I have the perfect life.
I have the perfect hair and home.
I also have the perfect face and perfect body.
I have the perfect plan for living life.
Did I forget to tell you—everything about me is perfect?
…said no one ever.
And if you have, then I guarantee that when you’ve faced failure and made a mistake, you’ve never forgotten it. I can guarantee that shame and guilt shook you ruthlessly and your princess crown exploded.
Brene Brown’s brilliant book, Rising Strong, has hundreds of nuggets to knock out the preconceptions we grew up with—and worse yet—may have directly experienced and are now subconsciously dictating our reactions. She brings the subject alive and forces its pulsation through our resistance.
Now we’ve all heard that “perfection does not exist,” and we are intimately acquainted with the life-depricating self-talk we tend to give ourselves upon our mistakes and failures over things we put our heart and effort in.
We also think it’s only applicable to us and our internal psyche. False Grasshopper—we also transpose this onto others.
When we are unforgiving to ourselves, we do the same to those around us.
When others fail to execute flawlessly, we think of them as “less-than” and doubt everything about them. We are merciless with their mistakes, at least internally, and it colors our vision of the person.
We can’t stray too far from “perfect” without meeting those diabolical partners in crime: shame and guilt.
Brown makes a wonderful distinction between the two…
Shame is when we say “I’m a f*ck-up.”
Guilt is when we say, “I f*cked up.”
Notice the difference? We embody one, whereas we segregate the other as an event.
Shame can crush us. It can physically, emotionally and mentally debilitate us. Guilt isn’t a pretty picture either.
I struggle with shame more than guilt. I struggle with perfectionism. I struggle in attempting to un-learn all those negative, life-reducing reactions, patterns and thoughts I learned as a I grew up.
We spend half our lives re-learning how to live again—to shed all those ingrained societal, cultural, ruthless, useless tendencies and reactionary patterns that we experienced, directly or indirectly.
We can’t get out of here alive—so focus on those habits, reactions and thoughts that are life-enhancing, not life-reducing.
We have bigger things to do than being perfect.
Author: Rajni Tripathi
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Author’s own.