Being Mindful is Not About Being Perfect.

Via Amanda Johnson
on Aug 28, 2015
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perfectionist girl

Have you ever gotten frustrated with yourself for not being as calm and centered as you would like to be?

I have. Quite a bit.

I often forget that mindfulness is not just another thing to “get right.” Somehow I get it in my head that just because I practice presence that means I will always behave in a mindful way. That I can “master” mindfulness. No pressure or anything.

But Eckart Tolle reminds us that as soon as we notice we are not being present, we are present. That is the whole point.

Mindfulness is an ongoing, lifelong exercise in reminding ourselves to be in the present moment. This will happen over and over and over again.

And the more often I can remind myself that my mind is focused more in the past or future and not on what is happening in the moment, the more I strengthen my mindfulness muscle.

As a recovering perfectionist and over-achiever, I really want to “master” mindfulness. I somehow think that once I “figure it all out” I will always act in a mindful way. No stress, no resistance, no attachment, pure bliss, above being human.

Well, that’s not how it works.

I am human—even the Dalai Lama “makes mistakes” and is a lifelong student of mindfulness. Just because I have learned how to be more aware and experience a higher level of consciousness than I did, say, two years ago does not mean that I still don’t make mistakes.

Being mindful is not about being perfect.

Being mindful is about being in each moment as often as possible, showing compassion to myself and others as often as possible, and fully experiencing my life situation as it is as often as possible.

For some of us, it might be helpful to be reminded that we are not superwomen and supermen.

Though it can be easy to think that sometimes.

The path to enlightenment has twists and turns and roots and rocks and many stumbling blocks along the way. It’s not about avoiding the pitfalls; it’s about staying on the path in spite of them.

When we choose to practice presence, this does not mean we aren’t still human and make mistakes. If you find yourself forgetting that you are an imperfect human like the rest of us while on your path to more peace and ease in your life, gently remind yourself of these things:

All you can do is do your best.

And remember that “best” is not “perfect.” Imagine if each of us were more mindful just 10 percent more of the time. It doesn’t have to be 100 percent (and in reality won’t be) to make a positive difference.

Be compassionate.

Love yourself for being bold enough to try. Being mindful isn’t always comfortable. Failure is not an indicator of a lack of ability—it is a reminder of where our current limitations are and an opportunity to grow.

Pick yourself up and try again.

When you catch yourself judging or resisting or attaching to what is (or was or might be), give yourself a little grace for even noticing this (that’s already a huge step!) and then try again.

We can all strive to be more mindful in our lives while accepting that we are merely human. Mindfulness does not have an end date of completion. There is no certificate or title to achieve. This means we get to work on it each and every day for the rest of our lives. And the mistakes we make along the way are simply opportunities to learn more about ourselves and continue to grow.

How have you noticed yourself trying to “master” personal growth?

 

 

 

 

Author: Amanda Johnson

Editor: Renée Picard

Image: Daniela Vadimirova at Flickr 

 


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About Amanda Johnson

Amanda Johnson has one mission: to help people love the life they have and have the life they want.

Amanda is a writer, coach, and seasoned professional with more than 10 years of experience performing, educating, facilitating, and consulting for Fortune 500 companies with a personal mission to reach and change lives for the better. Her passion for helping others—be it a 2nd-grader or a CEO—and ability to connect with and inspire those she meets are unleashed by her wit, charm, and eloquence, making her message resonate deeply with her audience.

She works with people who are ready to turn their critic into their ally and start loving the life they have. Visit her website and Facebook page for more information.

 

Comments

2 Responses to “Being Mindful is Not About Being Perfect.”

  1. Karen Katz says:

    I totally get this!
    I am a lot happier since I started practicing yoga (faithfully), meditating (not so faithfully) and just trying to live a mindful life in general. However, me being me (who else would I be?), I still struggle with depression, lack of gratitude and low energy at times. At first this really threw me for a loop. Now I just try to see these obstacle not as obstacles, but just my particular path (I think I stole that from the Dalai Lama, or the Beatles or Russell Branch)
    If I can learn to be patient with myself, then I can be that more patient with others.

  2. amandajohnsonsf says:

    I really appreciate you sharing your personal experience, Karen, and recognizing the gift in each "challenge" we might be presented with along this journey called life. Michael Singer (another thought leader and mentor of mine) reminds us that when we surrender to each thing that unfolds in our life, great lessons and self-realization can happen even in our darkest moments. And it absolutely is true for me as well that as I practice patience and compassion with myself, I can extend it to others all that more easily.

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