Stumbling From Perfection

I don’t know very many people who are perfect. I don’t know any actually, but there are certainly a lot of us who put our face forward acting as if we were and thinking anything less is unworthy; even shameful. It’s from this place of striving for perfection of whom we think we should be—the perfect parent; perfect spouse; perfect child; perfect employee; perfect person—that one day, we will inevitably stumble.

And when we do and we reveal ourselves of the imperfections of being human, we either ask forgiveness or are asked to forgive. Is there a limit to the number of times we forgive? Do the numbers change when we ask for forgiveness of others instead of ourselves?

Some people say there is no number—you forgive as often as there are stars in the sky, and then there are people like my ex-husband who held steadfastly in the belief of three strikes and you’re out.

I’m not sure which is harder, forgiving someone else or forgiving ourselves. I think that we tend to be much harder on ourselves, allowing feelings of shame and degradation for not being “perfect” to cloak us into feeling unworthy and unloveable.

Perfection isn’t real, but forgiveness is.

In those moments when we fall out of who we think we should be into who we really are, in our various stages of sometimes awkward, sometimes raw humanness, learning as we go, we need to remember that underneath it all, in each one of us, there is always the connection of grace and divinity. And for that, there is nothing to ask forgiveness for.

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Holding the Space for the Right Voice

This morning, I decided to name my inner critic Stu mainly because he stews about all sorts of things that he feels I should or should not be doing, feeling, tasting, seeing, and well you get it. So first off, apologies to anyone really named Stu.  My choice is no reflection on the name itself, only the ogre behind it.

I had been feeling irritable for the past few days, not quite able to put my finger on why (or more likely, not being able to decide which one thing was really behind my biting comments). My frustrations all came to a head this morning with the simple act of trying to clip a barrette in my hair. This normally easy task almost put me in a fetal position on the floor, because apparently even this one ordinary act couldn’t be accomplished without a struggle.

I finally got it clipped, adjusted my hair, when I heard the voice: “Eh, you made it look too flat now. Face it, just not a good hair day. You’re head’s going to be too cold. You need a haircut. You need to lose weight.” I looked hard into the eyes of my self in the mirror and out loud said, “Knock it off.” And so Stu was born, or rather named.

I had a chat with Stu on my drive in to work today, and I found it helpful to have named my judge and jury; my inner critic. It’s helped me focus my rebuttals to one voice rather than the chorus of “should’s” and “shouldn’t’s” that started to drown out my other creative “inside” voices.

So Stu has quieted down some, I think more from shock that I have identified him, and caught on to this inner critic, and that he can’t hide as a witness or shadow anymore. We all have shadows and we all have witnesses, and yes, we all have Stu’s, but they cannot hold the same space at the same time. What’s important for me is to make room for the witness to hold my space for my creativity, my divinity, and my own perfection, and not my insecurities and my shortcomings.

Now, if I could only send Stu out to shovel the snow we’re supposed to get, I’ll be happy!