; we put ourselves down for how we handled the situation. We say, “How could we have acted this way?” or “I know better than that!” Yes, it is good that we are aware of our shortcomings, but it is not ok to make ourselves feel like we have failed at life if we make a mistake. We think we should be a certain way, act a certain way, and never be weak. But let’s face it—we are all human. Being human means screwing up, losing your temper and breaking a few plates in the process.

We let others not be perfect and we tell them that it is wonderful not to be perfect, but we must practice what we teach: patience with ourselves. Give yourself a break; it is unrealistic and unfair to ask yourself to be Miss/Mr. Sunshine all the time. We are all different and flawed, and that is what makes us beautiful.

Tree Knot. Photo by aforero via flickr.

Think about this: what are the things you find most beautiful in nature? We certainly do not seek out perfectly symmetrical trees and revel in their beauty. We see the old gnarled tree with its limbs to the sky and declare perfection. There is not “perfection” in nature the way we think there should be in humans, and yet we know that nature is perfect in and of itself.

The expectation for perfection is boring and is bound to set us up to fail. No one can live up to what we expect of ourselves, not even us. In times of disappointment and doubt in ourselves, those are the times we need to pull ourselves up and say, “I am not perfect and that is wonderful.”  How boring we would all be if we never made a mistake; we would never have a chance to grow.  Our imperfections and missteps allow us to blossom more fully into the people we want to be.

So say yes to yourself, say yes to your mistake, say that it’s ok—you will learn and mature. You will not let this set you behind; you will not sit there feeling angry with yourself. Say to yourself,  “I am imperfect and that’s beautiful, I will love myself for what I am.”

Jo Beth is a certified yoga teacher who believes that every one and every body can do yoga and be helped by yoga. Visit groovygirlyoga.blogspot.com.

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