[Also published on Elephant Journal: Perfect or Perfectly Flawed]
We live in a society where anything that isn’t labled as Perfection is unacceptably flawed.
Every day is spent in trying to reach that peak wherein there is no higher to go. If there is, then it just isn’t acceptable to sit back and not attempt to reach it.
We spend endless hours, money, mental energy and physical pursuits to attain that perfect body, that perfect yoga pose, that A+, and a multitude of other things. But what about the strain that comes with it?
When doing that asana, does it take more energy to contour your body into the perfect alignment, than the sense of calm and peace that is intended? Does it turn into an exhaustive and frustrating emotion because you’re not attaining that flawless posture? Does that not defeat the purpose of the asana in the first place?
Instead of breathing from your depths, you’re straining to simply inhale because your foot isn’t completely aligned with your knee and that is your only preoccupation during the entire routine.
The innate stress caused by the relentless attainment of Perfection is an inherited emotion because it points to a sense of flaw, instead of Potential.
Potential points to the pursuit and recognition of being satisfied with your own graduated level of achievement. Your sense of Perfectionism instead, perceives your inability to reach it as a flaw. The idea of potential does not spiral a person into a negative state of mind if they cannot perfectly align themselves in an asana or if they received a B instead of an A in a class.
This sense of progression has a calm state of mind. There is no strain on who you believe you are and your sense of worth. When you’re on your road of pursuits, you move forward with a positive outlook, not a feared, dejected “oh no, what if i don’t reach this” state of mind.
That being said, it doesn’t mean that all should be satisfied with mediocre results. It is you who will decide your boundaries, your sense of satisfaction, your inherent happiness with yourself, your pursuits and your definition of “Perfect”. Not our overwhelming diet-filled-size-zero-perfect-body-flawless-position, or a second-class-citizen society.
Negative Perfectionism is a dejected sense of self worth that comes when our idea of Perfectionism is not reached. It encompasses the personal ideology that you are not worthy or good enough to reach that self-defined peak. The convoluted prism of negative reinforcement spirals a person further down in a consistent and constant state of stress and pressure.
You may still achieve that flawless state, but at what cost to your mental, and perhaps physical, well-being?
Do you experience that sense of quiet and calm when you are going forward in your pursuits or a strain of anxiety that you will not be able to accomplish them, thereby pushing harder, stressing more?
Do you recognize that your state of mind—the joy when you are in the act of pursuing—is more important or that reaching the Perfect state, no matter what, is more valuable? Do you feel useless or more inspired as you continue in your pursuits? Do you see flaws or potential?
If you feel as if you are a flood of flaws, look again. Deeper.
You’ll discover that, in reality, you’re a riveting sea of revelations.