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I struggle with perfectionism.
I hold incredibly high standards for myself and it beats me down. I don’t want to be this way. I’m working on how to let it go, but “just letting go” is not as easy as everyone sets it out to be.
For me, my perfectionism has manifested in my desire to have a “perfect body,” according to what I’ve been brainwashed into believing. Because of that, I push myself. I criticize every roll and fold and dimple. I forget to listen to my body’s whispers. I resist.
The resistance is where it begins to hurt.
The resistance is what creates suffering.
I first started to experience my back pain in high school. I did everything imaginable to cure the pain. When I discovered I had a bulging disc, I was relieved to learn that the pain was from something tangible. I was naive.
I don’t believe this for everyone, but for myself, I choose to believe the pain I experience presents itself to teach me a lesson. To be clear, I’m not saying “everything happens for a reason.” No one can explain the monstrosities of the world. But when I’m experiencing something more personal, I do my best to learn from it.
After slowing down and taking good care of my body, the pain from my bulging disc settled down. Yoga was a huge factor in the subsiding of my pain—not entirely because of the movement, but because of the reconnecting to self. For many years, my back was doing well. I engaged in movement because it made me feel good, because that’s what my body needed.
Lately, I’ve been pushing myself extra hard. I’ve been motivated to get stronger, fitter, “perfect.” My “why” for exercise became a little too ego-driven, my patience was limited, and my resistance to listening was louder.
Enter back pain—unbearable, “I must go to the emergency room” kind of back pain.
I can’t pinpoint the exact cause of what aggravated my bulging disc, but what I do know is one thing: I needed to slow down. But I was resisting. I still resist it. I don’t want to slow down. I want to work out hard and harder and as hard as I can because I want to be “perfect” now—and that’s where I lose myself. That’s where I suffer.
When we are so stuck on reaching the destination, we will never fully live.
My perfectionism takes me away from now. My perfectionism resists the present moment, and as a result, I suffer—not just emotionally, but physically. For me, physical pain is always accompanied by emotional pain. And oftentimes, my neglected emotional pain manifests into physical pain, forcing me to listen; forcing me to slow down.
In the slowing down, I’ve begun to heal.
In the slowing down, I’ve begun to view my pain as a blessing because it has become a gateway into the depths of my unhealed emotional aching.
In the slowing down, I’ve learned to not just love my body, but to give my body love. Once my body had had enough of my ignorance, she spoke to me in pain. And for me, giving my body love required me to listen.
So this time, I heard. I heard the wounds that were still throbbing beneath the bandages.
And so, slowly and patiently, I’m healing.
I’m healing because I want to be here. I want to live my luscious life, presently. I want to let go of my perfectionism, my resistance, my pain. And in order to get there, I need to be patient. I need to listen. I need to slow down.
And so, I am.