208: Stepping away from Perfection

With my partner away it seems that I am actually a slob. I patter around in pajamas eat toast and do jigsaws. The dishes are laid out and the bed unmade. It’s truly fabulous when no one is watching you you become your true self.

perfection 2Striving to be perfect is a form of control. Some of us do it with our work, some with our bodies or minds. Maybe you are the type of person that can’t leave work until everything is done exactly right, by you. You spend long hours there, too long, almost workoholic long and you have lost the ability to delegate in case it’s not done right. Maybe even when the work is done you still work it in your mind. I could have done that better or said that differently, you rehash the whole project again looking for ways it could have been done better. It is relentless and it is stressful. It may be like you are trying for the world and you to see how perfect you are and how you don’t make mistakes. Ever.

When I teach yoga I often make mistakes. I get my left and rights mixed, I say the most ridiculous things or miss out the most important poses. I go blank or I talk too much. Any combination of horrors I can think of they all come. When I make a mistake if I am not careful I let it take me over so for a brief moment of teaching and  I become paralysed. This is not a convenient state to be in when you are teaching. After the mistake comes the talk, you idiot why did you say that ?Sometimes after teaching a class I can be particularly mean to myself with my own brew of self-abuse. These are cousins of seeking perfection. They are all markers that somehow, somewhere I have decided that I’m not quite good enough.

My teacher said, when you finish a class it is done. Let it go. Try that yourself, it’s extremely difficult if you seek perfection. Over the years though this has become my practice. The most interesting thing is all those mistakes are not registered or resonated within others, it’s just you. You are the hardest judge on yourself. You are the person trying to reach some lofty ideal. You are the person who feels constantly watched by yourself and others.

Practice for today: If you make a mistake don’t beat yourself up. Say to yourself  let it go, everything is perfect as it is meant to be now. Start with the small ones then when you are feeling brave move onto something a bit deeper where you lost your sense of perfection. The prize for this is freedom and freedom is beautiful.

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